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Have you ever wondered what is the cost to build the Razak Exchange, Petronas Twin Towers, Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101? Do you know what the essential process required to ensure that the project is completed with minimal cost-overrun is?
The answer is cost planning.
The person or a group of persons who are involved in cost planning and management in a construction project are called Quantity Surveyors.
Read further to get an overview of the field of study and the kind of career you can set out to have as a graduate in this field.
1. What is Quantity Surveying?
Quantity Surveying involves the estimation and the management of costs to make sure the construction project is completed on time and within budget.
Ultimately, the task of a quantity surveyor is to be responsible for calculating the cost of materials and the total cost of an entire project.
This takes into account the cost of building materials, machines and vehicles, and human resources.
The ultimate goal in quantity surveying is also about utilising strategic methods to ensure a profitable, efficient and high-quality construction.
2. Why Should You Study This?
Wide Skill Set
Learning quantity surveying allows you to acquire a wide array of skills and knowledge across multiple disciplines.
You will learn cost estimation, construction processes and techniques, as well as construction and contract laws and regulations.
You will wear many hats as you will play the role of an accountant, an engineer, an architect, a lawyer and a business manager all at the same time.
This diverse set of abilities will gain you more opportunities for leadership positions in the future.
Flexible Work Locations
Quantity surveyors don’t have a rigid fixed schedule or location. So, if you do not favour the 9 to 5 office job, this might just work for you.
This job allows you to be mobile as it requires you to visit project sites as well as have meetings with other individuals.
The type of construction projects varies from hotels and office buildings to highway roads.
Furthermore, this job requires a fair amount of social interaction as you meet architects, managers and lawyers when you work within the construction industry in Malaysia.
Quantity surveyors play a vital role in construction projects and the number of new projects is growing around the world.
According to the American Bureau of Labour Statistics, demand for quantity surveyors is expected to grow by 11% from 2016-2026 as there is a shortage of quantity surveyors in the construction industry.
3. What Do You Study?
These are some of the common subjects that are taught in a Quantity Surveying degree course:
Construction technology is defined as the “collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc. used during the construction phase of a project”.
You will learn how the use of semi-automated and automated construction equipment is especially important to increasing efficiency in the construction industry.
A key function of a quantity surveyor in the construction industry is to ensure efficiency in the financial management of building and civil engineering projects.
This subject teaches students how to identify the appropriateness of financial management systems for different construction projects and implement the accountancy principles and practices in examining the construction company’s finances and accounts.
Construction law is essentially a synthesis of contract law, commercial law, planning law, employment and law of tort.
It is a discipline of law that deals with building construction, engineering and other related fields.
The topics that will be covered in this subject include contract, negligence, bonds and bonding, guarantees and sureties, liens and other security interests, tenders, construction claims and associated consultant contracts.
4. What Are the Popular Pathways in this Field?
You can start with a Foundation in Science or Arts or a Pre-University (A-Level, SACE, STPM, etc.) course after completing SPM or equivalent qualification.
The next step is to do a degree like a Bachelor of Quantity Surveying after completion.
Alternatively, you can start with a diploma, where you will be taught the essential knowledge of providing professional industry-grade QS services
After completing this diploma, you’ll then be able to immediately enter into employment or continue with a Bachelor’s Degree.
So what would your pathway look like?
Diploma in Quantity Surveying
To qualify for a diploma course, you only need to have 3 credits in SPM/O-Level including Mathematics, and a pass in Bahasa Melayu.
Diploma courses usually take up to 2.5 years to complete and cost from RM 23,000.
You can enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
Bachelor’s Degree in Quantity Surveying
For degree courses, you will need to have 5 credits in SPM/O-Level qualification, including Mathematics, and the following pre-university course:
- STPM: min. 3Cs
- A-Level: min. 3Es
- AUSMAT/SACE: min. ATAR 65
- CIMP: min. average of 65%
- Relevant Foundation: min. CGPA of 2.00
- Relevant Diploma: min. CGPA of 2.67
A pre-university course can take up to 2 years to complete and cost from RM 16,000.
Once you’ve completed your pre-university course, you can then move on to the degree course.
Degree courses take 3.5 years to complete and cost from RM 69,000.
Diploma students who want to continue their studies can do so with a degree course and they begin in Year 2.
Upon completion of the degree, you can register with BQSM to undergo their Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) for registration as Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS).
You will need to gain 2 years of working experience under the supervision of a PQS and pass a professional interview by RISM to be conferred the surveyor ‘Sr’ title.
What Are the Skills Required?
Strong Mathematical Skills
Quantity Surveying requires impeccable mathematical skills and the ability to manage multiple numbers at the same time.
The measurement and quantification of building works entail numerical skills to perform the task accurately.
Quantity surveyors are responsible for projects from initiation to completion, finding out whether the project will be profitable, and managing the costs to fit the agreed budget.
Based on these measurements and estimates they make, they are then tasked with the responsibility of managing all the costs of the projects.
Financial management skills come in handy for them in areas of project budgeting, contractor payments, valuations and preparation of payment certificates etc.
IT and Software Skills
In this era of digitisation, the construction industry is keeping up by adopting new technologies and incorporating them into their operations.
This requires you to be able to learn sophisticated design and costing IT packages to perform quantity surveying functions.
Modern quantity surveyors need to learn how to use BIM software and get the most out of all the information technology available to speed up the QS process. This software helps them be more accurate in the production of cost estimates.
In an industry where automation gives you a competitive advantage, having a good working knowledge of relevant software will be one of your technical strengths as a professional.
Quantity surveyors are constantly involved in negotiations during the tender stage throughout the whole development project as they solicit projects for their employers.
Good negotiation skills are important to convince clients to give them projects.
To become a good negotiator, you need to have a detailed knowledge of past and current building and construction technology, processes, materials, business and legal matters.
Top Quantity Surveying Universities in Malaysia
The university was ranked No 91 in the 2016 Young University Rankings while The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked Heriot-Watt 22nd in the UK.
It is ranked 1st in the UK for Building in The Complete University Guide 2021.
- Foundation in Business
- BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying
- MSC Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying
Taylor’s University is ranked 284 of the QS World University Ranking 2023.
It has its own e-learning academy on campus with In-house developed e-learning platform and learning tools such as the REWIND system for unlimited playback of lecture classes in Live for student learning support.
- Foundation in Natural and Built Environment
- Bachelor of Quantity Surveying (Hons)
Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)
IUKL was established in 1998 as Ikram College, before being awarded University College status in 2003 as Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College.
It is the first infrastructure university in Malaysia.
- Foundation in Arts
- Foundation in Science
- Diploma in Quantity Surveying
- Bachelor of Quantity Surveying
To explore more, check out this article!
Things You Need to Know About Quantity Surveying Career
Quantity surveyors are cost managers and quality control officers.
They are responsible for managing the cost of construction projects and helping to ensure that the construction project is completed within its estimated budget.
As a quantity surveyor, you are responsible to manage all aspects of the contractual and financial side of construction projects.
The average monthly salary for quantity surveyors in Malaysia ranges from RM 2,800 to RM 3,900.
According to Payscale, an entry-level quantity surveyor with less than 1-year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of RM 29,998.
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