Quantity surveyor

Construction and building

Career outlook for quantity surveyor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would estimate and control the costs for a construction project from the early design plans through to the completed building. You’d make sure that projects meet legal and quality standards.

Your client - the company or organisation which is paying for the building - would rely on you to make sure that the project is good value for money.

There are lots of different projects you could work on, including:

  • Housing and industrial sites
  • Retail and commercial developments
  • Roads, railways and waterways

You would:

  • Do feasibility studies to estimate the timescales and the costs of materials and labour
  • Negotiate with suppliers and draw up bids for tenders and contracts
  • Monitor the construction to make sure that costs are in line with forecasts
  • Regularly report on the costs
  • Advise your clients on legal and contractual matters
  • Act on clients' behalf to resolve disputes
  • Assess the financial costs of new environmental guidelines, such as using sustainable timber

You would use computer software to carry out some of these tasks, and to keep records, prepare work schedules and write reports. You might also deal with the maintenance and renovation costs once buildings are in use.

It would be important to have a good knowledge of construction methods and materials. You’d also need to understand Building Regulations and other legal guidelines.

Working conditions


You would normally work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, although some overtime may be required on evenings or weekends


Your time would be split between office-based duties and site visits.


You would spend a lot of time visiting sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Working with numbers
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Negotiating
  • Analysing
  • Understanding

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.


A degree (SCQF level 9/10) in quantity surveying, or a related subject such as civil engineering, construction or economics, accredited by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

If the degree is not RICS-accredited you can do an accredited postgraduate conversion course (SCQF level 11).

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at BBCC or above, or a relevant HNC/HND. 

You could enter this role if you already work in a related job in the construction industry. Some employers may support you to study for a RICS accredited qualification part-time. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Science subjects
  • Technologies subjects

You will also need

Once in work, there will be a period of supervised practical training and Assessment of Professional Competence.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on site. You will need to pass a health and safety test to qualify for the CSCS scheme.

You will need a driving licence for some jobs.