Who is a quantity surveyor?
A quantity surveyor is a professional who calculates or estimates the entire cost of a building project. The most basic role of a quantity surveyor is to figure out what a construction project is going to cost.
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What do quantity surveyors do?
As mentioned above, the overall responsibility of quantity surveyors is to estimate and calculate the costs required to complete any given construction project.Quantity surveyors manage all costs that relates to construction projects from the initial calculations to the final figures. Their objective is to minimize projects costs and enhance value for money while at the same time achieving the required standards and quality.
Broadly, the duties and responsibilities of quantity surveyors revolve around the following activities;
- Taking clients brief and performing assessment to determine project feasibility.
- Preparation of Bill of Quantities (BoQs) and costs of materials, time and labour for tendering.
- Negotiating contracts and work schedules with service providers.
- Managing projects and collaborating with other professionals.
- Advising the clients on legal matters, including risks and disputes
- Monitoring sub-contractors at various stages of construction work.
- writing regular reports on costs and preparing accounts for payments
- Following health & safety and building regulations.
- Looking for new jobs or projects among other duties.
What is the work environment for quantity surveyors?
Quantity surveyors work in offices but also spend considerable amount of time in construction sites overseeing construction activities.
What are some career opportunities for quantity surveyors?
Quantity surveyors can find employment in various organizations such as; Government ministries and departments, quantity surveying firms, building and construction contractors, architectural firms, commercial businesses, insurance companies, project management firms, engineering firms, project evaluation and costing firms, property development companies, educational institutions among other areas.
With experience, these professionals can also start their own quantity surveying consulting ventures/ businesses.
How to become a quantity surveyor in Kenya
Like any other career choice, pursuing a career as a quantity surveyor requires good performance in certain secondary school subjects. It is paramount therefore to be aware of these subjects because they will influence your career choice.
To pursue a career as a quantity surveyor, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.
- SUBJECT 1: MAT A,
- SUBJECT 2: PHY,
- SUBJECT 3; any GROUP III,
- SUBJECT 4; 2nd GROUP II or 2nd GROUP III or any GROUP IV or any GROUP V, subject
A good overall mean grade will boost your chance of pursuing this career of choice. The minimum grade for university admission is KCSE mean grade is C+ (plus) and above.
Education and training routes
Depending on your ability and interest, there are various options you can explore to pursue this career option. If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with a good overall mean grade, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).
However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option and interested in it, you can take an alternative route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help you further your education into this career option.
So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become a quantity surveyor?
Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying or similar course(s). At least KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above.
- Diploma in Quantity Surveying
- Diploma in Building Construction
- Or other relevant fields. KCSE mean grade C- (minus) and above.
Important skills to have
To work successfully in this field, you will be required to possess important skills. Some of these skills are listed below;
- Good budgeting skills
- Excellent maths and IT skill
- Planning and organizational skills
- Excellent negotiation skills
- Leadership skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Problem solving skills
- Creative and innovation skills
- Writing skills
- Financial management skills
- Detail oriented skills
- Time management skills
- Presentation skills
- Analytical skills
- Business skills
- Decision making skills among others
How to Join College and or university
There are two ways you can follow to join training institution(s) in pursuit of your career of choice. The majority way is applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). This is a state owned agency that admits/ places government sponsored students to colleges and universities. One of the advantages of applying through Kuccps is that, upon successful placement, you will pay subsidized fee as a government sponsored student.
To be placed through Kuccps you must have attained a certain pass mark required for various education levels for (degrees/diplomas/certificates etc.) For more details on placement criteria, visit Kuccps website. The second approach is applying directly to training institution of your choice. Students who opt to apply this way do not get government fee subsidy and are therefore self-sponsored.
How to fund your post-secondary education.
If you are a needy student, upon application, you can get education loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), a state owned institution that gives education loans to students joining technical colleges and universities. You can also access education bursaries from your local Member of Parliament (MP) or the County Government among other sources.
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