Australia is Crying Out for Quantity Surveyors!

Posted by Richard Poulter, Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong on Monday, April 22, 2024

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “Quantity Surveyor” is “a person whose job is to calculate the quantity of materials needed for building something, how much it will cost and how long it will take”

Well, whilst this is indeed true, the roles, responsibilities and subsequent career opportunities for a Quantity Surveyor or QS far surpass this simplistic definition. Let’s dive into more details.     

What do QS’s actually do?

Quantity Surveyors are primarily responsible for managing all aspects of cost and contracts within construction projects. They are involved from the project inception to its completion, working closely with architects, engineers, contractors, and clients to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget. Their core duties include cost estimation, cost management, contract administration, and value engineering. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors offers further insight.

The Australian QS

In Australia, Quantity Surveyors are known as "Contract Administrators” or “Cost Managers" as well as "Quantity Surveyors." They are typically involved in pre-construction cost planning, tendering, and contract administration. In Australia, these Contract Administrators place a strong emphasis on cost planning and risk management to prevent cost overruns during the construction process. Increasingly, their work integrates with sustainable construction practices and the use and implementation of Building Information Modelling or BIM, Modular Integrated Construction or MiC and other smart ways of working. The Victorian Building Authority or VBA, the government body which provides the regulatory framework for constructing projects in the territory, provides further insight.

These quantity surveying and cost professionals typically achieve professional accreditation via the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors or AIQS.


By comparison, in the UK, Quantity Surveyors are traditionally referred to as "Quantity Surveyors" or "QS’s." They play a pivotal role in managing contracts, including procurement strategy, preparing tender documents and negotiating with contractors, as well as post contract administration, cost forecasting, helping to mitigate risks and optimize project outcomes. Quantity Surveyors from UK are typically well-versed in contract law and have a strong focus on contractual disputes and claims management.  These UK quantity surveying and cost professionals typically achieve professional accreditation via the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors or RICS. I came across this informative article on Linked In, which further articulates the nuances between the Australian QS and the UK QS.

QS Career Opportunities in Australia

 There's currently an explosion of transportation infrastructure across Australia as well as the ubiquitous sky-scraping towers and residential and mixed-use developments sprouting across the major cities. The current volume of work is creating a major skills shortage. The good news is that the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, or ANZSCO, includes Quantity Surveyors on their medium and long term strategic skills list or MLTSSL which may mean eligibility for emigration to Australia.

With typical salaries of A$115,000, for graduates possessing just a few years of experience and with over 1,500 QS jobs advertised on just one of the well-known local job portals, it’s never been a better time, if you are a QS, to think about a move to Australia.

The Maxim Recruitment team is currently recruiting for main contractors, cost consultants, claims consultants and clients in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. We would be delighted to hear from tertiary qualified Quantity Surveyors either already based in Australia or looking to migrate to Australia. Here’s a useful guide on migration for QS professionals.

Please also check out some of our vacancies for both QS and Cost consultants and also Claims Consultants.  Two to highlight here are:
Senior Quantity Surveyor | Sydney
Associate Director Quantum | Sydney

Richard Poulter
Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
Maxim Recruitment

Richard has successfully recruited for the construction industry for the past 13 years following 15 years as a civil engineer and construction project manager. He is based in Hong Kong and responsible for Maxim Recruitment operations in Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.