Everything you need to Know about Quantity Surveying in Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a field in engineering which deals with design of infrastructure and construction of such infrastructure. In order to build any infra there needs to be proper planning, designing and a feasibility analysis regarding the proposed infra.

Quantity surveying is one such method used in civil engineering which is part of feasibility analysis which deals with various aspects of planning, designing, and cost evaluation, and value determination, tendering analysis, risk management and procurement advice.

It also includes under its ambit drafting contract conditions, commercial management, cost consulting and estimating, contract admission, contractual advice, asset capitalization, payment assessment, and understanding client requirement. 

Cost evaluation generally deals with cost estimates from the initial stage of construction till the completion of the project. Measuring cost at every stage requires deep research and study over the project. Based on this the final price of any infra project is decided.

Quantity surveying is not only limited to determining the cost of the project but it has also various aspects as mentioned above. Thus a lot of work is put into a quantity surveying which is carried out by professional quantity surveyors.

Quantity Surveyor: The one who carries out Quantity Surveying

The job of a quantity surveyor is cost planning, estimate making and management. It has various other aspects involved which will be described later. The job is both based in office and on site. You will be meeting various people who are part of the project. 

You will be teaming up with various people from different fields to carry out the job. Synchronization of each of the team members with each other is necessary to produce the end result with perfection.

Field job is challenging as well as interesting that offers lot to learn. Office job is more research oriented which requires detailed analysis using software and other computer programs. Calculating the cost estimates which aims at judicial use of resources and money requires tremendous hard work and dedication.

Complex projects are hectic and therefore requires focused planning and execution. Even if you have a perfect cost estimate structure but if the execution goes wrong or vitiates from the plan then the result will be disastrous. 

Since this job is intermingled with the work of others a concentrated effort to bring everyone on one page is necessary. The final outcome will become successful when each wing of the team works in tandem to achieve the desirable goal. 

Some of the Duties of Quantity Surveyor in Quantity Surveying:

Here are some of the duties of a quantity surveyor. These are:

  • Cost Planning, management and estimate. 
  • Claims and Dispute Management by the surveyor
  • Proximate Evaluation of Construction work
  • Contract related advice and contractual management
  • Management of tender which includes preparation of bills of quantities, assembly on tender documents and contract conditions, etc. 

There are other various duties that are assigned to a quantity surveyor but these are the essential duties that is expected from a quantity surveyor. Alteration depends on requirements and skills. 

Importance of Quantity Surveying:

So importance does quantity surveying hold in a civil engineering and infra project. Here are some of the advantages of quantity surveying. 

  • All such infra projects involve lots of investment and therefore a faulty planning can directly have negative impact on the investment. Thus quantity surveying is important to calculate correct estimates.
  • Quantity estimate is not limited only to the determination of cost but it is also about optimized use of technology, machines, formulation of contract, share of cost for each purpose, etc. 
  • Understanding the client requirement is necessary and so is the effective implementation of the plan obtained based on client’s advice. Quantity surveying ensures that there is a sync between the requirement and the implementation.
  • Quantity surveying puts things into perspective which is more scattered. Defining and demarcating the steps in a proper way and cost estimation based on this makes the actual work much better.
  • Deployment of resources can be better done with quantity surveying. There are various aspects that are looked into while formulating a plan and managing the resources. There is obviously limited budget and it should be used in a judicial way. 

There are other various advantages and that is what makes this process much more important and needful. Big projects are executed in a time bound way with judicial use of resources and a planned expenditure of money. 

Here is what everyone must know about Quantity Surveying:

#1. Ultimately you have to Create Profits

That is exactly the job you have to do as a quantity surveyor. The estimate and surveys you make should be precise in nature and the implementation should be close to your survey. Any mismatch between the both can prove to be costly for the stakeholder involved.  

Doing brief analysis and keeping your eyes wide open for every small detail increases the preciseness in your work. This makes the survey much more perfect and precise. Chances of mistakes are less and that makes the project implementation a success.

You certainly can’t make big mistakes where lots of investment is involved since quantity surveying is the key in the success of any infra project and you are at the center of the whole show. Mistakes can be costly for your future prospects. 

#2. Learning the Game and Determining your Place:

It is necessary that you learn the art of this profession very well. Lots of study and experience makes one perfect. Observing things from close quarter and with a learning attitude makes your thoughts clear. 

Learning the game in quantity surveying also means knowing the true worth of your profession and the aspects that are involved in it. There are lots of things that are on stake in an infra project. Knowing these minute details and their impact helps you in taking decisions and sometimes bold decisions. Risk management is one such aspect.

Know your place well in this profession. What is your role and how your decisions impact the project directly and indirectly. It helps you in making decisions and taking risks. Your requirement for different companies and projects can be of different nature. 

Therefore you must always know your role before you proceed. It helps you in rendering advice and carrying out your profession well.

#3. Setting up your System Professionally:

To be an efficient and professional Surveyor you need to be working in a very professional and disciplined way. It requires a working culture that is inspired from hard work, devotion in work, being excellent in your work, and research involved. 

Deep research and analysis requires high standards of ethics and hard work. These qualities come from discipline and have passion towards your profession. 

Correct and efficient use of technology is another such aspect which helps you in setting up your system properly. Usage of software in your analysis, data gathering, putting all such information in a sequence to generate results, data mining and structuring makes your surveying unique and precise.

Always work in a professional manner without trying shortcuts as it helps you in improving yourself and bettering your survey estimates. 

#4. Producing Precise Project Valuation:

The training that has imparted to you matters a lot in your project estimation. A proper and standard training helps you in setting up your system in a professional and standard way. Usage of technology and various new methods of analysis comes from continuous research and experience. 

