Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeships: Your 2024 Guide

You may have heard the term ‘quantity surveyor’ but do not understand or haven’t given much thought to what the job entails.

That could be a mistake. Quantity surveying is a lesser-known role in the construction industry but can lead to a lucrative and rewarding career. 

Quantity surveyors are in steady demand and have the potential to earn £80,000+ a year once they earn the necessary qualifications and accumulate experience. The best part? You can land this job without a university degree (and might even earn one in the process).

In this guide, we’ll outline the benefits and potential drawbacks of a career as a quantity surveyor, the paths you can take to qualify and the quantity surveying apprenticeships available in the UK.

What Does a Quantity Surveyor Do?

Quantity surveyors wear a lot of hats, from financial assistance and relationship maintenance to project management.

Sometimes referred to as ‘construction cost consultants’ quantity surveyors, they oversee budgets and cost optimisation at every stage of the project and ensure quality control, health and safety and ethics standards are met. 

It’s a varied role, with duties including:

  • Preparing construction plans
  • Choose construction materials based on budget and requirements
  • Study blueprints and structural sketches
  • Creating financial forecasts
  • Managing budgets
  • Maintain logs and create reports to track finances 
  • Visiting construction sites
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Liaising with architects and civil engineers on-site
  • Liaising with clients and stakeholders
  • Researching and implementing sustainable practices
  • Staying up-to-date with Building Regulations and health and safety guidelines

There are different types of quantity surveyors, determined by who hires them.

Client’s quantity surveyor

Clients will likely have a predetermined budget they require you to work to. In this instance, your job is to create an economic plan and keep the clients up-to-date at all stages of the project. 

Contractor’s quantity surveyor

If employed by a contractor, you will prepare cost estimates, manage the construction budget, suggest cost-effective measures, and assess and maintain on-site safety. This type of quantity surveyor is usually based in a site cabin and will need to wear PPE most days.

Project quantity surveyor

You will create a tender appraisal, monitor project costs throughout the construction, and evaluate the completed build. 

Typically, quantity surveyors work around 37-40 hours a week, dividing their time between their office, client meetings and construction sites. 

Pros and Cons of a Career in Quantity Surveying 

As with any job, there are benefits and potential drawbacks to pursuing a career as a quantity surveyor. 


  • Salaries start at £25,000 and can reach £80,000+ as your experience grows
  • Quantity surveyors also get lots of ‘perks’ such as transport allowance, health insurance, bonuses and overtime pay
  • Your work can take you all over the world
  • The work is varied
  • You play a big part in the success of buildings and structures


  • The job carries a lot of responsibility
  • Aspects such as construction site visits can be potentially dangerous
  • If you are freelance, work can be uncertain and inconsistent 

Quantity Surveyors, Land Surveyors, and Building Surveyors

While a quantity surveyor is responsible for the construction costs and safety for the duration of a building project, a building surveyor assesses the completed building for any problems.

Before either can do their job, a land surveyor will measure and map out the proposed space to determine construction and legal boundaries.

Land surveying relies heavily on technology, such as drones, laser scanning and GPS, making it a very different proposition to quantity and building surveying.   

Paths to becoming a Quantity Surveyor 

The attributes needed for a job in quantity surveyance are:

  • Strong numerical skills
  • An analytic mind
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • The ability to negotiate 
  • Knowledge of the construction industry
  • The ability to use quantity surveying software, create spreadsheets and use cost databases

Most of these skills can be taught.

There are three primary routes to becoming a quantity surveyor:

  • University degree
  • Postgraduate conversion course
  • Apprenticeship

University degree

Many UK universities offer RICS-accredited degree courses in quantity surveying or commercial management. The entry requirements may vary between universities. 

Postgraduate conversion course

Holding an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as construction, civil engineering, or urban land studies, makes you eligible to apply for an RICS-accredited postgraduate conversion course. You can enrol as a full-time student to complete the course in one year, or part-time and take two years to graduate. 


Usually run by industry specialists in conjunction with highly-regarded UK universities, quantity surveyor apprenticeships can help you earn a fair wage and give you practical hands-on experience while studying for an industry-recognised qualification.

Types of UK Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeships

There are typically two levels of quantity surveyor apprenticeships, higher and degree, although you may also find some advanced quantity surveyor apprenticeships.

Unless you already meet the requirements for the degree apprenticeship most providers will encourage you to complete both apprenticeships. For example, if you complete the Barratt higher apprenticeship, they will automatically enrol you on the degree apprenticeship programme.

The level 3 or 4 courses typically last around 60 months, with the level 6 programmes lasting around 30 months. 

Entry Requirements

All UK apprentices must:

  • Be 16 or older
  • Not already in full-time education
  • Be a UK citizen or eligible to work in the UK

Other requirements will vary depending on the level of apprenticeship and the provider. 

To be eligible for a higher apprenticeship in quantity surveying, you will need one of the following:

  • One A-Level and four GCSEs (C or above, or Grades 4-9), including Maths and English
  • BTEC National Qualification
  • Advanced Diploma in Construction or Built Environment
  • Other access or foundation courses

To enrol on the degree apprenticeship, you must have either completed the higher course or have:

  • A Cert HE in a Construction related subject
  • HNC in Construction or equivalent qualifications
  • Access – at least 45 credits at level 3 and 15 credits at level 2 from a relevant Open College Network accredited course

Qualifications Achieved

By completing your degree apprenticeship, you will have earned The Professional Practice in Residential Development and Quantity Surveying Degree. This is an accredited degree with the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB), the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

You can then work towards becoming a member of one of these organisations, with the support and sometimes financial backing of your employer/apprenticeship provider. 

There are two levels of RICS qualifications – Associate (AssocRICS) and Chartered (MRICS).

Associate is the entry-level qualification before you progress to full chartered status.

To become an Associate you will need either:

  • 1 year of relevant experience and a relevant bachelor’s degree
  • 2 years of relevant experience and a relevant higher/advanced/foundation qualification
  • 4 years of relevant experience (no qualifications required)

Getting Chartered requires one of the following:

  • Relevant experience and an RICS-accredited degree
  • 5 years of relevant experience and any bachelor’s degree
  • 10 years of relevant experience operating at an advanced level by seniority, specialisation or in academia.


Some of the UK’s biggest names offer quantity surveyor apprenticeships, including:

Where to Find Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeships 

You can find quantity surveyor apprenticeships on our website by searching by topic and location. The Government website also advertises apprenticeships, and you can check out job sites or the careers sections of companies you think you might like to work for.

As always, If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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