Cost Engineer vs Quantity Surveyor

If you work in the construction industry, you may have come across two job titles: cost engineer and quantity surveyor. These roles are often confused with one another; however, there are significant differences between the roles of a cost engineer and a quantity surveyor.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the differences between these two jobs so that you can better understand each position’s responsibilities and decide which role best suits your career goals.

Read on to learn more about how a cost engineer differs from a quantity surveyor!

A Comparison of Cost Engineers and Quantity Surveyors in the Construction Industry:

When it comes to construction, cost and quantity are two important elements that must be accurately estimated in order for a project to remain on budget. So, how do cost engineers and quantity surveyors fit into the equation?

In short, a cost engineer is responsible for predicting the total cost of a project by utilizing their engineering and financial knowledge. On the other hand, a quantity surveyor overseas contractual negotiations between contractors and suppliers to ensure that all construction materials are properly supplied and accounted for.

Although both roles have the same overall goal of keeping a project within budget, they each require different skills and knowledge. To help you better understand the differences between cost engineers and quantity surveyors, here is an in depth comparison of their responsibilities:

Cost Engineer vs Quantity Surveyor:

Cost Engineers:

Cost engineers are responsible for:

  • Creating cost estimates and budgets for construction projects
  • Analyzing labor, material, and equipment costs to identify ways to reduce project expenses
  • Developing strategies for controlling costs during a project
  • Collecting data on past projects to create more accurate cost estimates in the future
  • Monitoring the project to ensure it remains within budget

Quantity Surveyors:

Quantity surveyors are responsible for the following:

  • Researching and assessing different construction materials and suppliers in order to get the best deals on materials
  • Negotiating contracts between suppliers and contractors
  • Keeping track of all material orders throughout a project
  • Ensuring that all contractual agreements are adhered to
  • Auditing materials received at the site to confirm accuracy and quality

Salary Expectations for Cost Engineers vs Quantity Surveyors:

The salaries of cost engineers and quantity surveyors can vary depending on experience, location, and the specific job role. Generally speaking, cost engineers tend to make more than quantity surveyors due to their higher level of expertise in engineering and financial planning.

Cost engineers typically earn an average salary of around $60,000 per year, while quantity surveyors tend to make slightly less at approximately $50,000 per year. However, both roles offer excellent job stability and opportunities for advancement in their respective fields. It is also possible to move between the two roles depending on experience and qualifications.

Some cost engineers and quantity surveyors also choose to specialize in certain aspects of construction management, such as cost estimation or contracts. Specialists tend to make more money than generalists since they are more knowledgeable in their chosen field. It is important to note, however, that specialists may be less flexible when it comes to job opportunities. For example, a specialist in cost estimation may not be able to move into a quantity surveyor role.

Tips on How to Find the Right Cost Engineer or Quantity Surveyor for Your Project:

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect cost engineer or quantity surveyor for your project:

  • Research potential candidates online and check their qualifications and experience. It’s important to make sure they have the necessary skills and expertise for your particular project.
  • Interview potential candidates in person or via video call. Ask about their past projects and experiences to get a better understanding of their capabilities.
  • Check references from previous employers and customers to ensure that the candidate is reliable and trustworthy.
  • Make sure you are clear about your project needs and expectations. Be sure to discuss timelines, budgets, and other important details before making a final decision.
  • When you have found the right candidate for your project, be sure to explain the job in detail and provide a thorough job description.
  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of the cost engineer or quantity surveyor’s responsibilities and expectations before agreeing.
  • Finally, agree on a competitive salary that reflects their experience and qualifications.

Knowing the difference between cost engineers and quantity surveyors is key when it comes to choosing the right professionals for your construction project. With these tips, you can ensure that your project is well planned and within budget.


When it comes to the construction industry, cost engineers and quantity surveyors are two roles that are essential to keeping a project within budget. Cost engineers focus on the financial side of a project while quantity surveyors ensure all materials are ordered correctly and arrive on time. Both positions require different skill sets and offer excellent salaries and job stability.

For more information on the differences between cost engineers and quantity surveyors, contact our Takeoffsconstruction team of experts today. We’d be happy to help you answer any questions you may have!

You Can Also Read:

Construction Cost Estimating Everything You Need to Know

Construction Cost Estimation Importance in Project and Bid Management

6 Phases Of The Construction Process