Construction industry career opportunities

Professional quantity surveying and construction management

A career path in professional quantity surveying or construction management offers fulfilling and rewarding opportunities – immediately and in the future. In summary:

  1.  Massey University, Albany is the only university (among eight) in New Zealand offering the Bachelors degree in construction. The degree offers a balanced educational experience covering quantitative science courses such as construction technology, finance, cost estimating, and computing and qualitative courses such as construction law, economics, and management.

  2. There is great demand – over $100 billion construction work (covering both building and infrastructure work) to be done in New Zealand alone over the next 30 years. Demand in many countries beyond New Zealand is even bigger.

  3. There are multiple career opportunities in wide ranging organisations such as professional quantity surveying practices, contracting organisations, specialist subcontracting organisations, large corporations, government, and academia - within New Zealand and abroad.

  4. There are multiple choices of working lifestyles – office based, site based, or a combination of both.

  5. There are multiple and diverse areas quantity surveyors can become further specialized beyond traditional quantity surveying during their mid-career stage in areas such as construction project management, construction dispute resolution including adjudication and arbitration, insurance loss-adjusting, banking and project financing, civil engineering quantity surveying, and oil and gas quantity surveying. This progression may come through either accumulated specialized experience or through structured training such as through the Massey University Master of Construction degree with specializations in Construction Project Management, Quantity Surveying, or Construction Law.

In short, doing a degree in construction with either construction management major or quantity surveying major offers huge potential.

Massive growth and demand in the construction industry

The construction industry is a significant contributor to any country’s economy. It is often used as a catalyst industry to spur further economic growth because it has a ‘multiplier’ or knock-on effect on the rest of the economy.

The New Zealand construction industry is likely to face acute shortages. Consider the following:

  1. In Auckland alone there have been suggestions that with the estimated population growth of close to a further million people, another 300,000 new homes need to be built. Assuming each new house costs $300,000.00 to build, that translates to $90 billion worth of work.

  2. We then have to add to that the costs of the new convention centre at Sky City, the rail links proposed for Auckland, a second harbor crossing (tunnel or bridge), expansion of the dedicated northern bus way, additional commercial projects (shopping and offices) to cater for the additional population, additional recreational projects including the new pool at North Harbour stadium and the AUT-Millenium Institute of Sports and Health expansions including another Olympic-size pool, the need to work out costs of construction for insurance valuation purposes, the need to strengthen buildings that do not comply with minimum earthquake requirements, and the extensive rectification of leaky buildings around Auckland.

  3. Then, going beyond Auckland, we need to add the costs of construction work projected to grow in Hamilton, Wellington post earthquake repairs, and the major Christchurch rebuild.

  4. In short, there is massive work to be done in the construction industry, and there is high demand at all levels of work in the construction industry – ranging from construction tradespeople to construction professionals. Massey University focuses on providing formal educational qualifications to produce construction professionals.

What is quantity surveying?

In any construction project (whether a building or civil engineering project) you would have a number of construction professionals involved in the project.

For building projects you may typically have the architects, civil and structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, and quantity surveyors. For major civil engineering projects you would have the civil engineers and quantity surveyors.

The architects and engineers are involved in designing these projects – making sure the design is aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound.

The quantity surveyor is the financial expert of the whole project – preparing the feasibility studies, quantifying and measuring what is to be built from hard copy drawings or drawings in soft copy on computers and estimating how much it will cost, preparing budgets, preparing the tender documents to procure contractors or builders, preparing the contract, advising on all the legal aspects throughout the construction stages of the project, valuing the work done progressively and advising the client on how much should be paid to the builder progressively and finalizing the final accounts. The construction manager manages the whole construction project.

In order to do all the professional functions, the quantity surveyor must be educated to a high standard in a number of areas that may be clustered into 4 main areas:

  1. Construction technology,
  2. Cost and financial aspects of construction,
  3. Legal aspects of construction projects, and
  4. Management of construction projects.

Some quantity surveyors, after qualifying as a professional quantity surveyor, move on to other specialist areas such as the following:

  1. Construction project management consultancy,
  2. Property development,
  3. Construction dispute resolution including mediation, adjudication, and arbitration,
  4. Construction contract administration and claims management
  5. Insurance loss adjusting,
  6. Banks and financial institution services such as project financing,
  7. Quantity surveying work for civil engineering projects such as railways, highways, bridges, and dams, or
  8. Quantity surveying work in the oil and gas sector.

Quantity surveyors may become specialists either through experience or expedite the process by doing a Masters degree such as the Massey University Master of Construction degree.

For admission enquiries and an enrolment package call 0800 Massey (0800 627 739) or visit

If you want to speak to a real person about the Bachelor of Construction degree programme details contact:

Dr Jasper Mbachu
Senior Lecturer
School of Engineering & Advanced Technology
Phone: +64 9 414 0800 ext 41573

If you want to know about career opportunities in quantity surveying and construction management generally or the Master of Construction degree, contact:

Naseem Ameer Ali
Senior Lecturer in Quantity Surveying
School of Engineering & Advanced Technology
Phone: +64 9 414 0800 ext 41123
Mobile: +64 21 260 2520

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