Thus these things helps in determining the precise project valuation and rendering correct advices to your client. Improving yourself every time and learning from mistakes is essential in producing precise project valuation. 

Research oriented approach, brief analysis, going into minute details are some traits of a professional surveyor. It comes from constant practice, perseverance, hard work and determination. There is no shortcut here.

#5. The Life Cycle of a Project:

The life cycle of a project has basically three stages. The first stage is the startup phase were you take the initial step in shaping up your project. The second step is the intermediate phase or the middle phase were you accelerate the steps taken in the first phase. 

The last one is the final phase were you draw conclusions for the steps you took in your intermediate phase. You need to know when to use what and whom in order to achieve your target.

For every phase you will be setting up targets and goals which you aim to deliver on. Each step in connected to the other immediate step and therefore the success of one depends on the other and so is the failure. 

Therefore a good sync between all the steps and their proper execution is the key to success. Breaking down of each step in deliverable goals make it easier to plan and execute. This requires proper research and execution.

#6. Mistakes and Learnings from Mistakes:

Precise estimation and execution of projects is a tedious task where things depends on research putting them into correct perspective and then executing them as per plan. Many times incorrect compilation can have adverse impact on plans and execution.

There are many things that depends on intuition and prediction. You take risks based on this. Though the ground for such prediction is your assessment for each project yet there are chances that these predictions can go wrong.

Making mistakes can be costly but not learning from them is costlier. Thus learning from mistakes is necessary. Analyze each of your plans and the steps you have taken. Look at the rate of your success. 

Even when you have done well there is always a scope of improvement. Constant learning is the key towards professional excellence in this field. 

#7. Communication is the Way Ahead:

Since the profession you are into is mostly a team work where different people collaborate together to execute a common plan, there is requirement of communication skills. Clarity in your communication makes understanding of situations better.

You are the estimate maker while someone else will be managing the execution, someone would be funding the project while someone will be doing the ground work. There needs to be synergy and proper communication between each of them.

Communication is not just making your words clear to others but it is also having convinced the other party that what you are saying is executable. There should be understanding and confidence among each one of you. 

A good communication increases trust among the members and which is the key towards a successful execution of a plan. 

#8. Managing Human Resource and Valuing the Contribution of others:

As said above, you would be working with different people from different field and background who have different tasks to accomplish. All of you have one common objective but different ways and job. 

You should know how to make use of the potential that each member brings in who is working with you. The effective use of one’s skills brings much more efficiency in the performance. Chances of failure are low and perfection level is high. 

Thus having a positive outlook towards your peers and people with whom you have to work makes things better for you. Your success and failure depends on team work. Even if you have made correct estimates if the execution goes wrong even then you have to take share of the failure or blame. 


Quantity Surveying is therefore an essential feature of civil engineering and construction of infra projects. Based on the structure of each company and based on the requirements of clients, the role of a quantity surveyor changes. 

Nonetheless, one has to mostly work with various people of different fields with different jobs and roles but for common goal therefore the responsibility is huge and a balance needs to be maintained. 

Lastly, your success depends on the efforts of others who are involved in the project and so is the failure. One mistake from you can vitiate the project despite the hard work put by others and similarly, someone else’s failure will cast blame on you since each of you are intermingled.

Thus, proper communication and better understanding were teams work in tandem to achieve a common goal is the right way in succeeding as a quantity surveyor.


1. What is Quantity Surveying in Civil Engineering?

Quantity surveying in civil engineering is the process of estimating, managing and controlling the costs of construction projects. It involves the measurement, analysis and control of all aspects of a construction project from the inception to completion.

2. What does a Quantity Surveyor in Civil Engineering Do?

A quantity surveyor in civil engineering is responsible for the detailed estimation and monitoring of costs related to a construction project, including materials, labour and other project expenses. They also provide advice to help ensure the project stays on budget.

3. What skills do I need to be a Quantity Surveyor?

Quantity surveying requires a strong understanding of construction materials, costs, regulations and procedures. Other skills include strong math, IT, problem-solving and communication skills.

4. How can I become a Quantity Surveyor?

You will need to complete a degree or certificate in quantity surveying, at a college or university. You may also need to gain professional qualifications to become a chartered quantity surveyor.

5. What is the Difference Between Quantity Surveying and Estimating?

Quantity surveying focuses more on the management side of the construction project and requires a more in-depth understanding of the project. Estimating on the other hand, is more focused on the financial aspects of the project and does not require a detailed understanding of the project.

6. What is the Role of a Quantity Surveyor?

A quantity surveyor is responsible for the successful completion of a project, by ensuring all the necessary materials, labour and services are estimated accurately and managed proactively during the course of the project.

7. What is Cost Control and Why is it Important?

Cost control is the process of ensuring the total cost of a project is within budget. It is important because it helps to ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget.

8. What is Budgeting in Quantity Surveying?

Budgeting in quantity surveying is the process of forecasting and controlling the cost of a construction project. It involves the preparation of an itemized list of estimated costs, and monitoring those costs throughout the project.

9. What is Project Management in Quantity Surveying?

Project management in quantity surveying is the process of planning, organizing, controlling and assessing all aspects of a construction project from its start to completion. It also includes managing the risk and cost of the project.

10. What is the Role of Technology in Quantity Surveying?

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in quantity surveying. Software such as cost estimating tools and construction project management software are enabling more efficient and accurate management of projects. Additionally, cloud-based data management systems are allowing for easier and faster data analysis and decision making.

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