One of the questions that I receive a lot is "What is the difference between a Land Surveyor and a Quantity Surveyor?" So today I figured it was a good time to explain what a Quantity surveyor does and provide some detail about the services they offer.
What is a Quantity Surveyor?
A Quantity Surveyor is a professional person who has been educated, trained and qualified to manage cost effectiveness in building projects. From their initial calculations, they must have a cost discipline that enables them to estimate and monitor exactly how much a building is going to cost to build, and then advise a procurement strategy. Beginning with early stage budgets, and detailed cost plans, to final costs, a Quantity Surveyor identifies and collates everything that is involved in the cost of a building. Specifically, their job includes assessing the quantities, measurements and cost of materials, together with the labor costs and services that will be required in the construction and equipment of the building.
They are also responsible for preparing the bills and schedules of quantities of materials, as well as the labor and service costs that are needed to construct and equip a building. They prepare valuations concerning the progress of the building and make final payments to contractors, and sub-contractors.
There are many reasons to hire the services of a Quantity Surveyor besides developing an overall budget and maintaining quality control. They must be able to communicate and negotiate effectively, as well as being logical and methodical. Besides having a good knowledge of the construction industry, they must efficiently monitor and minimize the expenditure of the construction, and ensure that the required standards are in line with statutory building regulations. A Quantity Surveyor undertakes cost planning to help all members of the team arrive at practical solutions, within the allotted time and budget. They also ensure that the cost appraisal of the proposed construction is in line with other structures already erected. A Quantity Surveyor may act as arbitrator if there is a dispute in connection with the engineering work or the building contractors. With millions of dollars involved in some of today's projects, a Quantity Surveyor may also advise on cost management, or value management.
The services of a Quantity Surveyor are usually required by either the client or the contractor. They work on site or in an office and often report to a Project Manager or Project Director. Because the Quantity Surveyor handles the estimating and cost control, their title may sometimes be that of construction cost consultant, or commercial manager. One of the initial and vital functions of their job is the tendering process. After the Quantity Surveyor has carried out all the estimating and measurements of the construction work, they produce the bill of quantities, and tender documentation. The bill of quantities lists all the items required for constructing the building. These tendering documents enable all of the construction material and labor activities to be quantified so that competing builders can submit their priced tenders. Because all the tenders are based on exactly the same schedule of information, the Quantity Surveyor can clarify, evaluate and compare all the tenders from competing builders, and identify the best one.
Once the project is underway, the Surveyor must then be able to manage the contracts through monthly valuations, variations control, and claims assessments. Finally, when the project is complete, Surveyors produce a final report of all the costs.
To find the cost of hiring a Quantity Surveyor, consult several Quantity Surveyors and compare quotes. The fee depends on whether the Quantity Surveyor requires a lump sum, a percentage sum, or to be paid an hourly rate. Often their fee is based on the project; how long it will take, and the nature of the project itself. It is always important to hire a properly qualified Surveyor, and make sure that they have received the right training, have the recognized qualifications and adhere to set codes of conduct and legal requirements.
Quantity Surveyors are the financial consultants of the construction industry; they act in liaison with architects, consulting engineers and contractors to ensure that the best interests of the clients are upheld. They, themselves are required to uphold a strict code of conduct, and must obtain the necessary qualifications in order to fulfill their role. There are many ways to find a professional Quantity Surveyor. For example, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors maintains a global database of surveying companies. It covers all world regions and is a quick and easy search service that will help locate a Quantity Surveyor in most regions of the world.