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Quantity Surveyor – Introduction To Quantity Surveying

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Quantity Surveyor role in the construction industry
Who is a Quantity Surveyor

Who is a Quantity Surveyor?

The Quantity Surveyor is a leading internal stakeholder in the construction industry. They have in-depth knowledge of construction costs and contracts to advise, manage, and formulate policies to regulate the construction industry. In other words, a quantity surveyor is the cost consultant for the construction projects. Therefore, their professional advice is essential to architects, builders, developers, engineering organizations, project managers, and government agencies.

Estimating, cost planning, and preparation of Bill of Quantities are some of the primary functions of a quantity surveyor. The root of quantity surveying practice evolved with measurement of works and preparation of Bills of Quantities. It is from this that the name Quantity Surveyor derives. Builders use the Bills of quantities when bidding as the basis of their tenders and during construction as the basis for valuing work done.

Mistakes in this sector are costly and dangerous, and getting it right the first time is imperative. Multi-million and multi-billion pound project budgets are common in construction. Managing the cost for a major construction project places enormous demands on quantity surveyors.
Quantity surveyors render a valuable service from inception to completion of construction projects to clients as well as contractors/builders. They monitor costs and are responsible for the money spent by the client and contractor/builder. Therefore quantity surveyors play an impartial role for both these parties.

Many are content to keep busy in their favorite area, to earn a good income, and leave it to others to develop sophistication & achieve something new. Indeed, quantity surveyors have emerged as most sought after professionals, possibly because of the disciplined & through training in measurement, their logical, impartial ability & general all-round knowledge of the entire building & procurement process. Why would clients contractors, developers, sub-contractors, architects, engineers, and so on require the services of these professionals if quantity surveyors were not the most valuable asset to the industry? The profession must respond quickly and creatively climb up the ladder to the challenges of accelerating social, technological, economical, and environment change, both at home and abroad. Otherwise, Quantity surveyors can not survive and grow in the future.

The Main Role of The Quantity Surveyor

The quantity surveyors are trained in estimating, cost control & in contract administration, and our experiences carry over a vast range of works. Quantity surveyors do not know everything but have become very good over the years at finding out about things. They are very good at asking the right questions & having things explained in simple terms, often to the enlightenment of other members of the team.

Quantity surveyors who perform the conventional role of building quantities (BOQ – Bills of Quantities) have to continually learn new construction technology before being able to do any comprehensive measurement. BOQ preparation is “bread & butter” for quantity surveyors. A fully measured BOQ may help to minimize any unnecessary variation that may arise from any error or omission in the BOQ. Not only BOQ, but other tender documents are equally important. Tender documents, especially the forms of contracts, have to be drafted with much care.

An employer said, “ I do not care whatever the estimating tool (The BOQ) a quantity surveyor uses because I pay them for the effective cost management they exercise in the organization, not for preparing BOQ.” Another expert arose a Question of whether “design for cost” or “cost for design” is better? But in the actual procedure, it will be a combination of both.

The experts suggest that the most excellent extras (claims, disputes ) are brought about by prolongation & by misinterpretation of documentation (Tender, contract documentation). The quantity surveyors are involving in measuring documents both for clients & contractors; quantity surveyor knows the errors & discrepancies which occur in drawings & specifications.

Finally, Professional abilities of quantity surveyors are highly appreciated and often attain top managerial rank.

Types of Projects

  • Apartment, townhouses, condominium developments, bungalows, flats, housing schemes, and townships and places.
  • Commercial offices, banks, shopping & entertainment complexes, hotels, chalets, hostels, holiday & recreational resorts including tourist complexes.
  • Universities, colleges, educational institutions & research centers, hospitals, medical centers, and monumental works.
  • Airports, seaports, railway & vehicular terminals, telecommunication buildings, and towers.
  • Factories, warehouses, mills, manufacturing and assembly plants, refineries, oil rigs, and petrol stations.
  • Extension, alterations, restoration, and demolition work, including interior architectural work.
  • Bridges, highways, roads, reservoirs, dams, power and atomic stations including other related civil engineering and infrastructure works.

Cost of The Projects

Whenever any building project is proposed, the cost involved must be known in advance. The following items shall be included for a new project.

  • Site preparation cost
  • Construction, labor, material and plant costs
  • Professional fees, taxes, and other charges
  • Running and maintenance costs

Where Do They Work?

The Quantity Surveyor is qualified to estimate the costs as mentioned above and to advise on alternative proposals. Quantity Surveyors shall work in a variety of areas such as,

  • Government sectors
  • Private practice
  • Property developers
  • Construction companies
  • banks and financial institutions
  • Industrial companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Other commercial companies

How to become a Chartered Surveyor?

You can take a degree in quantity surveying, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), but you do not have to have studied this subject to enter the profession. If you have a degree in a different subject you can take a postgraduate conversion course, which is also accredited by RICS. On graduating, you will need to enroll on the RICS APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) course to enable you to pass the APC and become a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

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