I’m a senior quantity surveyor and currently the commercial lead for the LOCROS West project, which will provide step-free access to existing stations as part of the wider Crossrail scheme.
It’s often joked about that quantity surveyors are the “bean-counters” of the construction world, but our role goes far beyond simply putting costs against the scope of works and making sure people are paid.
We make sure the commercial position of a project is managed in accordance with the contract and to the expectations of the business. This includes subcontract procurement, cost forecasting and reporting, change management, identification of risks and opportunities, and payment applications and assessments to name a few.
I also think it’s important to understand that the commercial outcome of a project is the responsibility of the whole team. Therefore, it is vital that we have a strong-working relationship with the operations and design teams, to make sure we support them fully in the advising of our contractual obligations and the commercial implications of project decisions. Therefore our ‘One Murphy’ value is key to our success.
There is so much variety in the construction industry, which requires you to constantly keep learning. While the requirements of our roles will always remain roughly the same, the projects that we carry out are all different to a certain extent. Whether that is through the contractual terms and conditions, the design of the project itself or the teams we work within, every project has its own unique aspects and challenges from a commercial point of view.
Looking back on my career so far, I honestly can’t think of a time that I’ve ever been bored as a quantity surveyor.
I also think there is a variety of people and skills within the industry that you wouldn’t really get elsewhere. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in other elements of the business, and I have met some great people and made lifelong friends.
My family members gave me a push in the right direction. My uncle owned and ran his own construction company and, when I was completing my GCSEs, he suggested I should consider being a Quantity Surveying.
I’ve always been fascinated with building things (albeit it mostly out of Lego) and my first ever dream job was to be a digger driver, so coupled with being a bit of a maths geek at school it seemed like a good option to pursue… I even based my A-Level choices on becoming a quantity surveyor!