As with many careers, there isn’t really a ‘typical day’ in the life of a quantity surveyor and there are no two days the same. With so much to do and to look after, quantity surveying is a form of project management that means each construction project needs different things. One thing we can say is that the construction industry starts early, and so does the day of a quantity surveyor.
Regarding a day in the life of a quantity surveyor, it doesn’t matter if you are Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors RICS accredited, a chartered surveyor, assistant quantity surveyor, or on work experience you can expect to start early. We look at what you might expect to be doing daily if you accept a career as a quantity surveyor.
Starting at 6 am the day begins with admin work. Checking emails is often the first port of call. This lets you know what needs sorting throughout the day. Once caught up on emails it is likely that you will move on to the paperwork for the construction project. Ensuring building contracts are drawn up and acceptable, reviewing the budgets, collecting the invoices for materials and sub-contractors, producing a bill of quantities, managing the finances, checking plans and helping any sub-contractors.
Next, it is time to speak to the heads of services to discuss workloads, planning, resources, any delays, marketing, and business development. Once your day is organised and you know where the project is you can move forward with your day.
Following a morning of ensuring everything is in order it is time to meet the client and discuss where the project is, what needs to be done, and to assure them that everything is on track. Prior to then visiting the construction site, you will meet with the architect and designers to make sure the plans are viable, and no changes are needed. Sub-contractors will need to be paid and materials need chasing up to ensure they are delivered. Any adjustments needed or delays that need planning in and resolving need to be organised. Next, the day moves to deal with any disputes and issues to keep the project on course to hit target. Then comes the visit to the site to review the work so far and make sure it is up to standard.
End of the day
A quantity surveyor’s work is not finished early. The day has been spent sorting everything for the day and dealing with any issues. The site visit then means you may have more to sort and means you may now be aware of upcoming delays or issues. Back in the office now you prepare for the next day. This could be preparing the final accounts or costing each stage. Emails need sending out to ensure the remaining aspects of the project are scheduled and chased up.
Finally, a report is sent over to the client to update them again on where the project is, what has happened since you met with them, and what is going to be happening tomorrow. Eventually, you get home, eat dinner, and then get some sleep before starting all over again.