cash flow management for builder calculator

How to Become a Quantity Surveyor in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide


Are you intrigued by the world of construction and real estate? Do you have a knack for numbers and contracts? If so, a career as a Quantity Surveyor might just be the perfect fit for you. Especially in Australia, where the construction industry is booming, this profession offers both a stable career and lucrative opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of becoming a Quantity Surveyor in Australia.

What Will You Learn?

  • The role and importance of a Quantity Surveyor
  • Educational pathways
  • Essential skills and certifications
  • Job prospects in Australia

What is a Quantity Surveyor?


A Quantity Surveyor (often abbreviated as QS) is a professional who specializes in estimating the cost of construction projects. From building a high-rise to renovating a kitchen, Quantity Surveyors ensure that the projects are completed within budget, thereby saving money without sacrificing quality.

Key Functions of a Quantity Surveyor

Cost Estimation

What It Involves

Cost estimation is perhaps one of the most vital roles of a Quantity Surveyor. This involves calculating the total costs associated with a construction project, from materials to labor to overheads. Quantity Surveyors use specialized software, such as CostX or Buildsoft, to create accurate estimates that form the basis of budgets and bids.


Cost estimation is crucial because it directly impacts the profitability of a project. Accurate estimates help in securing project bids, budgeting accurately, and ensuring financial viability. This can be especially vital in competitive markets where margins are thin.

Contract Management

What It Involves

Quantity Surveyors negotiate and manage contracts between different parties involved in a construction project. This includes the creation of contracts, as well as ongoing oversight to ensure all parties are fulfilling their contractual obligations.


Contract management ensures that projects proceed smoothly without legal hiccups. Properly managed contracts protect the interests of all parties and provide frameworks for resolving disputes, should they arise.

Risk Assessment

What It Involves

This entails identifying and analyzing potential risks that could negatively impact a project. These could range from financial risks such as cost overruns to operational risks like delays in material delivery.


By properly assessing risks ahead of time, Quantity Surveyors help mitigate issues that could derail a project. This proactive approach is key in saving both time and money.

Value Engineering

What It Involves

Value engineering involves finding the most cost-effective and efficient methods to achieve the design goals of a project without compromising on quality.


This role is integral for maximizing value for money. Through value engineering, Quantity Surveyors contribute to making projects more financially viable, often leading to significant cost savings.

Tax Depreciation Schedules

What It Involves

In Australia, Quantity Surveyors often prepare tax depreciation schedules for property investors. These schedules list all the depreciating assets within a property, like fixtures and fittings, and estimate their value over time.


Having a professionally prepared tax depreciation schedule can help property investors significantly reduce their annual tax liabilities, thus increasing the return on their investment.

Dispute Resolution

What It Involves

Should conflicts arise during the course of a project, Quantity Surveyors are often called upon to mediate and resolve these disputes, whether they are financial disagreements, contract misunderstandings, or quality-related issues.


Dispute resolution skills are crucial for preventing delays and additional costs. A successful Quantity Surveyor will have the negotiation skills and legal know-how to resolve disputes efficiently, often avoiding the need for litigation.

Significance in Australia

In Australia, Quantity Surveyors play a pivotal role, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, commercial development, and residential construction. They are essential in ensuring projects are delivered on budget and on time, which is key to the nation’s economic growth.

Why Choose a Career in Quantity Surveying?

Job Outlook

According to reports, Australia is expected to face a skill shortage in the construction industry in the coming years. For Quantity Surveyors, this means ample job opportunities and career stability.

Salary Prospects

The average salary for a Quantity Surveyor in Australia varies depending on experience, ranging from AUD 70,000 for a junior role to upwards of AUD 120,000 for senior positions, according to Seek.

Opportunities for Advancement

As you gain experience and credentials, you can advance to managerial roles or specialize in sectors like infrastructure or renewable energy.

Work-Life Balance

Most Quantity Surveyors work in a corporate setting, allowing for a balanced work-life dynamic, although this can vary based on the project’s demands.

Educational Requirements

Academic Pathway

A Bachelor’s Degree in Quantity Surveying or Construction Management is typically required.

In Australia, you might also want to consider a Master’s Degree in a specialized field, although this is optional.


Membership or certification from the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) can boost your career prospects significantly.

Skills Needed to Become a Quantity Surveyor

Technical Skills

Software Proficiency: Estimating software like CostX or Buildsoft is often used in this profession.

Mathematical Aptitude: Strong numeracy skills are essential for tasks like cost estimation and financial planning.

Soft Skills

  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Problem-solving
  • Time Management
pg costing in action
pg costing in action

Steps to Become a Quantity Surveyor in Australia

Educational Qualification

Bachelor’s Degree

Your journey typically begins with enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree program in Quantity Surveying, Construction Management, or a closely related field. Australian universities like the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, and Queensland University of Technology are renowned for such programs.

Advanced Studies

While not mandatory, further studies like a Master’s degree or postgraduate diploma can offer specialized knowledge that may be beneficial for specific industry sectors.

Importance of Accreditation

Make sure the program you choose is accredited by relevant bodies such as the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) to ensure that your qualifications are recognized in the industry.

Internship and Training

Importance of Hands-On Experience

Classroom learning is essential, but it’s equally important to gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions. These opportunities expose you to real-world challenges and solutions in the field of Quantity Surveying.

Where to Look for Internships

Major construction companies, consultancy firms, and government bodies in Australia often provide internship programs for aspiring Quantity Surveyors.


Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)

After completing your degree and acquiring some level of practical experience, you should consider becoming certified by the AIQS. This certification adds credibility to your qualifications and is highly regarded within the industry.

Additional Certifications

You might also consider certifications in related areas like project management or specialized construction software, which can broaden your skill set and marketability.

Job Hunting

Platforms to Use

Job search platforms like Seek, Indeed, and LinkedIn are great starting points. Industry-specific websites and newsletters can also provide leads on job openings.


Don’t underestimate the power of professional networking. Join industry seminars, webinars, and events to meet professionals who can guide you or offer job opportunities.

Continued Learning

Staying Updated

The construction industry is continually evolving, and so are the tools and technologies used in Quantity Surveying. To stay competitive, it’s crucial to keep learning and updating your skills.

Professional Development

Consider taking part in workshops, online courses, or further certifications to specialize in new areas or to refresh your existing knowledge. Some professionals even go on to pursue a Ph.D. in related fields for academic or research-based roles.


Having a mentor in the industry can provide invaluable insights and guidance as you progress in your career, aiding your long-term professional development.


A career as a Quantity Surveyor in Australia is not only financially rewarding but also professionally fulfilling. As the construction industry continues to grow, so does the demand for skilled Quantity Surveyors. With the right mix of education, skills, and ambition, you can carve a successful career path in this dynamic field.

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