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Insights How to progress from a quantity surveyor to a commercial manager

Career progression for a quantity surveyor can be prosperous, but it requires hard work. The route into quantity surveying requires either a degree from university or if you are already working in the construction industry it may be possible to use your knowledge and experience to make a career change and train on the job.

Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, have had an active presence in the Middle East for over fifty years, blending our in-depth knowledge of the region with a unique ability to draw upon global resources. We employ skilled quantity surveyors, engineers, architects, and project managers, amongst other crucial roles, using our expertise to deliver large and complex projects and providing our colleagues with continuous opportunities to learn, grow and progress through the business. At AtkinsRéalis , we support our quantity surveyors on their quest to becoming commercial managers by offering a portfolio of training and development courses designed to help make the best of their abilities and talents.

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What does a quantity surveyor do?

Quantity surveyors are involved at every stage of a project and are skilled in maths, analytical thinking, and stakeholder relations. This is key as clients rely on quantity surveyors to communicate at every stage and ensure that the delivered project is value for money.

The role of a quantity surveyor is varied but at its core involves estimating and controlling costs for large and complex construction projects, and ensuring that every aspect meets legal and quality standards. Responsibilities grow as roles progress, but starting as a graduate quantity surveyor, you may be accountable for assisting your supervisor in estimating costs, quantities, and project timelines. Alternatively, as a senior quantity surveyor, tasks may include value engineering, cash flow forecasts and tender services, assigning work to subcontractors and submitting regular budget reports. At any stage of a quantity surveying career, there are a variety of tasks that will engage you and ensure you’re constantly learning in order to progress.

What does a commercial manager do?

The responsibility of a commercial manager is significantly greater than that of a quantity surveyor. Before a project even commences, commercial managers support the bidding process including the review of terms and conditions, risk assessment and negotiation. Once the project has begun, they oversee the financial management, which involves controlling budgets and any costs involved in construction activities. They are also required to negotiate agreements and contracts with contractors, suppliers, and clients to ensure costs are kept within budget.

Commercial managers use their extensive knowledge and professional experience to develop and operate strategies to maximise project revenues and cash flow. They agree and deliver an effective commercial management strategy with the project and client teams and assist colleagues with advice and contractual support for project issues.

How can you make the leap from quantity surveyor to commercial manager?

Working your way from quantity surveyor up to commercial manager is no easy feat, but it is a rewarding achievement once you get there. You will need to show commitment, apply innovative ideas, and ultimately gain expertise over numerous years to reach your goal.

Management skills are essential, as it is likely you will be overseeing a diverse team who you will communicate with regularly. Additionally, you will need extensive experience working on contracts, including JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) for construction and NEC (New Engineering Contract) for infrastructure. It is also important to keep on top of and incorporate important global advancements such as sustainability and the drive to Net Carbon Zero, and what this means commercially for an individual project.

At AtkinsRéalis , we have a wide range of upcoming opportunities in the Middle East to grow your skills and expertise. Last year, for example, we were awarded the lead design consultant services contract as part of the Six Flags Qiddiya mega project. Our commercial team will collaborate with architects, builders, and engineers to ensure the project is financially efficient and low risk.

Immeasurable quantity surveying opportunities at AtkinsRéalis

Are you looking for a rewarding and successful career in the Middle East? We’re looking to grow our teams and you may find an exciting quantity surveying opportunity with us.

If you’re ready for your next big project, find out how you can build your quantity surveying career in Saudi Arabia or browse our available quantity surveying and commercial management roles today.