Wednesday, October 6, 2010



There are some changing of the roles of Quantity Surveyor between the past and the current. In this chapter, the current roles and responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor would be introduced one by one firstly. And then, the skills and knowledge of the Quantity Surveyor should got to adapt the industry in the current time would be discussed. After that, the effects of Quantity Surveyor will be mentioned in this chapter also. Lastly, it is a summary of the current roles and responsibilities of the Quantity Surveyor.

Some roles and responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor are same as the past. It is because some are the main roles and responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor such as measurement of works. Some roles and responsibilities are developed from time to time for the Quantity Surveyor to adapt the changing environment and keep the competitive. Thus, they need learn more knowledge and skills to achieve this objective.


Firstly, the current roles of Quantity Surveyors will be introduced. Seeley (1997) stated that the role of Quantity Surveyor had been widened, more and more activities are provided. In the 1980s and 1990s, some services were provided by Quantity Surveyors are outside their normal function. Contracting arrangements, construction management, valuations for fire insurance, advice on funding, grants, capital allowances and taxation, building maintenance management, advice on health and safety, quality assurance and greener buildings, facilities management, dilapidations, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution are some new services which would be provided by Quantity Surveyors in the current time.

Chung (2000) pointed out the Quantity Surveyors are cost management professionals in Hong Kong. HKIS (2000) noted that practice surveyors can be appointed to act as experts in property rent review to discover the facts and relevant transactions. Imber (2005) also noted that Quantity Surveyor can act as business adviser, property advisers, management consultancy and sole trader to work in the industry.

HKIS (2004) noted that Quantity Surveyor would take on an important and responsive consultative role in government policy making particularly on issues affecting land, property and construction. Surveyor can acts as expert or arbitrator to advice people who fall in the dispute resolution. The Quantity Surveyor also can work for buildings and civil engineering works during the design and construction stages. Other responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor includes building contractual arrangements and cost control, evaluate the cost of development project and advise suitable kind of contract for the project.

Financial Management, Computing, Project Management, Professional Practice/ Contracts, Communications, Languages, Law, Management, Value Engineering become more important, on the contrary, Land Surveying, Mathematics, Statistics, Structures will become less important for the Quantity Surveyor (RICS, 1992a).

RICS (1991) also recognized that value management, procurement management and total facilities management are the core areas in 1990s and 2000s. it should be organized by information technology.

The Quantity Surveyor can design and produce new standard form of contract. The Quantity Surveyor also needs to communicate with other countries’ surveyor to get more chance and opportunities in the world. These roles and responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor can be know in HKIS (2009, p.2) which stated that “The BSD and QSD Councils jointly launched a new standard form of contract entitled “Standard Form of Contract for Decoration, Repair and Maintenance Works” on 7 May 2009….The QSD Council reached an agreement with China Engineering Cost Association (CECA) to arrange the second registration...”.

Ashworth and Hogg (2007) recognized that vast majority of quantity surveyors are employed in private or public practice or in a contractor’s organization. In addition, quantity surveyors have been appointed to a variety of executive positions throughout the construction and other industries. In many instances, education and training are act as a quantity surveyor position, the role of them may perform only a little or nothing to do with surveying practice nowadays. And then Ashworth and Hogg (2007) listed the following developing roles of Quantity Surveyor is an expansion or further expansion in the areas of activities in the various and different organizations:
 Automated measurement and quantification
 Environmental and sustainability analysis
 Advice on information and communications technology
 Taxation and investment advice relating to projects
 Supply chain management
 Facilities management
 Legal services
 Quality management
 Niche markets

HKIS (2008) pointed out that estimating, preparation of tender document, tender analysis, contract documentation, valuation and variation are the recognized roles of Quantity Surveyor by Government and Private Forms of Building Contract.

The role of the Quantity Surveyor in contractor and in the professional or client is somewhat different. Quantity Surveyor would be representing their employer’s interest either the client or the contractor. Quantity surveyors always look after contractors’ commercial and financial interests to make their employer in the more controversial contractual areas (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007).

QSD (2008c) pointed out that “Quantity surveyors are professionals who have been trained as construction cost consultants…have expert knowledge of costs, values, finance, contractual arrangements and legal matters in the construction field”. They could employed by private developers, professionals quantity surveying firms, Government department and related bodies, contractors, Mining and petro-chemical companies and Insurance companies.


