Quants Inc. - e-mail: info@quants.ca
Toronto Office: 533 Queen St. E, M5A 1V1  |  (+1) 416-850-5856
Kingston Office: 84 Willowbank Rd. K7G 2V5  |  (+1) 613-777-8078
Alberta Telephone Contact:  |  (+1) 780-800-5856

What Is A Quantity Surveyor?

To many Canadians the term "Quantity Surveyor" means very little, so here we aim to explain a little more about this profession.  Firstly what the two largest Institutes in Canada say...

The CIQS (The Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors) : "A Professional Quantity Surveyor has a detailed and comprehensive knowledge of construction and construction methods, as well as the laws relating to construction projects and accounting, in order to provide cost and financial advice."

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors): "A Quantity Surveyor is an expert in the art of costing a building at all its stages."


Quantity surveying originated in the UK and its roots can be traced back to the 19th century when professionals were employed to prepare bills of quantities (a schedule of the materials and labour etc. required to construct a project) enabling contractors to tender on a uniform set of measurements.


These days the profession has developed greatly and can encompass a whole variety of tasks. The scopes of responsibility can very generally be divided into two areas of work:
  • The client quantity surveyor (often known in the UK as a PQS) who looks after (for instance) the end users interests, and
  • The contractors quantity surveyor (often known as a commercial manager) who represents lead contractors and/or subcontractors.

The Client Quantity Surveyor

The client quantity surveyor's involvement in a project would commence at a very early stage when they would prepare budgets and cost plans for proposed schemes. They may be involved in value engineering, whole life cycle costing, risk analysis etc. until the scheme is ready to tender.

They would then be closely involved with procurement, letting the work to a contractor, preparing interim valuations for payment and measuring change. Finally, they would prepare and settle the final account and resolve any contractual claims.

The Contractors Quantity Surveyor

The contractors QS is often referred to as a commercial manager and, whilst having some functions similar to that of the client quantity surveyor has a completely different focus.  See the "commercial management" page for more information.