Field Notes

Insights and advice from the construction field.

How Does a Quantity Surveyor Help Achieve Sustainable Construction Goals?

Surveyor builder Engineer with theodolite transit equipment at construction site

Quantity surveying manages costs, resources, and environmental impact throughout a construction project. A quantity surveyor uses their cost estimation, cost control, and procurement skills to balance the financial aspects and environmental considerations of a construction project. These activities help achieve sustainable construction goals.

Quantity Surveyor Skills for Sustainable Construction

A quantity surveyor has four main duties to help achieve sustainable construction goals:

Cost estimation

A quantity surveyor considers the long-term costs involving sustainable materials, energy-efficiency technologies, and environmentally friendly practices. Including these factors in cost estimation provides a comprehensive understanding of the financial impact of sustainable construction methods.

Cost control

A quantity surveyor monitors construction project costs, finds potential cost-reducing opportunities, and ensures the sustainable practices used keep the project within the budget. They work with the project team to analyze alternative materials, technologies, and options to balance cost-effectiveness and environmental impact.


A quantity surveyor influences which sustainable materials, products, and suppliers are used to minimize the environmental footprint of a construction project. They consider lifestyle costs and environmental credentials to help select environmentally responsible options in line with sustainable construction goals.

Risk management

A quantity surveyor identifies, assesses, and minimizes regulatory compliance, technological uncertainties, environmental impacts, and other risks. They consider environmental risks and their financial implications, then make informed decisions to protect the construction project’s sustainability goals.

How Quantity Surveying Balances Cost and Environmental Impact

A quantity surveyor uses lifecycle costing to consider the capital costs and operational costs of a project from construction, operation, and maintenance to demolition or disposal. This process involves multiple steps:

  • Comprehensive cost evaluation: Create a holistic view of project costs to assess the financial implications of sustainable processes.
  • Cost-saving opportunities: Evaluate alternatives and choose options that balance cost-effectiveness and environmental impact.
  • Value for money: Ensure the selected construction options provide value for money throughout the project’s lifespan.
  • Decision support: Quantify the financial benefits of sustainable options to make decisions that balance cost and environmental impact.

Sustainable Cost Estimation and Procurement

A quantity surveyor considers the following factors to include sustainability in cost estimation:

  • Sustainable material costs: Research and analyze the durability, maintenance requirements, and lifecycle costs of sustainable materials to understand the financial implications of sustainable choices.
  • Energy efficiency and operational costs: Assess the energy efficiency features of a building’s insulation, HVAC systems, lighting, and other design elements to consider the long-term energy consumption and related costs.
  • Waste management and disposal costs: Consider recycling, waste removal, landfill fees, and other waste management costs when estimating project costs.
  • Maintenance and lifecycle costs: Analyze maintenance requirements and lifespans of sustainable materials and technologies to show the long-term financial benefits of sustainable construction.

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