A Brief History of Quantity Surveying

It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used a system of quantity surveying but it was not until the 17th century restoration of London after the Great Fire that Quantity Surveyors developed as an occupation.

Although Quantity Surveyors were probably active in Australia from our earliest settlement, it was not until 1853 that the first firm date is recorded when Mr C E Moyes advertised in the Port Phillip Directory "Builders supplied with quantities of any contract they may wish to tender for". From 1859 till the 1890s depression, Quantity Surveyors were highly active in the building industry in both public and private sector in Victoria. In New South Wales, Evans and A W W Pate opened a Sydney based partnership in 1892. Pate moved to Perth between 1904 and 1908.

John Anderson Wood of Melbourne opened an office in Sydney in 1908 and helped form the first recorded QS professional body in Australia the Quantity Surveyors Association of NSW with a membership of nine.

Blackburn and Whyte (a Melbourne based firm) were established in Queensland in 1910 and an Institute of seven members was formed in 1933.

An Institute was formed in Western Australia some time before 1930 and it was not until 1948 that South Australia formed an Institute (although Harry Farrar and Co were operating as Quantity Surveyors in 1879). Some time prior to 1927, Norman Newton established a QS office in Canberra.

In the 1940's and 50's state Institutes were developed separately but in 1951 the first national QS organisation was formed - The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.However, the existing state Institutes led by Queensland formed a separate national body called the Institute of Quantity Surveyors (Aust) in 1953.

By 1971 it was agreed to merge the two national Institutes and incorporate as a limited guarantee company called the AIQS Limited. Approval was later obtained to omit Limited from the common use title. The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors remains the professional association representing Quantity Surveyors, Construction Economists, Cost Managers, Estimators, Schedulers, Value Managers and Development Managers. 

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