Advantages of Working with a Quantity Surveyor for Construction Companies

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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.


Expert Advice

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.


Risk Management

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.


Regulatory Compliance

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.


Monitoring Progress

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 projects.


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!

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