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Gautam Pant
April 11, 2019

A Career as Construction Cost Managers is the next big thing for Civil Engineers and Architects


“By 2020, if the planned quantum of real estate and infrastructure space was to get constructed, the requirement of QS professionals in India alone would touch 97,000 annually.”

Quantity Surveyors, also known as Construction Cost Managers, are highly trained professionals who offer expert advice on procurement options and construction costs. They play a significant role in construction as cost managers and are involved across all key activities such as design economics, procurement and tenders, commercial management, cost planning and lifestyle costing, among many other things.


As a profession, quantity surveying is very well-established globally, and it is one of the top 10 most available careers in countries like Canada, Australia, and Britain. It is a dynamic profession that isn't limited to the estimation of costs and measurement. Instead, it is a specialist role of someone who understands estimating and has a creative bent towards team building skills and problem-solving. To excel in quantity surveying, one needs to have excellent analytical skills and mathematical aptitude.

If you have an engineering or architecture degree, then QS is just the right profession for you!

As a construction cost manager, you will have an immense scope to work with the following:

  • A major national or international contractor or engineering firm
  • Real estate developer or in the development of a major organisation
  • Domestic or international construction consulting firm
  • Public sector unit (PSU) or Local Government
  • Self-employed consultant in private practice

Quantity Surveying - Then and Now

Traditionally, Quantity Surveying was an acquired skill that civil engineers used to learn on the job. There was no formal education available which would give individuals the opportunity to specialise in this field. Civil engineers would be assigned to perform the most basic cost measurement, and quantity surveyors were planners and project managers who did not necessarily have a specific professional qualification for the same.

Today, there are more intensive and complex projects happening at an alarming rate, owing to the rapid urbanisation of the country. This implies that the costs and processes have also become all the more complicated. While quantity surveying was an add-on task earlier, now it has evolved into an individual profession - and a precious one at that.

QS professionals now don't just add numbers or measure anymore; they have a more strategic role to play in the project life-cycle. They are involved in everything, ranging from tendering documents and planning to preparing final bills of quantities. They ensure that all the work at every stage of a project is completed well on time, within the correct standard and pre-decided budget. Based on these reasons and more, employers are increasingly realising the importance of this profession and finding the right talent for such crucial roles.

So, how does one become a chartered Quantity Surveyor?

To be eligible for a QS degree program at bachelor level, mathematics and physics/computing are pre-requisite subjects. For a masters QS degree, architecture or civil engineering is the base eligibility criteria. However, to qualify for a chartered surveyor, you need to have a degree course accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The role demands in-depth knowledge of costs, construction design and effective inter-personal and team-building skills. A typical project of QS involves a mix of internal and external stakeholders - the client, the contractor, the design team, subcontractors and suppliers. Getting hands on an MBA in QS which is accredited by RICS is the first step to open opportunities at a broader level as the students with this degree can achieve the Chartered QS status a few years down the line. In India, RICS School of Built Environment is the only institution that offers an RICS-accredited MBA in Quantity Surveying and Construction Economics.

From Quantity Surveying to CXO - the potential is infinite.

When you add quantity surveying to a graduation degree, it automatically takes your career up a notch. With this degree, you can ensure that you understand numbers of complex projects - costs, profits, losses and are also well-versed with the technical, behavioural and commercial skills. With a powerful and high demand, Chartered Quantity Surveyors can steer their career into greater heights in the organisational hierarchy.

What are you waiting for? Now that you know the potential and demand of this profession, it’s time to get it stamped on your MBA degree!


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