4 Skills Every Graduate Quantity Surveyor Should Master

  • August 20, 2023

4 Skills Every Graduate Quantity Surveyor Should Master

The construction sector in Ireland is vast, and its complexities require professionals who not only have a deep understanding of cost management and contract law but are also equipped with a multitude of other skills. As the industry grows and adapts to new technologies and methodologies, the expectations from a graduate quantity surveyor also rise.

Being a successful graduate quantity surveyor in today’s market means possessing a diverse skill set, encompassing both technical and interpersonal skills. These skills are the key differentiators in the highly competitive field, especially for those who are just embarking on their careers.

Thus, it becomes imperative for every aspiring graduate quantity surveyor to recognise the importance of honing specific skills. These skills not only facilitate a smoother transition from academia to the professional world but also set the foundation for a successful and prosperous career in quantity surveying.

1. Academic Foundations

Academic Foundations in Ireland

Ireland has a strong reputation for offering some of the world’s best academic programs in the field of quantity surveying. As a graduate quantity surveyor, the academic foundation forms the bedrock of one’s career, acting as the launchpad from which they’ll apply theoretical concepts to tangible projects.

Academic Requirements for a Graduate Quantity Surveyor:

Before delving into the practicalities of the profession, it’s essential to understand the academic prerequisites. Most employers in Ireland look for a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying or a related field from an accredited institution. Some universities also offer specialised modules that focus on areas like construction economics or contract law, which can provide an edge for the graduate quantity surveyor. For those with degrees in unrelated fields, postgraduate conversion courses are available to bridge the gap.

Blending Classroom Learning with Real-world Applications:

While academia equips a graduate quantity surveyor with essential theoretical knowledge, the real challenge often lies in translating this theory into practice. In the construction and property world, classroom concepts about cost estimation, contract management, and risk assessment frequently intersect with real-world scenarios.

For instance, a graduate quantity surveyor might have studied various methods of cost estimation in university. In a professional setting, they’d be required to apply these methodologies, tailoring them to the specific needs of individual projects. This might involve considering unique site conditions, materials availability, and even economic fluctuations.

Thus, the ability of a graduate quantity surveyor to juxtapose academic teachings with on-the-ground realities is paramount. The successful integration of these two realms not only helps in delivering accurate project outcomes but also establishes the graduate quantity surveyor as a valuable asset in the construction landscape of Ireland.

2. Technical Skills

Technical Skills

For any graduate quantity surveyor looking to excel in Ireland’s dynamic property and construction landscape, technical prowess is non-negotiable. As the industry evolves, so does the complexity of the projects, pushing professionals to stay updated with the latest tools, technologies, and practices. Let’s delve into the three primary technical skills every graduate quantity surveyor should focus on:

a. Cost Estimation and Analysis:

Estimation forms the backbone of the quantity surveying profession. As a graduate quantity surveyor, understanding the nuances of construction costs is essential. This involves:

  • Breaking Down Complex Projects: Analyzing architectural drawings and building plans to estimate materials, time, labour, and other associated costs.
  • Risk Analysis: Identifying potential areas of overspending or unforeseen costs, thereby enabling better budgeting and financial forecasting.
  • Value Engineering: A crucial skill where the graduate quantity surveyor offers insights into alternative methods or materials that can provide similar outcomes at reduced costs.

b. Contractual Knowledge:

Ireland’s property industry operates under a diverse array of contracts, each with its terms and intricacies. For a graduate quantity surveyor:

  • Understanding Contract Types: Familiarising yourself with standard contracts like JCT, NEC, and FIDIC can provide a head start.
  • Terms & Conditions: Every contract will have specific clauses, penalties, and conditions. Grasping these ensures that both parties (client and contractor) fulfil their obligations, reducing disputes.
  • Negotiation Skills: While not entirely a technical skill, the ability to negotiate favourable terms, especially concerning costs and deadlines, is a prized asset for any graduate quantity surveyor.

c. Software Proficiency:

The modern graduate quantity surveyor needs to be adept at various software tools to enhance efficiency and accuracy.

  • CATO: A favourite among quantity surveyors, CATO assists with cost planning, bill production, and lifecycle costing.
  • CostX: This software stands out for its ability to support quick and accurate quantity take-offs from electronic drawings.
  • BIM (Building Information Modelling): While not strictly software, understanding BIM is essential. Platforms like Revit help quantity surveyors in creating and managing 3D digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of places.

While academic foundations lay the groundwork for a graduate quantity surveyor, it’s the technical skills that differentiate an average professional from an exceptional one. By honing these technical competencies, graduate quantity surveyor not only positions themselves as an industry expert but also ensures that they are prepared for the evolving challenges of Ireland’s property sector.

3. Soft Skills

Soft Skills for Graduate Quantity Surveyors

In the realm of construction and property, while technical expertise is undeniably crucial, soft skills are equally indispensable. They bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical execution. For a graduate quantity surveyor, possessing a harmonious blend of both technical and soft skills can significantly enhance professional effectiveness. Here’s a closer examination of the pivotal soft skills every graduate quantity surveyor should master:

a. Communication:

The construction and property sectors are collaborative by nature. Thus, the ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and effectively is paramount for a graduate quantity surveyor. Key aspects include:

  • Bridging the Gap: Acting as an intermediary between contractors, clients, and other stakeholders, a graduate quantity surveyor must ensure seamless understanding among all parties involved.
  • Presentation Skills: Often, you’ll be required to present findings, cost analyses, and recommendations to both technical and non-technical audiences. The capability to adapt your communication style is essential.
  • Written Proficiency: From drafting reports to penning down contractual clauses, written communication forms a significant chunk of a graduate quantity surveyor’s job.

b. Problem-solving and Critical Thinking:

The unpredictable nature of construction projects ensures that challenges are a given. A graduate quantity surveyor’s value often shines through their response to these challenges.

