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Evolved Role of Quantity surveyor in Construction Industry

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Evolved Role of Quantity Surveyor

In the previous article, we discussed the traditional role of the quantity surveyor. Now you are going to study the Evolved Role of the Quantity surveyor.

Evolved Role of the Quantity surveyor

With the changes occurred in the world due to the changes in economic and political characteristics, many systems operated based on them have changed. Construction is an industry that is highly based upon the political and economic aspects of society. Therefore the face of the construction industry has already changed. Earlier, the public sector plays the role of the client’s role in a large proportion. But with the changes taking place in the world economic and political environment, the influence of the private sector has increased in a large portion. Concerning that, the needs of the construction and the services required by the professionals also changed.

Reasons to Evolved Role of Quantity surveyor

As mentioned earlier in this previous post, Traditional Quantity Surveyors serviced to the Contractors and Consultants. Later with the high involvement of the private sector as the clients to the construction industry, it is rapidly increased the cost they spend for the development construction. Thus Those clients needed to know whether they are receiving the real value back for the money they spend. Therefore, they needed a professional to asses the actual cost of the product they received. This scenario gave birth to Client Quantity Surveying practices. Most of the clients interested in having the service of a Quantity Surveyor on behalf of them. This is not the only reason that tends to the evolution of Quantity Surveying. With the cultural changes, the aspects of the designers also changed. Economic changes tend contractors towards obtaining high profits from the construction. Aspects of all the parties in the constructions changed, seeking new skills for the industry and offering new opportunities to the industry. Due to these reasons, the Quantity Surveyor’s role has evolved.

Ashworth & Hogg explain the Evolved Role of Quantity Surveyor as follows,

  • Development appraisal
  • Project management
  • Facilities management
  • Whole life costing
  • Value management
  • Environmental services
  • Technical auditing
  • Valuation for insurance purposes
  • Advice on contractual disputes
  • Risk analysis

Development Appraisal

Feasibility studies of proposals and alternative uses of resources and advice on return on capital investment, the preparation of the developer’s budget & other matters concerned with the developer’s appraisal of a proposed project are coming under the development appraisal. Understanding the relationship between these factors is an essential aspect of the development process & requires an in-depth knowledge of the property market. This understanding generally comes from traditional Quantity Surveying.

Project Management

Mainly it is required by a project manager to maintain the project proceedings within the limits of cost, time, and quality. To play the role of Project Manager (PM) successfully, you need a certain amount of skills. “Quantity Surveyors had been providing Project Management as part of their extended traditional role, usually without recognition or acknowledgment. Also, Quantity Surveyors possess financial expertise, which will help them to carry out Project management activities efficiently.

The development of skills and knowledge of Quantity Surveyors related to planning, analyzing, controlling, forecasting, evaluating, problem-solving, etc. can lead their profession for its betterment to venture into an area called Project management, which is an essential profession in the construction industry. A project manager is required to have good knowledge of technical and managerial skills for effective management of the project. However, every profession in the industry claims that they are the best profession for project management.

According to Barton (1989), standards of excellent management and a technical appraisal are only achievable if a project manager has 80% management and 20% technical/literacy skills.

Facilities Management

Facility management, in the broad sense, means building management from design to construction, commissioning, use & maintenance to disposal. It suggests a birth to depth approach to properly portfolio management, & provides an opportunity for one step management services from the inception to demolition. To do this, the quantity surveyor further needs to assemble information & skills in premises management & in particular maintenance needs & cost.

Whole Life Costing

Whole life costs consider all costs related to the life of a building, initial capital cost, operational or construction cost, maintenance cost, repair or upgrade cost, and future disposal costs. NRM3 explains whole life cost as all significant and relevant initial and future costs and benefits of a building facility or an asset throughout its life cycle while fulfilling the performance requirements.

Value Management

Value Management (VM) is a service that magnifies the effective value of a project by managing its evolution and development from inception to completion. The quantity surveyor’s innate ability to understand & manage data in a logical manner & ability to communicate such data clearly & consciously provides the Quantity Surveyors suitable for the role of value manager.

Environmental services

Planning authorities are now required to undertake environmental impact assessment (EIA) before approving major development schemes. EIAs have replaced the largely discredited cost-benefit analyses with their strong focus on economic appraisal at the expense of broader environmental issues. Nonetheless, there remains an essential element of economic appraisal within EIAs that could well be appropriate for involvement by quantity surveyors, although, in doing so, quantity surveyors would have to compete with planners and economists who also do this work. Thus the Quantity Surveyor will become a suitable professional for providing these environmental services due to their knowledge of construction and environmental aspects and the knowledge regarding construction technology and cost.

Technical Auditing

The client sometimes needs a technical audit of building costs to satisfy themselves that they are being asked a fair and proper price for the work undertaken. It may be that the tender was submitted based on Drawings and Specifications, and those variations have occurred during the Work. Alternatively, the contract may be on a prime cost plus a percentage basis, and the client wishes to be guaranteed that the costs have been correctly calculated. The quantity surveyor can investigate all the Costs incurred and determine a fair and reasonable price, having regard to all the relevant circumstances. This process can involve examining all available records, interviewing the contractor’s personnel, visiting the site, and investigating the procedures which have been used, including an assessment of the effectiveness of the contractor’s internal control system.

Valuation for Insurance Purposes

In a construction project, damages may occur due to many reasons like Fire, Natural Disasters, Sabotages, etc. in such cases, both insurance companies and property owners required professional advice regarding the valuation of damages. Other than just valuation quantity surveyors are required to provide other several services within the scope of valuation for Insurance purposes. They are loss adjusting and risk appraisal, Advising, and investigation regarding bond and surety.

Advice on Contractual Disputes / Disputes Resolution

The construction industry is widely known for its high rate of disputes. Dispute resolutions strategies become increasingly important as a result. Among the various forms of dispute resolution strategies, arbitration is the most sought after strategy in the construction industry. An arbitrator should have enough knowledge of the type of contracts, technicalities of the matters in dispute, and good knowledge in the arbitration proceedings. The vital requirement for an arbitrator is that he should be impartial to both parties.

Since the Quantity Surveyors possess the knowledge in both arbitration proceedings, legal aspects, standards related to the construction industry, and knowledge on the construction industry, contracts, construction technology, etc., they are more suitable to perform as arbitrators and advice on contractual disputes. Especially the disputes related to the refusal to accept an Architect’s/ Engineer’s instructions, failure to agree with the amount of final account, failure to issue certificates, claims regarding time extension, claims regarding additional loss/expense, determination of employment of the contractor, etc. can be dealt well by the quantity surveyor.

Risk Analysis

Since the construction industry is subject to higher risk and uncertainty and it involves a massive amount of investments, there is a need for a formalized control system to quantify the risks on a consistent and measurable basis to reduce or eliminate their potential effect. Since Quantity Surveyors possess vast knowledge in construction and they have exposure to the economics of projects, they can specialize in this area. Also, this will help them to forecast project costs more precisely.

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