If you’re considering a career in Quantity Surveying, it’s essential to understand the differences between working for a Consultancy and a Contractor.

Consultancy Quantity Surveyors (or PQS) are responsible for cost control for the client, while Contractor Quantity Surveyors are focused on staying within budget and maximizing profits for the contractor. To better understand the roles, it’s crucial to look at the project life cycle:

  1. A client determines they need a project and establishes requirements, budget, and timeline.
  2. A Consultancy or PQS advises the client on design and project costs, and works with the design team to create a project budget.
  3. The PQS prepares a tender enquiry package, and contractors submit bids for the project. The PQS reviews all tenders and makes a recommendation to the client on the best contractor.
  4. The Contractor who wins the project carries out the construction work, ensuring quality and timely completion.

The PQS Quantity Surveyor is responsible for controlling costs on the project, including cost planning, value engineering, feasibility studies, and cost estimation. On the other hand, Contractor Quantity Surveyors focus on maximizing cash flow and ensuring the project stays within budget, managing subcontractors and assessing issues on-site.

While the roles and responsibilities differ, it’s possible to switch between the two in the early stages of your career. However, as you become more established, it becomes harder to switch disciplines. Understanding these differences is crucial in determining which career path is best for you.

If you enjoy working with clients and providing advice on design and project costs, then working for a Consultancy as a PQS may be the best fit for you. Alternatively, if you enjoy managing finances and maximizing profits, then working for a Contractor as a Quantity Surveyor may be the best option.

So, consider your strengths, interests, and career goals when deciding which path to pursue in Quantity Surveying. By doing so, you can set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling career in this exciting field.