How to Become a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Salary

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 2019-643201

NQF Levels: NQF 4    

SAQA Code:

64409 - National Certificate 

94182   - Occupational Certificate

Quantity Surveyors are responsible for maximizing the value of a construction project. They work closely with their clients and engineers to produce the most favorable outcome at the lowest possible cost.

Also known as building economists, quantity surveyors are members of professional teams that may include architects, engineers, and electrical and mechanical engineers.
Their role is to advise the client on various aspects regarding a particular building project.

A quantity surveyor requires a solid set of skills and qualifications that result from mandatory Quantity Surveyor courses and apprenticeships.
Proper learning and training provide future artisans with essential knowledge of how to evaluate and estimate construction project costs.

Quantity Surveyor jobs in South Africa pay a reliable salary. This specialization comes with essential benefits and good prospects for qualified labourers.

Furthermore, they can apply for quantity surveying positions in a wide variety of sectors, such as government departments, private firms, and many more.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Quantity Surveyor?

Quantity Surveyors must have excellent mathematical and economic assessment skills.
Their troubleshooting abilities and cost control proficiency are vital to completing feasible projects at a low cost.

To work as a Quantity Surveyor, one must have a Matric Grade 9 certificate confirming the completion of the studies period. Some employers may require higher certifications.
Registered operators in this field have to gain their skills and knowledge from short courses and training before they are eligible to earn an entry-level salary.

The job of a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) environment.

To be able to apply for this position, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Bachelor of Quantity Surveying (NQF level 7) 
  • Possess excellent knowledge of mathematics, physical sciences, and accounting.
  • Have a national certificate that shows you have completed Quantity Surveyor courses.

Besides these mandatory qualifications, a Quantity Surveyor must also prove the following traits:

  • Be physically fit to work for long periods.
  • Be willing and able to travel to construction sites.
  • Enjoy doing accurate and precise work.
  • Possess a thorough knowledge of construction costs and requirements.
  • Be willing to work with close deadlines.
  • Have a strong sense of practicality.
  • Have an interest in architecture, finances, the building industry and legal aspects of contracts, finance, and building,

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), having a quantity surveying job also implies these requirements:

  • An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules.
  • Have the mathematical ability and abstract reasoning.
  • A good grasp of codes and calculations supplied by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists.
  • Be scrupulous and reliable.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • A great set of communication skills.
  • Be proficient in speech and writing.

What is a Quantity Surveyor’s Job?

Expert Quantity Surveyors have a broad range of mathematical, accounting, and engineering abilities, which they gain from study and hands-on experience.

Quantity surveyors use their knowledge and skills to estimate the costs of various construction projects. Then, they advise their clients on how to obtain the best possible result for the lowest investment.

Quantity surveying comes with very few occupational hazards and dangers. Most of the time, a quantity surveyor works from the comfort of his or her office. In some cases, they may have to travel to the construction site for better evaluation.

A Quantity Surveyor’s main duties include:

  • Studying blueprints and understanding their specifications.
  • Analyzing construction projects thoroughly.
  • Demonstrate elevated knowledge and abilities in mathematics and accounting
  • Working with complex sketches and requirements from engineers and scientists.
  • Estimating the costs and value for each project.
  • Using computer technology with ease.
  • Assist in the acquisition of materials
  • Work directly with the needed subcontractors. 
  • Travelling to other offices or worksites to gain first-hand information about a project.


After finishing Quantity Surveyor courses and four years as an apprentice, one can begin a career as a drafter in sectors like:

  • Government departments
  • Provincial administrations
  • Municipalities
  • Private firms
  • Private clients
  • Freelancing

How Much Does a Quantity Surveyor Earn in a Year?

A proper set of quantity surveying skills and the obligatory Quantity Surveyor studies can help a professional earn an above-average salary in South Africa.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for Quantity Surveyors is R123.70.
Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R43 and R352 per hour.
In addition, you may also receive a bonus ranging between R8,000 and R48,000 for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first.
However, in time, you can earn an average of R158,000 per year.
The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa is R588k, which is well above the average wage.

How to Work as a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa

South Africa has a broad market for Quantity Surveyor jobs.
There is substantial demand for such professionals in several industries and sectors, with more than 600 listings currently available.
Candidates that meet the mandatory qualifications and expert skills have several directories available to apply for this specialization.

Quantity Surveyor courses give you an in-depth understanding of what this vocation requires.
They help you acquire skills and experience that are impossible to obtain through other learning methods.
By having a certificate that proves you had training in the field, you have an immediate advantage over other candidates for the same job. 

Working as a Quantity Surveyor in South Africa gives you the freedom to pick a field of work from numerous industries and job sites.
Additionally, with enough experience and knowledge, you can start your quantity surveying business and practise the trade privately.