How To Become a Quantity Surveyor in Canada

by Usama Chaudry on May 9, 2022

Are you planning to pursue a career in quantity surveying? 

This article will provide you with the most helpful information you need to know to get your foot in the field. 

Quantity surveyors play a crucial part in the construction process. These experts are proficient in various analytical and technical abilities used to evaluate construction projects and compare budgets to project value. Knowing how to become a quantity surveyor might help you decide if it is the right career path. 

This post will explain what a quantity surveyor does, how to become one, and the required skills. We will also provide tips and answer frequently asked questions about the quantity surveyor role. 

How to Become a Quantity Surveyor

You can follow these steps to learn how to become a quantity surveyor:

1. Get Education

A degree in construction management or a similar discipline is usually required to become a quantity surveyor. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), for instance, offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in Construction Project Management that qualifies you to become a quantity surveyor after your graduation. If you’re unsure which programs to enroll in, you can go through a list of accredited programs compiled by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS). Attending an approved resuming education program is another option. You must email your transcript to CIQS if you desire to follow that alternative path.

2. Build Experience

You must have the necessary job experience to become a quantity surveyor. Several educational programs may arrange internships during your degree. Future members of the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) must maintain work diaries that monitor their growth and experience.

3. Successfully complete the interview.

After gaining experience in a relevant field, you can schedule an interview with the CIQS. They provide you with the time, date, and location for your interview. Your professional interview should last up to one hour.

What does a Quantity Surveyor do?

Quantity surveyors are experts who manage construction businesses’ expenses and budgets, assuring that projects remain within their budgetary limits. They communicate with customers, co-employees, and construction workers, then report to the accounting section of the organization to convey project requirements. They also visit building sites regularly to monitor project progress. 

Following are some of the typical duties and roles of a quantity surveyor:

1. Estimates the cost of materials

To figure out the materials the project requires, quantity surveyors may talk to your team members and construction laborers. From here, they explore supplier prices and estimate material costs. These projected expenses contribute to your overall budget.

2. Analyzes the Blue Prints of the Project

During their education, quantity surveyors learn how to read project blueprints. Quantity surveyors utilize project blueprints to assess how much material is needed for a project, which helps them analyze the budget. If the company’s budget requirements aren’t mentioned, quantity surveyors discuss the blueprints with other professionals to get an estimate. 

3. Participates in Negotiations

Quantity surveyors participate in negotiations between construction businesses and customers during budget analyses and outcomes. Professional quantity surveyors have a better insight into customer demands and expectations; thus, they can produce more reliable budget estimates. To guarantee that client expectations are reasonable, you may also boost project budgets or negotiate contracts.

4. Manages the Project

The quantity surveyor’s role is to collaborate with project managers and manage different aspects of projects. When managing budgets, they consider customer requirements and expectations to discover suppliers and materials. Quantity surveyors also supervise project materials and materials vendors.

5. Write and Maintain Documents

Quantity surveyors compile numerous budgeting data in a document to keep the budget and projects in order. These records include receipts history, latest orders, and expenditures. In the quantity surveyor role, you may also be responsible for estimating salaries and entering payroll data into spreadsheets.

6. Visits Worksites

Quantity surveyors visit worksites to make sure the tasks meet the deadlines. These visits also help with budgeting and ensuring that employees follow health and safety laws. Professionals quantity surveyors may work in offices as well as on construction sites.

Useful Tips to Land a Career as a Quantity Surveyor

Following are some quantity surveyor tips to help you pursue a career in this field:

1. Build Your Network

Building your network assists you to advance in your career as it provides you with information regarding multiple jobs and firms. Networking may also lead to the discovery of new suppliers. Knowing more about your competitors can help you gather as many materials as possible while meeting your customer’s budget.

2. Maintain a Well-organized CV

As you progress through your education and internships, keeping your CV up to date is essential as it demonstrates to potential employers that you have fresh work experience in the field. It also exhibits your field’s versatility and competency. If you have similar titles and positions for various jobs, demonstrate adaptability in tasks and highlight your budgeting approach.

3. Research Advancements and New Innovations

To become a quantity surveyor, you must keep an eye on the latest inventions and developments in construction technologies. Staying up to date assists you in smart budgeting since you uncover new technologies that reduce costs. To have a solid list of suppliers, you can also analyze new enterprises and potential contacts in the sector.

Must-Have Skills for a Quantity Surveyor

The following skills can assist you in fulfilling the role of quantity surveyor:

1. Architectural Drawings Understanding & Interpretation

As a quantity surveyor, you must understand and interpret architectural drawings and construction blueprints. Drawing lessons are common in field-related post-secondary schools, and they teach you how to interpret multiple drawings. You can forge exceptional cost and budget assessments by comprehending architectural drawings. Blueprints and drawings provide you with the necessary information to figure out what materials you will need and how big your project will be, which helps you estimate the project’s budget.

2. Know-how of Construction Materials

Like construction managers and architects, quantity surveyors need to know about construction materials. They navigate supplier and material pricing, which necessitates acquiring knowledge of construction materials. Understanding these materials will also help you communicate with other building experts.

3. Strong Mathematical Skills

You must possess strong mathematical skills to become a quantity surveyor. These are required for budgeting since numerous aspects of construction projects must be calculated to produce a budget for each project phase. You will also need these skills to interpret blueprint data and determine project material requirements.

4. Self-Motivated

You must have self-motivation if you want to become a quantity surveyor. This ability allows you to achieve deadlines and collaborate with various professionals to manage finances. You must motivate yourself to meet project objectives and prepare yourself to work in groups.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1- What qualifications do you need to be a quantity surveyor?

Following are the quantity surveyor degrees you can obtain:

  • A bachelor’s degree in construction project management of four years.
  • PQS certification from an institution accredited by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS).

2- How many years does it take to become a quantity surveyor?

A quantity surveyor degree typically needs at least four years to complete. Internships and building experience require a minimum of two to three years. All in all, it will take approximately six to seven years to become a quantity surveyor.

3- Are quantity surveyors well paid?

Yes, people working for quantity surveyor roles are well paid.

On average, the quantity surveyor salary in Canada is CAD 70,200 per year, equivalent to CAD 36 per hour.

Entry-level construction quantity surveyors with less than one year of experience earn around CAD 53,125 per year on average. On the other hand, the most professional quantity surveyors with five to nine years of experience make up CAD 118,950 per year on average.

4- Is quantity surveying hard?

At times, quantity surveying seems complicated as you will have to meet tight deadlines, work for long periods, and deal with poor personal/professional life balance. Moreover, it can be a difficult job as you will regularly have to implement mathematical laws and principles to understand and interpret blueprint data and figures. People with phobias might find it hard to be in a quantity surveyor role, as it requires you to climb high above the ground or fit into small spaces.


It takes a lot of hard work to become a quantity surveyor, but it is worth it. Quantity surveyors are the key players in construction projects and processes. As a result, the quantity surveyor role is lucrative, with entry-level workers earning around CAD 53,125 and highly experienced professional quantity surveyors making up to CAD 118,950 per year on average.

Usama ChaudryUsama has a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.


The Primus Workforce team is proudly built on hands-on industry knowledge and experience.