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What does it mean to be a Quantity Surveyor? A trainee's view

In general, a Quantity Surveyor is responsible for ensuring there are accurate measurements and costs for any given building project. A Quantity Surveyor has a key role in creating the budget estimates for a project to make sure that everyone involved understands the project’s financial outcome.

A Quantity Surveyor’s role can vary depending on if they are supporting a client or working for a building contractor.

At HLG I support our clients who have employed building contractors to carry out building works for them. I am there to make sure that projects are delivered, on budget and on time, to the required level of quality set by the client.

Recently we worked on the new Jersey Zoo Gorilla enclosure.  I helped to prepare the cost plan to inform our clients of the likely budget based on the latest design. This involved measuring the works proposed in accordance with the New Rules of Measurement 2 (NRM2) (the code of measurement established by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)). And, once this was completed, apply standard cost rates to the quantities so we could make a budget estimate. I used QSCad software to measure the quantities and recorded the measurements in another piece of specialised Quantity Surveying software called Masterbill, which we use to help produce detailed reports. I’ve got to say, this is the first time I’ve measured a proposed gorilla enclosure!

There are many routes you can take to become a Quantity Surveyor.

I am currently studying an HNC in construction management part-time at Highlands College while working at HLG. I’m learning the basics of construction, law, computer design, surveying & setting out on the course. Once I have finished my HNC I plan to begin the Quantity Surveyor course at Highlands and continue the path to further my education and develop my knowledge in this field, and ultimately become a Chartered Quantity Surveyor.

I was lucky to pass my 1st-year exams with relative ease. This is in no small part due to the practical experience of working in the industry alongside my studies. Since starting at HLG a year ago, I have worked on a wide range of projects.

At the start of my role at HLG, I was measuring the architectural drawings of buildings. These drawings would range from small residential buildings to large apartment blocks. In recent months I have begun working on assisting assess the valuations which are sent by a contractor for a site to submit their claim for their work that month. I have also recently begun assisting in producing cost reports, these are created to inform the client of the expected final cost of their project based on the variations that occur regularly in the lifecycle of any building project.

As I am sure everyone starting out in their career can attest to, I have had the occasional moment of uncertainty. However, I always know that I can ask anyone in the office for help if I need it. With the years of industry experience surrounding me, there has always been a quick solution to any issue, and I am looking forward to continuing to my career here.

Daniel McMichael, Trainee Quantity Surveyor  

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