Quantity Surveyor



OFO No: 21904





Other names for Quantity Surveyor

  • QS 
  • Building Economist 
  • Construction Economist 
  • Electrical Specifications Writer 
  • Plumbing Estimator



Youtube clip – What is a Quantity Surveyor?

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is a Quantity Surveyor?

A Quantity Surveyor is a very important professional who tries to make sure that buildings and construction projects, like airports, hotels, theme parks, for instance, are erected within budget. They are responsible for working out all the costs with regard to materials and labour.

Quantity Surveyors work with the design teams to make practical, cost-effective decisions. Before the start of construction, a Quantity Surveyor uses the architectural plans to work out all the figures and  costs. They give the client and prospective builders an extremely detailed report as to how much the building will cost – right down to the last nut and bolt.  It is from these figures, that a builder or construction company can tender a quote.

Once a tender has been accepted, the Quantity Surveyor will assist the client with regard to payment schedules taking into account work done on site, interest rates and work to be done. They also need to keep up to date with inflation and changing prices and availability of materials.

A Quantity Surveyor can either work for themselves on smaller projects like residential homes or for a large company which will take on large projects like stadiums, shopping centres, tunnels, harbours, train stations etc.

What does a Quantity Surveyor do?

  • works together with architects and construction team
  • reads and understands architectural plans
  • uses mathematical formula, prepares estimated figures for costings
  • prepares tender documentation for construction companies
  • assists client with payment schedules
  • keeps up to date with inflation figures
  • keeps up to date with construction material availability

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in architecture and construction?
  • mathematically orientated?
  • accurate?
  • a person who pays attention to detail?
  • observant?
  • methodical?
  • reliable and trustworthy?
  • practical?
  • good at reading and writing?

How do I become a Quantity Surveyor?

You will need a qualification. 


  • Bachelors degree in Quantity Surveying
  • Followed by an Honours degree in Quantity Surveying


  • Bachelors degree in Quantity Surveying
  • Followed by an Honours degree in Quantity Surveying
  • 3 years related work experience
  • Register with SACQSP to become a Professional Quantity Surveyor
  • Interview with professional from SACQSP
  • Become Professional Quantity Surveyor – this title may NOW only be used behind your name


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 







The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) is committed to support tertiary education in the Construction Sector by offering bursaries to candidates/students pursuing careers in Quantity Surveying.

Graduates from both universities and universities of technology can advance to full registration as professional quantity surveyors.



If your marks or subjects do not meet the requirements for a degree or diploma, there are other routes, which will take longer overall, but will get you where you want to be. 


If you feel sure early on that this is the career for you  (or if your marks and subjects are not up to the required level) it may be an idea to look at Further Education Training Colleges where you can do a vocational course from Grade 10 or 11 and obtain a:

  • National Certificate (Vocational) Civil Engineering & Building Construction (3 years) or
  • National Certificate (Vocational) Multi-Disciplinary Drawing Office Practice (3 years)
  • Building & Civil Engineering: Foundational Course: (2 years)

The advantage of these is that you are ready for employment, as long as you pass. Next step if you pass and want to study further:

  • A pass which entitles you to enter a DEGREE program will allow you to apply to a University, or
  • A pass which entitles you to enter a DIPLOMA program University of Technology.

* Note: Educational institutions may change or add to their requirements and it is a good idea to check the admission information on websites regularly.


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Civil Engineer or Chartered Accountant

Is becoming a Quantity Surveyor the right career choice for me?