HKIS (2000) noted that practice surveyors’ duty is investigation to discover the facts and relevant transactions because they can be appointed to act as experts in property rent review.

McDonagh (1992) stated that Civils, housing, repairs and maintenance are growth in the past few years. Quantity Surveyor is required to take more responsibility and a cradle to the grave approach by clients. The environmental impact studies are more and more mandatory. The single person practices are more and more popular.

Chung (2000) recognized that the duties of Quantity Surveyors are preliminary cost advice, cost planning and value management, contractual methods, tendering, choice of contractor, valuation of construction work, project management and increased efficiency.

Lai (2000) recognized to cope with financial matters for a construction project is one of main duties of a Quantity Surveyor in the current time. Lai (2000) also stated a list of other services in Hong Kong Quantity Surveying practices as following:
• Give cost and contractual advice
• Time planning and programming services
• Value engineering and facilities management.

Besides the services of Quantity Surveyor were listed by Lai (2000) as above, some principal services of Quantity Surveyor were listed by HKIS (1999) as following:
 Preliminary cost advice
 Cost planning
 Preparing tender documents and negotiating contract prices
 Preparing contract documents and participating in contract administration
 Preparing cashflow forecasts and exercising cost control over the project
 Project management
 Giving expert evidence in arbitrations and disputes
 Assessing replacement values for insurance

Some core services of Quantity Surveying are listed in the following are mentioned in QSD (2008a):
• Cost planning
• Life cycle costing
• Value management
• Facilities management
• Project management
• Preliminary cost advice
• Procurement methods
• Contractual advice
• Tendering
• Valuation of construction work
• Cost control & financial management
• Financial claims & programme analysis
• Dispute resolution and insurance advice

Prepare contract and provide suitable procurement method, evaluate the cost and value of project or company, management different parties in the project or company are the some of responsibly of Quantity Surveyor. In the different stages of the project, Quantity Surveyor has different duties. In the planning / design stage, they need to design brief and estimate, make a procurement suggestion, pro-active suggestion. During the tender process stage, Quantity Surveyor should prepare tender, procedure, report and recommendation of tender. For the construction stage, they should give the contractual advice, monitoring cost and quality assurance. In the final account & DLP period, they should do the VO settlement, contractual advice and claim settlement (Seeley, 1997).

Estimating, financial management, site costing, contract management, negotiation with supplies and subcontractors, interim certificates and payments, contractual matters and the preparation and agreement of claims are the various activities of contractor’s surveyor (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007).


The quantity surveying profession has proved remarkably resilient in the face of changes in the construction industry and the wider national and international environment in recent decades. Continued change in the nature of client demand and the competitive environment for construction services requires change in the knowledge base at the core of professional practice. The idea of adding value to a client’s business is seen as essential. The changing pattern of client demand has been noted, together with the skills and knowledge to meet the demand (RICS, 1992a).

In 1990s and 2000s, Quantity Surveyors need more innovative, more pro-active and more mobile to solve the problems and the changing of client requirements. New skills and services will be progressively developed from continuous research and developments of new techniques (RICS, 1991).

Enterprise has been encouraged and people have become more aware of their own responsibility particularly for the environment. The opportunities are increased for the Quantity Surveyors. Also, the pressures of Quantity Surveyors are become more and more efficient. The ability to harness information technology is a key factor. Information systems are essential for the well being of an organization and the backbone of management, therefore continued growth in the information technology seems certain. The Quantity Surveyor always carries out a sanity check on the final output (McDonagh, 1992).

To survive and grow in the future, the profession must respond quickly and creatively to the challenges of accelerating social, technological, economical and environment change, both at home and abroad. An essential element in the future success and expansion of the profession is the skill and knowledge base at the core of professional practice (RICS, 1992a).

Powell (1998) further emphasized the importance of skills required of the chartered quantity surveyor as following:
 Develop a greater understanding of business and business culture
 Develop strong communications and IST skills
 Challenge authoritatively the contributions of other team members
 Understand that value can be added only by managing and improving the client’s customers and employer’s performance
 Develop skills to promote themselves effectively
 See qualifications only as the starting point
 Recognise the need to take action now
 Become champions of finance and good propriety

Chung (2000) pointed out that Quantity Surveyor should have the skills of evaluating alternative solutions in planning the project cost and in monitoring the cost of decisions made during the development of design. As quantity surveyors, they should have been specially trained in the financial, legal and contractual aspects of construction, they are particularly well qualified for the role of project manager. And Lai (2000) recognized that a professional Quantity Surveyor should get the knowledge of building and construction matters and other areas to work in construction industry.

