Construction Manager vs Quantity Surveyors | Which Career Should You Choose?

If you’ve completed or are currently studying either construction management or quantity surveying, you may have noticed that a lot of the modules are identical.

This tends to spark questions such as;

“Do QS’s and construction managers do the same thing?”

“Could I jump from one role to another”

“I wonder if there’s a difference in salary”.

In this article, we will explain the roles of a QS & a construction manager, the differences in salary and hopefully help you gain a better understanding of each role.

So, the best way to start this is by giving you a definition of the roles.

A Quantity Surveyor is a professional within the construction industry, concerned with cost, procurement, and contracts. To make it even more simple, the main reason a company would hire a quantity surveyor is to accurately manage the cost on a project.

A construction manager sometimes referred to as a project manager or site manager is a professional within the construction industry concerned with programme, safety, and planning. Simply put, a company would hire a construction manager to safely oversee and project ensuring it is completed on time and on budget.

So, here’s the first difference. A QS is focussed on the cost and value of a project and a construction manager is focussed on the programme and safety of a project.

You’re probably wondering what a day in the life of a QS & Construction manager is like too.

A normal day for a quantity surveyor may include;

  • Estimating or forecasting the cost of labour, plant, and material required for a project
  • Preparing tender documents, contracts, budgets, bills of quantities and other documentation
  • Tracking changes to the design or method of working and adjusting budget projections accordingly
  • Procuring or agreeing on the services of contractors or subcontractors who work on the construction of the project
  • Measuring and valuing the work completed on-site
  • Issuing payments to subcontractors
  • Liaising with the client and other construction professionals, such as site managers, project managers and site engineers
  • Selecting and sourcing construction materials

A normal day for a construction manager may include:

  • planning and coordinating a project from start to finish, including organising the schedule of work,
  • hiring and managing staff for the project
  • managing the construction site on a day-to-day basis, including supervising the labour force, monitoring subcontractors, checking materials, inspecting work and overseeing quality control
  • ensuring the project is delivered on time and on budget by setting benchmarks, agreeing budgets and monitoring progress
  • checking design documents with architects, surveyors and engineers
  • promoting and maintaining health and safety, including site inspections to ensure safety rules are being followed
  • maintaining regular communication and attend meetings with clients and their representatives to inform them of progress on the project, i.e. stakeholder management
  • communicating with any consultants, subcontractors, supervisors, planners, quantity surveyors and others involved in the project
  • dealing with any unexpected problems that may occur during the project

Finally we’ll talk about salaries.

The average salary of an experienced construction manager is £50,000 and the average salary of an experienced quantity surveyor is £40,000. As with all careers, there are roles above and below these positions such as an assistant construction manager and assistant qs at £32,000 & 28,000 respectively.

Hopefully this article provided you with the information required to make a calculated decision in which career you would like to pursue.

Why not watch our YouTube video on this subject?

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