When you are put in charge of overseeing a building project,
you will want it to go as smoothly as possible. That means hiring a team you
know you can trust, putting together a schedule that is feasible, and, of
course, ensuring that you have all of the right materials that are of a high
standard to pull the entire project together.
It sounds simple, but any construction manager will tell you
that, throughout the process, you will need as much help as possible. Not only
from the construction team but from those who work behind the lines, ensuring
that the supplies are coming in, that there is enough money, and, of course,
those who ensure that you and your team keep up the good work! Not that you
would even let it slide, of course!
But, especially in the modern economy, it can be tempting
for construction managers, and indeed your clients, to try and keep costs low.
This is not only risky but can also be dangerous for your team and anyone who
may use the complex or buildings that you are putting up. So, it is always best
to call in the pros as early as possible, and, in this sense, it is the
quantity surveyors who you will really need to call out to help you.
Who are quantity surveyors?
When it comes to putting a construction project together,
many construction teams will need expert quantity surveying services as a starting point. Quantity surveying is the practice
of measuring and estimating the cost of construction projects. Quantity
surveyors collect estimates from subcontractors and vendors, manage financial
aspects of construction projects, and monitor progress to ensure projects come
in under budget and on time. They prepare tender and contract documents,
analyze building costs, and act as intermediaries between project owners,
contractors, and other stakeholders.
So, as you can see, they are well worth having on your team.
But, if you are like a lot of construction managers, you may
be looking for a way to cut costs on the project. Therefore, hiring someone in
to oversee another part of the project is not going to be ideal for keeping
costs down. And if this is your first time managing a project, you may be
puzzled as to why quantity surveyors are so popular.
This article aims to explore that point in a bit more depth,
so there is reason to learn more.
Keeping Costs Down
Quantity surveyors can provide an accurate picture of costs
for a project before and during the construction process, giving clients
greater control over their budgets. So, if you are looking to provide a quote for a project
that a client wants you to undertake, having a quantity surveyor to hand can be
a great benefit.
They will also be a valuable source when it comes to keeping costs lower. How? Well, if your client isn't happy with the price you are
quoting them at the start of the project, a surveyor can use their contacts to
get the resources or materials that are driving the prices up for a lower
price. Or, even better, they may be able to liaise on your behalf with your
client to talk them through exactly what is needed and hammer out the details
that are pushing the costs up.
This is not to say that you and your team are not experts,
but quantity surveyors are experts in their field who can offer clients advice
on project costs, budgets, and potential savings. In short, they can be seen as
the brainiacs or the tech team behind your projects.
Quantity surveyors typically hold a post-secondary
qualification in quantity surveying or construction, such as a Bachelor's
degree in Quantity Surveying, Construction Economics, or Construction Project Management. In addition to academic
qualifications, quantity surveyors may also need to hold professional
accreditation from their country's surveying professional body. So, they are really worthwhile to invest a bit of money
into, especially if you have concerns that your client is trying to cut
corners, which could be hazardous to the construction and safety of the
building you are putting together.
Quantity surveyors offer a range of specialist services,
from risk management to value engineering, which can maximize a client's return
on investment. And the risk management
that they provide is not often associated with hard hats and loose cabling! It
is related to costs.
Quantity surveyors assess risk by measuring the potential
cost associated with it and the probability of outcomes. An in-depth risk
assessment should include a review of both potential financial losses and
potential benefits and the likelihood of each. The evaluation should identify
the most significant risks and the ones with the highest probability of
occurrence, then quantify the risks in cost terms and propose any risk mitigation
or management measures needed. This process may also involve looking at
opportunities for joint venture arrangements to reduce project costs.
Additionally, quantity surveyors will assess and review the
contractual, financial, and technical risks associated with the project and
suggest strategies to manage and minimize any potential risks.
Again, this isn't to undermine your team or your building standards. But, a quantity surveyor can ensure that projects comply with
building regulations and other applicable laws.
They can assess building regulations relating to fire
safety, accessibility, health and safety, structural integrity, environmental
sustainability, and planning permission.
All of this is important, especially if you are building a
complex that is set to be used by the general public and will need to have more
accessibility than an average dwelling.
As you know, a building project can go awry because of a
number of reasons. It could be bad weather, it could be an issue in the supply
line, or there may be an issue with money. Quantity surveyors can monitor progress to ensure that project timelines and budgets remain in check, and,
most importantly, they can liaise on your team's behalf with your clients to
ask for more money or more time to complete the project.
In relation to the progress of the building work, quantity
surveyors typically monitor the progress of construction by performing site
inspections regularly and keeping detailed records of their observations, such
as the number of personnel on site, the progress of work being completed,
materials onsite, photos, and more. They also review and compare the progress
of work against budgets and schedules to ensure that all construction project goals are met.
Great! Now, here is a brief FAQ section relating to quantity
surveyors to help you understand a bit more about their role in your building
Can Quantity Surveyors Report Building Violations?
Yes, quantity surveyors can report building violations as
one of the functions they provide is to oversee the build process and provide
cost control. They can report any violations they find while working on the
build on behalf of their client, or if there is an issue post-build, they can
report it, and the building will not be open to the public or other functions
until it is fixed. So, legally, they can save a massive headache!
How Can You Spot A Bad Quantity Surveyor?
If your client has provided the quantity surveyor for the
project rather than allowing your team to hire someone in, you may be curious
as to how you can spot one that is not ideal for the project.
A poor quality quantity surveyor may fail to prepare and
submit accurate estimates of cost and materials, fail to respond promptly to
requests for more information, neglect to provide updates about any changes in
the budget or timeline, and ignore important details about construction
projects. They may also try to rush through the process and make careless
mistakes. Additionally, they might not abide by confidentiality or ethical
standards or be unable to explain their decision-making processes. If you spot
any of these signs, you may need to talk to your client about your concerns or
report them to someone higher up.
Do We Need To Use Quantity Surveyors When We Are Planning The Build? Or Do They Come in Later?
Quantity surveyors are usually involved in all aspects of a
construction project, including planning, so they will need to be brought in as
early as possible. This is not an issue if they are working for your client,
but, as mentioned before, be on the lookout to ensure that your team and their
ethics relating to the build line up. Typically, quantity surveyors will work
with the architects, engineers, and contractors to ensure that a project
complies with the budget and build a plan while maximizing the use of
resources. They will provide detailed estimates of the materials and labor
costs and coordinate suppliers and subcontractors to ensure all costs are kept
within the project's budget. Quantity surveyors also create plans for schedule
and cost projections to ensure that the project runs on time and to budget.
If a quantity surveyor is bought in later in the project, it
may end up costing more to complete the build, which is not great if you are
looking to keep your clients happy!