Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Learning From Other QS 1

Quantity Surveying Overseas : The Grand Museum of Egypt

When completed, the Grand Museum of Egypt will be a centre of Egyptology. Precisely located on the first desert plateau to give unrivalled views of both Cairo and the pyramids, it will boast several levels, conservation workplaces, a piazza and a grand staircase – to name just a few of its features. It is also designed to make the most of the light, incorporating a translucent stone wall. Clare Nugent’s employers were hired by the architects commissioned to design the project to provide cost management and design management/co-ordination services.

Clare worked on the cost side of the project as an assistant quantity surveyor alongside an associate and another assistant surveyor. ‘My team was involved throughout the preconstruction stages. I came in at the tender development stage, which involves providing the client with information on costs that they can use when considering bids from construction companies to complete the work,’ explains Clare.

There were two separate processes in this stage: finalising project costs and producing bills of quantities (lists of the amount of materials needed for construction). ‘I spent half my time in helping with the bills of quantity and half in checking the costs in the cost development plan. This entailed calling up suppliers to find out rates for certain items, such as steel, and consulting the design to confirm the quantities that would be needed on the project.’ Clare also attended progress meetings with the design managers, architects and others as appropriate. ‘Sometimes we’d meet with the structural engineers or the building services engineers who work for other firms, and I liked gaining a wider perspective on the project,’ she says.

However, Clare also had a co-ordination role that led her abroad. ‘My employer had outsourced some of the work to our office abroad and I coordinated this with our work,’ explains Clare. ‘This meant that I had the chance to accompany my associate – who is my line manager – out there to meet everyone and confirm that things were as they should be. It was an amazing experience and good to meet the team out there face to face after so many conference calls.’

The Grand Museum has been Clare’s first major project since joining her employer, although she has also combined her work on this with doing ‘feasibility studies’ (high level cost analysis) for other projects and so has gained a broad overview of work. ‘I had a certain amount of construction knowledge from my degree but I’ve learned a lot about surveying this year,’ she says. ‘I’ve developed quantity surveying techniques such as cost planning and completing bills of quantities and I’ve also built on my organizational skills.’

Now that the team members have submitted their final report on this project, their role has effectively finished, barring any last-minute queries that might arise. ‘The great thing about this project, though, is that there haven’t been any issues and we’ve stuck to time. I’ve enjoyed working on an international and innovative project; it’s been the best start to my career.’

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