How to Become a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa

18:36 Monrovia 0 Comments


Quantity surveying is a dynamic and essential profession in the construction industry, responsible for managing costs and ensuring projects are completed within budget. In South Africa, where infrastructure development and construction projects are significant drivers of economic growth, the demand for skilled quantity surveyors is steadily increasing. If you aspire to become a quantity surveyor in South Africa, this comprehensive guide will outline the necessary steps to embark on this rewarding career path.

Understand the Role of a Quantity Surveyor

Before delving into the requirements and qualifications, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of what a quantity surveyor does. Quantity surveyors are involved in various stages of construction projects, from initial cost estimation and budgeting to procurement, cost management, and final account settlement. They also play a vital role in risk management, contract administration, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and standards.

Obtain the Necessary Qualifications

If you're aiming for a career in quantity surveying in South Africa, your journey starts with a strong foundation in math and science during your high school years.  Performing well in subjects like mathematics, physics, and construction technology will prepare you for the quantitative and technical aspects of the field.

The next step is university education. You'll need an accredited degree from a recognized institution. The most common route is a four-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) program specifically in Quantity Surveying. Alternatively, a three-year National Diploma in Quantity Surveying followed by a one-year B-Tech degree is another option. Both paths equip you with the necessary knowledge in construction costs, contract administration, and project management, paving the way for a successful career in quantity surveying.

Gain Practical Experience

While academic qualifications are essential, gaining practical experience is equally crucial for aspiring quantity surveyors. Many institutions offer internship or work-integrated learning programs that allow students to gain hands-on experience in real-world construction projects. Additionally, seeking part-time or vacation work with construction companies or quantity surveying firms can provide valuable insight into the industry and enhance your skills.

There are several ways to gain the crucial practical experience required for SACQSP registration. The most common route is through a graduate trainee scheme offered by construction consultancies, surveying firms, or contracting companies. These schemes typically last two to three years and provide a structured learning environment. Trainees rotate through various departments, gaining exposure to different aspects of quantity surveying like cost estimating, tendering, and contract management.

Another option is to find a mentorship with a registered quantity surveyor. This approach allows for more personalized learning and can be particularly valuable if you can find a mentor specializing in your area of interest.  While mentorship programs may offer less structured training, they can provide valuable insights and a strong reference when applying for future jobs.

Obtain Professional Certification/s

After university, your focus shifts to gaining practical experience and professional certification. Here's where the South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) comes in.  To become a registered quantity surveyor and use the coveted "PrQS" designation after your name, you'll need to complete at least 33 months of in-service training under the supervision of a qualified professional. This practical experience is documented and verified.

Registration with SACQSP signifies your commitment to the profession and adherence to its ethical code. It also demonstrates to potential employers that you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the field.  Being SACQSP registered opens doors to more senior positions and allows you to take on greater responsibility within the construction industry.

Develop Key Skills

To excel as a quantity surveyor, you need a diverse skill set that goes beyond technical knowledge. Strong analytical and numerical skills are essential for accurately estimating costs and managing budgets. Effective communication and negotiation skills are also crucial for interacting with clients, contractors, and other stakeholders. Additionally, proficiency in relevant software tools such as building information modelling (BIM) software and cost estimation software can significantly enhance your efficiency and productivity.

Stay Updated with Industry Trends

Staying updated with industry trends is vital for quantity surveyors in South Africa to remain competitive and provide valuable insights to clients and stakeholders. Firstly, technological advancements such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) are transforming the construction landscape, enabling quantity surveyors to enhance efficiency and accuracy in cost estimation and project management. Embracing innovative software solutions and staying informed about advancements in BIM can significantly improve productivity in quantity surveying tasks.

Secondly, quantity surveyors must stay abreast of regulatory updates, including changes to building codes, health and safety regulations, and environmental standards. This ensures compliance in construction projects and helps integrate sustainable building practices to meet growing environmental concerns. By staying informed about local and international regulations, quantity surveyors can provide value-added services and contribute to the adoption of green building initiatives in South Africa.

Lastly, keeping a pulse on market dynamics and economic factors is essential for quantity surveyors to anticipate changes in project demand, labour costs, and material prices. By monitoring economic indicators, construction industry reports, and market forecasts, quantity surveyors can make informed decisions and mitigate risks in their projects. Additionally, prioritizing continuous learning and professional development through industry conferences, courses, and networking activities enables quantity surveyors to stay ahead of the curve and position themselves as trusted advisors in the dynamic construction industry of South Africa

Build a Professional Network

Networking is vital for career advancement in any industry, and quantity surveying is no exception. Building relationships with fellow professionals, industry associations, and potential employers can open doors to new opportunities and valuable insights. Joining professional organizations such as the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) can provide access to networking events, mentorship programs, and resources to support your career growth.

Career Ladder and Salary Potential in Quantity Surveying (South Africa)

The field of quantity surveying in South Africa offers a rewarding career path with promising growth opportunities. As you gain experience and qualifications, you can climb the professional ladder and unlock progressively higher salary brackets.

Here's a breakdown of what to expect:

Graduate Quantity Surveyor:  Fresh graduates typically start as trainee quantity surveyors. Here, you'll gain practical experience under the supervision of senior colleagues.  Salaries at this entry-level position generally range between R250,000 and R350,000 per annum.

Quantity Surveyor: After completing your in-service training and achieving SACQSP registration (PrQS), you'll qualify as a quantity surveyor.  This opens doors to greater responsibility and project involvement.  Salary expectations increase to a range of R400,000 to R550,000 per year.

Senior Quantity Surveyor:  With several years of experience under your belt, you can progress to a senior quantity surveyor role.  Here, you'll take on a leadership role, managing projects, mentoring junior colleagues, and providing technical expertise.  Senior quantity surveyors can expect salaries in the R550,000 to R750,000 range.

Quantity Surveying Manager: Highly experienced professionals with strong leadership and management skills can reach the managerial level.  Quantity surveying managers oversee entire teams, manage budgets, and ensure project delivery within deadlines.  Salaries at this level can reach or exceed R850,000 per annum.

Director or Partner: The pinnacle of a quantity surveying career path could involve becoming a director in a surveying firm or even a partner in a construction consultancy.  These positions come with significant responsibility and influence over company strategy.  Compensation at this level is highly variable and can include profit-sharing or ownership stakes in the firm.

Becoming a quantity surveyor in South Africa requires a combination of academic qualifications, practical experience, professional certification, and ongoing professional development. By following the steps outlined in this guide and remaining dedicated to continuous learning and improvement, you can embark on a fulfilling career in quantity surveying and contribute to the growth and development of the construction industry in South Africa.

Image by prostooleh on Freepik.


* indicates required

You Might Also Like