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The history of the Quantity surveyor profession, according to Seeley I.H Quantity Surveying Practice, 1st Edition (1984) dates back to the 18th century in the United Kingdom, when construction projects were measured and valued after they were designed and built. The “measurers” would quantify and assign a value to the work after the building was constructed and then negotiate with the client and architect on behalf of the tradesmen.

By the early 19th century, a new contractor system resulted in price competition before construction. Quantity Surveyors developed the skill of pre-measuring quantities from drawings and assembling them in “bills of quantities” before construction began.

The need for quantity surveying and cost estimation became evident as building works increases in volume, and building clients become dissatisfied with the method adopted for the settling of the cost of work.

Due to the increasingly diverse nature of the construction industry, market uncertainty, the movement towards “green” buildings, and the use of non-traditional procurement methods, the practice of the Quantity Surveying profession has greatly evolved.

Today’s Quantity Surveyors are a key part of the construction and financial management process, including cost estimating and forecasting, cost management, construction techniques and management, procurement processes, and contractual matters.

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Quantity Surveyor is a professional who, by virtue of his training and experience in the Building and Engineering Construction Industry, has the expertise in Development and Construction Cost Management on Building, Civil, and Industrial Engineering Projects.
He is an expert in all financial matters relating to Building, Civil, and Engineering Projects. He is concerned with cost and contract administration from inception to closeout stage.
The Quantity Surveyor is sometimes referred to as a Cost Consultant, Cost Manager, Technical Accountant or Cost Engineer of the Construction Industry.


  • Carrying out feasibility studies of capital projects from information provided by construction stakeholders.
  • Preliminary cost advice which entails preparation of approximate cost estimates, cost budgets, cost planning, cost checking, and cost control.
  • Preparing contract documents that include preparation of bills of quantities and other tender documents, advice on tendering method, contractual arrangement, tender valuation.
  • Contract administration during the execution of construction works.
  • Project Management works, which involves coordination between the consultants, contractors, and other participants from the start to finish of the project with the objective of completing the project within budget and time.
  • Project monitoring services and loan monitoring services.
  • They are acting as an expert witness in cases of arbitration or litigation.
  • Management of the Procurement of Construction Works
  • Funders’ representatives in cases where the project’s funds are sourced from financial institutions
  • Collaborating with other professionals in value engineering management.
  • They are preparing project cash flows, life cycle cost analysis, and maintaining unit price reference databases.
  • Risk Management
  • Preparing and monitoring construction progress schedules.
  • Establishing and implementing the cost control process.
  • Providing independent certification services and payment certification services
  • Providing earned value analysis
  • Evaluating changes and finalizing the contract amount at close-out.

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Construction Estimators is a professional that specializes in quantifying the materials, labour, and equipment required to complete a Construction project. Construction estimator prepares estimates on civil engineering, architectural, structural, electrical, and mechanical construction projects.


  • Estimators prepare estimates of probable costs of materials, labour, and equipment for construction projects and come up with the total cost of the project, quotations, schematic drawings, and specifications.
  • During tendering, Estimators may examine and analyze tenders, recommend tender awards based on most compliant proposals. They also take part in the negotiation stage, which leads to the Tender award.
  • Estimators may set up cost monitoring and reporting systems and procedures.
  • Estimators can also cost control reports during the duration of the project, either monthly, weekly or daily, based on the requirement.
  • An estimator may be involved in certifying the application of payments.
  • Estimators maintain a database for contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers.
  • Estimators may be involved as coordinators for construction projects and if required can be involved in the preparation of construction schedule.
  • Preparing and pricing quantity take-offs, including analytic estimating for various types and forms of construction.
  • Identifying, prequalifying, evaluating, analyzing, and selecting contractors and other supplied services and products.
  • Reviewing relevant project documentation, tender, and contract documents.
  • Preparing, pricing, and submitting tenders/proposals.
  • Reviewing, evaluating, analyzing, negotiating, and recommending for award tender/proposal submissions.
  • Developing, preparing, pricing, and negotiating changes/claims.
  • Managing, administering, and coordinating construction projects/contracts.
  • Preparing and maintaining unit price and reference databases

The term Quantity Surveying and Cost Estimation are being used to mean the same in the North America region, but the roles and responsibility of a Construction Estimator are limited as often practiced in North America, where he specializes in a specific trade for Estimator working with Sub Contractors, and he is only skilled in estimating the particular trade items, while a Construction Estimator working with a general contractor mainly solicits for bids and manages the complete tender documentation process.

Also Read: The Roles Of A Quantity Surveyor In The Pre And Post Construction Phases Of A Building Project?

In general, the scope and services rendered by a Quantity Surveyor are more encompassing, more detailed, and professional when compared to the service of a Construction Estimator.

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Ataur Rahman

President at prycoglobal
Ataur Rahman is the president at Pryco Global Inc (PRYCO). He has more than a decade of experience in the leadership role, majorly into Oil & Energy and Heavy Civil & Commercial Construction Projects. He has turned around a couple of loss-making businesses unit into profit centers through effective Cost Management, Process Improvement, Business Strategy Realignment, Reorganizing Organizational Structure.
Ataur Rahman