  • Analytical Mindset: Being able to dissect a problem, understand its roots, and derive practical solutions is a skill that stands a graduate quantity surveyor in good stead.
  • Informed Decision Making: Leveraging past experiences, industry insights, and data-driven analytics ensures that decisions are well-informed and beneficial for the project.
  • Adaptability: The construction environment is fluid. A successful graduate quantity surveyor is always ready to adapt, evolve, and approach problems from multiple angles.

c. Negotiation:

While this skill slightly overlaps with the technical side (especially in contractual scenarios), its importance can’t be overstated for a graduate quantity surveyor.

  • Win-win Situations: Effective negotiation isn’t about winning but ensuring that all parties involved perceive value. This can lead to long-lasting business relationships.
  • Conflict Resolution: A natural byproduct of the construction and property sectors is disputed. A graduate quantity surveyor with proficient negotiation skills can mediate and resolve these conflicts efficiently.
  • Strategic Approach: Understanding the needs, wants, and limitations of every party involved allow a graduate quantity surveyor to secure terms that are both favourable and realistic.

While a graduate quantity surveyor may be equipped with the best technical knowledge, it’s the soft skills that often dictate the smoothness of execution, stakeholder satisfaction, and the overall success of a project. These skills not only foster professional growth but also cultivate strong, trust-filled relationships in the industry.

4. Professional Development and Continuous Learning

Professional Development and Continuous Learning

In the rapidly transforming world of property and construction, stagnation equates to obsolescence. As structures get more sophisticated, tools more advanced, and stakeholder expectations continually rise, there’s an intrinsic demand for professionals in the industry to evolve in tandem. For a graduate quantity surveyor in Ireland, the journey doesn’t end at graduation; it merely begins.

a. The Evolving Landscape of Property and Construction:

Ireland’s property and construction sectors are influenced by an amalgamation of factors, including technological advancements, changing regulatory frameworks, and shifting socio-economic dynamics. As cities expand and infrastructure requirements become more intricate:

  • Sustainability Focus: With the world gravitating towards sustainability, there’s an escalating demand for green construction techniques and eco-friendly materials. A graduate quantity surveyor should be cognizant of these shifts.
  • Digital Revolution: From Building Information Modelling (BIM) to AI-driven analytics, digital transformations are redefining how projects are planned, executed, and monitored.

b. The Imperative of Staying Updated:

With the foundation of the industry experiencing tectonic shifts, a graduate quantity surveyor must ensure they remain abreast with the following:

  • Latest Tools and Software: As technology forges ahead, tools that were considered cutting-edge a few years ago might now be outdated. Familiarity with the latest software is paramount.
  • Industry Best Practices: Benchmarking against the best can provide invaluable insights into areas of improvement and refinement.
  • Regulatory Changes: Ireland’s construction industry is heavily regulated, and these regulations undergo periodic revisions. Staying compliant is not just a necessity but a professional responsibility.

c. Paths to Continued Professional Development:

  • Courses: Institutions such as the Dublin Institute of Technology and University College Dublin offer specialised postgraduate programs tailored for quantity surveyors.
  • Workshops and Seminars: Engage in hands-on workshops, often conducted by industry experts, focusing on the latest tools and practices.
  • Certifications: In Ireland, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) is a notable body offering relevant certifications for quantity surveyors. Being a member and earning certifications from SCSI can elevate a graduate quantity surveyor’s professional standing.
  • Industry Journals and Publications: Consider subscribing to renowned Irish construction and property journals to stay updated with industry happenings.

In essence, the industry’s dynamic nature demands a graduate quantity surveyor to embrace a philosophy of perpetual learning. In doing so, they not only enrich their own career trajectories but also contribute constructively to the broader industry narrative.


As we navigate through the intricate tapestry of the property and construction world, it’s evident that thriving in a graduate quantity surveyor role isn’t solely hinged on possessing a robust academic foundation. While understanding the technical facets of the job is indispensable, intertwining this with refined soft skills creates a formidable professional.

Clear communication, astute problem-solving, and shrewd negotiation abilities amplify a surveyor’s efficacy, enabling them to harmonise seamlessly with diverse stakeholders and navigate complex project dynamics.

How Necto Selection Can Help

How Necto Selection Can Help?

Yet, even with an impeccable skill set, the journey from graduation to landing that dream role can be convoluted. This is where Necto Selection steps in. As specialists in the realm of recruitment, we understand the nuanced requirements of the construction and property industry in Ireland. We’re committed to not only identifying potential talents but also meticulously aligning them with roles that match their aspirations, skills, and potential.

For every graduate quantity surveyor out there, remember the blend of the right skills, continuous learning, and the perfect opportunity can set the trajectory for an illustrious career. And with partners like Necto Selection by your side, that trajectory is poised to soar ever upwards.

Connecting candidates with the right employers first time, every time.