Quantity Surveyors versus Building Surveyors

Both professions are wide ranging and highly varied, but Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors are generally involved in different types of works. A Quantity Surveyors work is more concerned with the measurement and costing of construction works – ensuring a project is cost-effective for you, the client. Building surveyors, on the other hand can offer advice on design, construction and more specifically the maintenance and repair of existing buildings. Both professionals come under the wings of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

When might I need a Building Surveyor?

You might employ a Building Surveyor if you own or are purchasing an existing property and want a survey and report on the condition of that building. Surveys on existing buildings can identify structural faults, check the building meets health and safety standards, calculate energy efficiency and assess potential repairs required. A Building Surveyor’s involvement will often happen before any building works or renovation / repair works begin. Their assessments are effectively ensuring that work can go ahead as planned without uncovering nasty surprises due to the condition of the building.

Building Surveyors might involve themselves with issues over boundary disputes and party wall matters. They can also represent landlords or tenants in matters regarding the condition of a building at the start or end of a lease. At the end of a lease they involve themselves in producing or answering to dilapidation reports and might join forces with a QS who can assist in valuing the cost of repairs required.

A Building Surveyor can also get involved in new build works and can advise on designs, structural calculations, and planning permission in a similar way to an architect / architectural technician.

When might I need a Quantity Surveyor?

If you are looking for a professional who will look after the costings and contractual relationships of a project, then you will be looking for a Quantity Surveyor. This could be for a variety of projects, ranging from a simple house extension to a multi-million-pound commercial development.

A Quantity Surveyor gets very much involved with the potential cost of a project, developing achievable budgets and then ensuring a project gets built for a target cost. Within their activities will be the production of estimates for the works, the production of cost control documents, the tendering of works to approved contractors and suppliers, on-site representation, the valuation of interim payments, the agreement of variation values and the agreement of the final cost of the building works. QSs are also often hired to deal with legal and contractual matters between parties involved in the project. See our article ‘What does a QS do?’ for further information.

Both types of surveyor are viewed as key members of a professional team to achieve a successful outcome with your building works.

Midlands Office:
Ridgeway House, 1 High Street, Astwood Bank,
Redditch, Worcestershire, B96 6DB

01527 894514



London Office:
12 Melcombe Place, London, NW1 6JJ

020 3367 1379

Ridgeways Surveyors Limited, Registered Office, Ridgeway House, 1 High Street, Astwood Bank, Redditch, Worcestershire, B96 6DB. Registered in England & Wales. Company No: 9145497