FIG Guidance on Professional  Competencies for Quantity Surveyors / Construction Economists / Cost Engineers

FIG Commission 10


Author: SeeLian Ong, Chair of FIG Commission 10 2015-2018


This publication as a .pdf-file (60 pages - 0,8 Mb)


The construction industry remains one of the most important engine of growth in both the developed and developing economies. Over the next 7 years the global construction industry will grow from USD 7.2 trillion to over USD 12 trillion.

Construction industry in developing or emerging economies is set to increase by 110% and infrastructure construction by 128%. With this rapid growth the global construction industry presents many opportunities but also has a number of challenges.

The role of Quantity Surveyors, or Cost Engineers or Construction Economists is becoming important to ensure that the project cost are measured and monitored professionally to ensure value for money for the stakeholders.

It is with this in mind that Commission 10 of FIG has developed and publish a this Guidance for Professional Competencies for Quantity Surveyors / Cost Engineers / Construction Economists. It is the object of this Guidance to help us to train these professionals so that they have the right competencies to undertake the tasks given to them. The Guidance can also be used by institutions of higher learning to develop programme or courses at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

I wish to congratulate Commission 10 for this initiative and I hope you will find this Guidance helpful in your area of work.

Chryssy Potsiou FIG President (2015-2018)


The professionals involved in the measurement and management of construction costs are called by different names in different countries. In the UK and most Commonwealth countries they are called Quantity Surveyors (QS), whilst those in Continental Europe they are called Construction Economists (CE) and in Northern America they are called Cost Engineers (CEgr).

QS/CE/CEgr are the cost managers of construction. They are initially involved with the capital expenditure phase of a building or facility, which is the feasibility, design and construction phases, but they can also be involved with the extension, refurbishment, maintenance and demolition of a facility. QS/CE/ CEgr work in all sectors of the construction industry worldwide such as buildings, infrastructure as well as process engineering plants. They must understand all aspects of construction over the whole life of a building or facility. They must have the ability to manage cost effectively, equating quality and value with individual client needs.

As construction industry is now a global industry it is important that professionals in the industry working across the globe should have a consistent standard of competencies which in turn provide confidence to their employers or clients.

Dr. See-Lian Ong Chair, Commission 10 (2015-2018)


This Guide aims to assist in the assessment of the competencies of QS/CE/CEgr. These competencies are not just a list of tasks or functions, they are also based upon attitudes and behaviours.

The competencies have been drawn up in a generic way so that they can be applied to different areas of practice and geographical locations. This Guide is designed to help you interpret these competencies within the context of construction industry in your chosen area of work.

The competencies are defined at three levels of attainment and the candidate must achieve specific combination of competencies at the appropriate level. The candidate must reach the required level in a logical progression and in successive stages:

  •  Level 1 – knowledge and understanding
  • Level 2 – application of knowledge and understanding
  • Level 3 – reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge

The competencies are in three distinct categories:

  • Mandatory competencies – the personal, interpersonal, professional practice and business competencies; and
  • Core competencies – the primary competencies of your chosen scope or area of training.
  • Optional competencies – a set of competencies selected by the candidate from a list defined for the particular scope or area of training. In most cases there is an element of choice. These are mostly technical competencies, but certain mandatory competencies also appear on the optional competency list and candidates are permitted to select one of these at a higher level.


This Guide is designed to help the candidate to understand more about qualifying as a QS/CE/CEgr. It is appreciated that markets may vary from country to country. If you have any queries please contact your local surveying institutions. This guidance includes supplemental guidance which is set out in three sections.

  •  Section one – Profile of newly qualified QS/CE/CEgr.
  • Section two – Selecting optional competencies.
  • Section three – Study check list. NOTE: In the case of doubt the competency definitions in this Guide will always take priority.

 Read the full FIG Publication 71 in pdf

Author: SeeLian Ong

Copyright © The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), May 2018.

All rights reserved.

International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Kalvebod Brygge 31–33
DK-1780 Copenhagen V
Tel. + 45 38 86 10 81

Published in English
Copenhagen, Denmark
ISSN 1018-6530 (printed)
ISSN 2311-8423 (pdf)
ISBN 978-87-92853-76-9 (printed)
ISBN 978-87-92853-77-6 (pdf)

Published by
International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Layout: Lagarto


FIG Guidance on Professional Competencies
for Quantity Surveyors / Construction Economists / Cost Engineers
FIG Commission 10
Published in English
Published by The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), May 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark
ISSN 1018-6530 (printed)
ISSN 2311-8423 (pdf)
ISBN 978-87-92853-76-9 (printed)
ISBN 978-87-92853-77-6 (pdf)