Assistant quantity surveyors provide technical assistance to chartered quantity surveyors in costing building projects. They estimate quantities and costs of materials and labour. They also take measurements on-site when a project is underway so that they can calculate actual costs.
Assistant quantity surveyors provide technical assistance to chartered quantity surveyors in costing building projects at all stages from planning to completion.
Before a project begins they use technical drawings to estimate quantities and costs of materials, labour, plant, taxes and the likely maintenance costs for a new building or civil engineering project. Assistant quantity surveyors work out, for example, the amount of steel and concrete required for a bridge, the number of bricks and roof tiles for a housing estate or the quantity of glass for an office block.
They then prepare a bill of quantities. This is a detailed list of the labour and materials needed for a project. Contractors use the bill of quantities to work out their bids.
Assistant quantity surveyors check bids from contractors. They analyze the bills of quantities returned with prices; they check the calculations are correct and that all items have been priced. They make sure that contractors’ prices are fair.
When a project is under way quantity surveying technicians visit the construction site at intervals, to measure the work completed. They keep detailed records of all measurements because they are used to calculate actual costs. If there are changes to the project, assistant quantity surveyors measure alterations and adjust values. The client uses these measurements to pay the contractor for completed work.
Contractors use the measurements to pay sub-contractors, such as electricians, plant operators and construction workers.
Measurement work can involve being outdoors in all weather conditions and working at heights.
Assistant quantity surveyors use computers to get prices of materials from suppliers and to store data, such as measurements, costs, budgets and financial reports.
They also carry out the general administration involved in managing the office.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As an assistant quantity surveyor you should enjoy working with numbers. You will need to make calculations quickly and accurately. Attention to detail is important, as is the ability to concentrate and work methodically.
You will need problem solving skills to organize your work and practical skills to undertake measurement work. Estimating costs and quantities involves reading and analyzing technical drawings.
You will need good communication skills to talk with quantity surveyors and other members of the construction team. You should be able to work to deadlines.