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What’s the difference between a Quantity Surveyor and a Building Surveyor?

Carla Chamberlain

Senior Manager

Jul 22, 2022

According to RICS, ‘a Quantity Surveyor is an expert in the art of costing a building at all its stages’ while Building Surveyors provide technical advice about the construction of a building or property.

What does a Quantity Surveyor do?

Quantity Surveyors join a project early on, reviewing architects' plans and building schematics in order to total the cost of materials and labour in advance of any construction.

They use Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the Building Cost Information Service in order to gain an accurate cost from technical measurements/ tools which are then used to inform the cost, budget, benchmarks and even life cycle cost plans.

A Quantity Surveyor will remain on a project throughout its construction, to monitor the construction and material usage in line with Building Regulations. For some larger projects, there may even be a specialist Quantity Surveyor on board as well whose specialism means they oversee a specific part of the project.

What does a Building Surveyor do?

Building Surveyors can be responsible for a variety of different roles from ‘measured survey and design, structural surveys, legal matters such as leases and party wall awards, contract running and site supervision.’

In some cases, Building Surveyors inspect buildings on behalf of a property management company, housing developer, or specialist surveying company. Their job is to report on the building’s condition, identifying any dilapidation, damp, cracks, subsidence, and damage in order to make a recommendation for the repair and provide an estimate for the cost.

In some cases, a Building Surveyor may take a look at walls, floors or ceilings shared between properties and advise on who is responsible for the repair, while other Building Surveyors may even oversee the design and planning of smaller building projects like extensions.

Why work as a Quantity Surveyor or Building Surveyor?

“A job within Quantity Surveying and Building Surveying gives you the opportunity to have a real impact on building homes, cities, and skylines – shaping projects right through from the initial plans of how it might look to walking past a completed project on the street and thinking ‘I did that’! They are multifaceted roles giving you a platform to develop a vast skillset as you progress through your career.” – Carla Chamberlain, Managing Consultant, Oyster Partnership

How to get a job as a Quantity Surveyor or Building Surveyor

To become a qualified Quantity Surveyor or Building Surveyor, you would need to complete an Undergraduate Degree in a related field or look out for any degree approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and/or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

Once you have completed your degree, you would need to become a member of either of these organisations or even specialise in a field after 2-4 years on the job.

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Senior Manager

Carla Chamberlain

Carla, or CC as she is known, is a shining example of how we all have potential we can’t even imagine. Starting 8 years ago at Oyster, her first job in Recruitment, things were not plain sailing and it would have been very easy to call it a day. Instead, CC persisted where others would have given up, and eight years on she is not only managing a hugely successful team who adore her but has utterly conquered the QS scene and leading the way across our Development and Land division. And she did it all whilst being the most positive, energetic, fun person in the room.

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