If you are a quantity surveyor, you almost certainly have the technical skills that form the core aspect of your role. A quantity surveyor's ultimate goal is to ensure that a construction project turns a profit. Obviously, this means that your analytical and number-crunching skills have to be significantly above par.
Ensuring that a project is profitable is, after all, a fairly broad objective. Thus, the quantity surveyor is involved in multiple stages of the project, starting from pre-construction. From planning for costs, to estimating, and ultimately even putting a stop to activities that do not align with the project vision, the quantity surveyor needs to stay on top of things. This level of involvement is crucial because, when unchecked, projects often run into cost and time overruns.
Since a quantity surveyor has numerous responsibilities spanning the project life-cycle, it follows that having only the requisite technical skills is often not enough. What is also required is a range of interpersonal skills. While these are often called "soft" skills, the term does not adequately convey their importance. These additional skills are of great importance for anyone who wants to make a greater impact both in their organization as well as in their personal career.
Once there is knowledge of basic competencies such as accounting principles and procedures and business planning, it is time to develop skills in the areas of client care, communication and negotiation, and conflict management, while keeping in mind at all times the code of conduct and ethics required of a professional.
From the beginning of the project, when you receive the client brief, communication is very important. Good listening skills are an underrated but valuable aspect of the communication process. You and the client have to be on the same page, and you must be able to demonstrate your understanding of the project requirements. You must also follow established procedures to engage with the client team and have a clear and efficient system of documentation.
Negotiation is a central aspect of the quantity surveyor's role as well. Since a quantity surveyor is involved in a projection from its conception, he or she knows which activities (during the execution phase) are not aligning with the project vision. Refocusing priorities is something that may need to be discussed with the client and execution teams. A skilled quantity surveyor will apply the negotiation and communication skills that they have learned to put their point across with ease, and will make sure to facilitate a solution that suits all stakeholders.
Another vital, and often overlooked, facet to this role is that of presentation. You, as a quantity surveyor, may be technically proficient and have a deep understand of project needs and a roadmap for its execution. However, if you are unable to present your ideas and understandings to an audience, there is a large chance that your knowledge will go waste. Public speaking is an important part of presentation.
By virtue of the overall picture of a project that a quantity surveyor has, he or she is often best suited for leadership roles in the organization. But this is only possible if you pay special attention to developing your soft skills—which can help you rise in your career. Constantly learning and upgrading your skills is essential to professional success.