Ever tried building a sandcastle on the beach?
To create a solid sandcastle structure, you’ll need a generous amount of sand and just the right amount of water. Not too little, not too much. Otherwise, your wondrous creation will disintegrate and fall apart.
This concept is pretty much the same for buildings too, from the towering Burj Khalifa and Petronas Twin Towers to your everyday apartment and terrace house.
Someone needs to be responsible for determining how much “sand and water” is required to build them, and most importantly, how much it will cost. After all, buildings don’t come cheap.
That’s where Quantity Surveyors come in.
Interested to know more? Survey this comprehensive guide to find out more about Quantity Surveying in Malaysia.
#1. The Basics of Quantity Surveying
a) What is Quantity Surveying?
Quantity Surveying deals with estimating and managing construction costs to ensure value for money, while meeting the required building standards and quality at the same time.
It plays a pivotal role in every property development project, as each material (bricks, concrete, steel frames, etc.), resource (engineers, contractors, labourers, etc.) and equipment (concrete mixers, piling rigs, tractors, etc.) needs to be accounted for.
A construction project has many moving parts, and costs can easily balloon out of control. Quantity surveyors work out the estimated cost at the start of the project, and continue to keep watch on the costs and monitor cost variations as the project progresses.
#2. Studying a Quantity Surveying Course
a) Entry Requirements & Qualifications
In order to pursue a Quantity Surveying course, you will need to meet the minimum entry requirements set by the colleges / universities. Generally, the requirements are as below:
(i) Diploma in Quantity Surveying
To pursue a Diploma in Quantity Surveying, the requirements that you will have to meet are:
- SPM / O-Level: Minimum 3 credits which include Mathematics. You will also need to obtain at least a pass in Malay Language and English.
A Diploma in Quantity Surveying is usually 2.5 years long where you will be taught the essential knowledge of providing professional quantity surveying services.
Upon completion of your Diploma in Quantity Surveying, you can opt to start working or continue on with a Quantity Surveying Degree.
(ii) Degree in Quantity Surveying
To pursue a Degree in Quantity Surveying, you will naturally have to complete your SPM or any equivalent qualification, AND also complete a Pre-University or a Foundation course first.
The general entry requirements for Quantity Surveying degree are:
- A-Level: Minimum 2Ds; or
- STPM: Minimum 2Cs (or CGPA of 2.00); or
- Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 70.0; or
- Canadian Pre-University: Average of 65% in 6 subjects including Mathematics; or
- Diploma: Minimum CGPA of 2.00 (minimum CGPA of 2.67 for direct entry to Year 2); or
- Foundation in Arts or Built Environment: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
- UEC: Minimum 5Bs including Mathematics
You also need to have a credit in Mathematics at SPM level.
A Degree in Quantity Surveying is typically 3.5 to 4 years long, depending on the institution.
Make sure that your Quantity Surveying Degree is accredited by the Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM) so that you can proceed to pursue a professional career as a Registered Quantity Surveyor in Malaysia.
b) How Does Your Education Pathway Look Like?
After completing your SPM or an equivalent qualification, you will have a choice of taking a Pre-University course (such as A-Level, STPM, etc) or a Foundation course (Foundation in Arts, Foundation in Science or Foundation in Built Environment).
Otherwise, you can also choose to take a Diploma in Quantity Surveying.
Upon completion of your Pre-U qualification, relevant Diploma or Foundation course, you can proceed to a Degree in Quantity Surveying.
Once you’ve successfully graduated with a Quantity Surveying Degree, you can proceed to register yourself as a Registered Graduate Quantity Surveyor with the Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM).
After that, you will be required to seek employment under the supervision of a Registered Quantity Surveyor or a Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) Member / Fellow for a period of 2 years. You will also need to pass a Joint Test of Professional Competence (JTPC), conducted by both BQSM and RISM (Quantity Surveying division), AND a professional interview.
Upon meeting these requirements, you can finally be a Registered Quantity Surveyor in Malaysia. Registering with the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) will also give you a prestigious “Sr” title.
c) What Will You Study in a Quantity Surveying Course?
A course in Quantity Surveying will provide you with the necessary foundation in the economics, laws, technology and management concepts relevant to the construction industry.
You will be taught technical and management skills to enable you to adapt to various project conditions and to solve problems creatively.
Generally, here are some of the subjects that you may take in a Quantity Surveying course:
- Building Materials
- Cost Planning
- Construction Law
- Construction Technology
- Building Services
- Site Surveying
- Project Management
- Financial Management
- Value Management
Most universities also require their Quantity Surveying students to go for Industrial Training to gain more practical skills and industry-relevant experiences to be more professionally competent and employable.
