This article is all about quantity surveying.
Most builders or building contractors employ quantity surveyors.
Builders will have a quantity surveying department who will be headed up by a senior quantity surveyor who usually is also a director of the business.
In a smaller building contractor the role of the quantity surveyor will involve:
In larger businesses the contractors quantity surveyor will have more specialized roles including managing the cost of a construction project – site quantity surveyor role who does nothing but manage the costs of one construction project.
These tasks would include
The first quantity surveying firm was in Reading, United Kingdom in 1785.
Allows contractors in a competing tender process to price the exact same information.
Can be used to pay the contractor for works completed.
The principle documents in contract documentation include:
Quantity surveying is constantly developing.
Its original purpose centered upon creating one bill of quantities per project that could be used for competitive tenders and managing payments.
But the profession has evolved. A key value point for quantity surveyors is the ability to provide early construction cost advice.
The next value point is to run a competitive tender process for a project. Traditionally, this would involve the use of a bill of quantities and this does in many cases. But increasingly, the Quantity Surveyor will use the bill of quantities or another pricing document as a guide only and instead focus on putting the risk onto the building contractor and the subcontractors. The idea being that the subcontractors who know their trade inside and out are best placed to take the risk of their respective costs.
For example, why should a quantity surveyor, working on behalf of a Client, produce a detailed bill of quantities (with quantities provided) for structural steel when they can just have a brief item that says (supply and install all structural steel as per the drawings, all works deemed to be included). A structural steel contractor will carry out their own estimate and if the Quantity surveyor obtains several estimates, they will find a clear average of costs. It matters little that it is more difficult to see what the contractor has allowed for if the contract states that the contractor must allow for all structural steel as necessary.
The quantity surveying role is less about creating detailed bill of quantities and more about the professional management of construction costs. This is a difficult task in itself.