What is quantity surveying?

Yes, I’ve been watching Monty Python. The bookshop sketch is the only place I’ve ever seen it outside of my web searches. Google drags up a whole passle of people who think quantity surveying is something worth going to college to pursue, but none of them seem to want to define it. None of the dictionary sites have been of any help, either.

So, what is quantity surveying? I promise I won’t make aardvark jokes.

It’s what an American would call a realtor, I think. Basically surveying property and putting a value on it.

Monty Python? I thought you’d been watching Fry & Laurie. But apparently a QS is a sort of cost estimator/controller in the construction industry: cite

Realtors do no surveying. Surveyors do surveying (as in “get out the tools and demarcate the property according to state and local laws, said demarcation to be the legal definition of that plot of land”). Appraisers do appraisals (as in “take a look at the thing and guess at what it would reasonably sell for”). Realtors handle sales (as in “overstate positive aspects and try to pretend that no negative aspects exist”).

A quantity surveyor is neither a realtor nor a surveyor in the sense Dogface describes. Usram’s cite gives a good basic definition.

Quantity surveyors calculate the likely costs involved in a construction project based on drawings and other information supplied to them by architects and structural engineers, and then monitor the building project to demonstrate to the client (i.e the person paying for it) that money isn’t being wasted along the way.

Thank you! I’m finally satisfied about what exactly a quantity surveyor does.

everton: In monitoring the project, does that include some things an accountant or bookkeeper would do, or is it above the hurlyburly of small-level transactional finance? It sounds like a rather involved job, in any case.

It’s a long time since I had first hand experience, but as I recall the accountant would be appointed separately. They’re similar jobs but not the same.

They do all look like Arthur Pewty though, which is all you really need to know.