#3. Why Should You Study Quantity Surveying?
Now that you know a little more about Quantity Surveying, are you still unsure whether you should take it up? Here’s why you should!
(a) You have a knack for numbers and math
If you’re fond of numbers, but you’re not too keen on mainstream courses like Accounting, Actuarial Science or Engineering, you may want to give Quantity Surveying a thought, as it’s a course that requires a lot of numerical prowess.
From running cost analyses to making structured estimations, your mastery of mathematical concepts will be a huge advantage for you.
(b) You don’t want jobs that are too rigid
Quantity Surveying is a field that will allow you to break free from the confines of the four office walls. You will get lots of opportunities to visit construction sites and meet different people, from architects and lawyers to engineers and businessmen. You may also get to travel if your employer runs outstation construction projects.
If you like your work schedules to be different every day, then Quantity Surveying is a course that you can consider.
(c) You want an intellectually challenging degree
You will be exposed to a wide range of subjects from various fields, including management, economics, law and finance, on top of building and construction technologies.
You need to be able to think creatively for solutions, but at the same time, you are also bound by the limitations of the various law and finance principles. Strong commitment and discipline in studies are definitely needed in order to perform well in a Quantity Surveying course.
#4. What Skills Do You Need to Study Quantity Surveying?
Here are some key qualities and skills that you will need to develop in order to do well in a Quantity Surveying course in Malaysia.
(a) Good foundation in IT and mathematical concepts
While Quantity Surveying is highly related to cost management in construction projects, it is also an IT-intensive field, relying on various mathematical software and programmes. After all, construction is a complex business, requiring lots of planning, organising and scheduling.
Having a strong grasp of fundamental IT skills and mathematical knowledge will be beneficial for you in a Quantity Surveying course.
(b) Ability to learn and work in a fast-paced environment
As part of this course, you will learn a broad range of subjects, from construction and building technology to business and law principles. Learning fast and efficiently is crucial in order to be able to juggle with such diverse subjects.
Picking up this skill will be important for your career as well. As a quantity surveyor, you can expect to handle several projects from multiple clients, all with their own respective requirements and timelines. You may also find yourself having to pick up detailed knowledge of current and past building technology, processes and legal matters.
(c) Good interpersonal skills
Quantity surveying is not a “lone person industry”. You will need to work with a diverse range of people as part of the construction industry, from architects and contractors to clients and engineers.
To prepare you for this inevitability, group assignments and projects are almost unavoidable in Quantity Surveying courses. It’s important to have good communication and interpersonal skills and that you work well with your coursemates. This includes understanding what others are saying, asking appropriate questions and conveying complex information effectively.
#5. What Career Options Do You Have with a Quantity Surveying Degree?
Once you’ve completed your Quantity Surveying degree, you can generally seek employment with construction companies, engineering consultancy firms, property developers or even local government authorities and agencies.
Generally, here are some of the career options that you can choose to pursue upon completion of a Quantity Surveying course.
- Building Surveyor
- Building Material Manager
- Construction Executive
- Contract Executive
- Cost Manager
- Project Coordinator
- Quantity Surveyor
#6. Where Can You Study Quantity Surveying in Malaysia?
Here are some of the most popular universities that offer Quantity Surveying courses in Malaysia.
Bachelor of Quantity Surveying (Hons)
Campus: Subang Jaya
Intakes: March & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM75,600
Accredited by local and international professional boards that raise the standard of graduates
Teaching and learning strategies that extend beyond the classroom, with exposure to real life scenarios and understanding of industry best practices
Provides in-depth understanding of business and management through relevant course modules
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Quantity Surveying
Intakes: Jan & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM103,280
2nd in UK for Building and Town and Country Planning (Guardian University Guide, 2018)
Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) & Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM)
Teaching involves a mix of lectures, tutorials and practical work
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Quantity Surveying
Campus: Kota Damansara, Selangor
Intakes: Feb, May, Jul, Sep & Oct
Estimated Fees: RM58,125
Theoretical & practical learning experience
Includes a wide range of lessons from project management & financial management to entrepreneurship
Accredited by Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM)
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Quantity Surveying
Campus: Kajang, Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May & Oct
Estimated Fees: RM46,160
Offers multiple scholarships and financial aid that you can apply for
Offers unique study modules, such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Business Strategies
Students undergo 6 months of industrial training in addition to a final year project that integrates all aspects of the programme