“Quantity Surveyors are professionals who have been trained as construction cost consultants. They have expert knowledge on costs, values, labour and material prices, finance, contractual arrangements and legal matters in the construction filed” (HKIS, 2004, p.16). Based on this knowledge, Quantity Surveyor can work in private developers, Government departments, contractor, mining and petro-chemical companies and insurance companies to provide services.

Imber (2005) recognized that Quantity Surveyor needs good business skills, good technical skills, good people skills, confidence, presentation and financial acumen. Some skills such as strategic planning, leadership skills, financial awareness, people management and communication skills are developed in the past few years for Quantity Surveyor to suit for the change of environment. Accounting, negotiation skills and presentation skills are some of new skills of Quantity Surveyor should learn it.

Ashworth and Hogg (2007) marked down some knowledge and skills of Quantity Surveyor should know and could implement to fulfill the working criteria of the construction industry. The knowledge includes construction technology, construction law, business administration, financial management, construction economics, measurement rules and conventions. The skills include management, documentation, analysis, appraisal, quantification, synthesis and communication.

Quantity Surveyor should have expert knowledge of costs, values, labour and material prices, finance, contractual arrangements and legal matters in the field of construction (HKIS, 2008).

They are unashamedly more commercially minded, and sometimes the financial success or failure of a project or even a company is due in part at least to the work of the contractor’s surveyor. While the client’s quantity surveyor may claim impartiality between the client and the contractor, the contractor’s surveyor will be representing their own employer’s interests. Prudent contractors have always employed quantity surveyors to look after their commercial and financial interests, and financial interests, and have particularly relied upon them in the more controversial contractual areas (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007).

QSD (2008b) Professional Quantity Surveyor (QS) should have the sound knowledge in construction technology, project procurement methods, commonly used standard forms of contract, commonly used standard methods of measurements, preparation of relevant documentation during the project procurement process, cost data relevant to the construction industry, subject areas commonly encountered during the project procurement process, such as construction insurance, project financing and dispute resolution. The QS have an analytical mind; act fairly, with high regard for personal integrity, and continuously updating himself or herself with the latest developments in relevant aspects of the construction industry, The QS should observe at all times the Rules of Conduct of the relevant professional institute to which he or she belongs. When supervising technical subordinates, QS always encourage good professional practice and require high standard in the quality of the work.

Quantity Surveyor should get the dood skills between budget, tender and final account. They also need to get the knowledge of value for money in terms of costs incurred and good functional and quality attributes. The effective and acceptable life cycle cost approach should be prepared by Quantity Surveyor. The performance of Quantity Surveyor should prepare a comprehensive, well considered and realistic brief. They also need to get the knowledge of effective durability, reliability and maintainability of buildings. Quantity Surveyor should have the management skills or knowledge such as harmonious and trusting business relationships with contractor free from conflict, well defined allocation of responsibilities between parties to contract, full and clearly detailed accountability, particularly in the public sector and minimum exposure of the client to risks (Seeley, 1997).

Seeley (1997) also pointed out some skills and knowledge of Quantity Surveyor should have in different stages of the project. In the planning/ design stage, they should apply the appropriate measurement, apply updated cost data, to form the contract, pros & cons analysis, know the market trend & idea, alternative material options. During the tender process stage, Quantity Surveyor should know how to estimate BQ, the analysis of rate of tender, budget controlling, tender compliance and tender recommendation. In the construction stage, they should apply the progress evaluation, cost control, alternative proposal, comply works of defects, verify valid claim, justify LD/EOT, settle the claim and contra charge. For the final account & DLP period, they should apply the skills and knowledge such as settle quantity, justify works and materials, advice contractual liabilities, advice dispute resolutions, settle EOT and LD, settle the final account and settle the claim.


For the cost planning and control, Quantity Surveyor has his function which stated in HKIS (2004, p.13) “In a development project the surveyor will ensure the project proceeds within budget by researching, examining, reporting and determining the economic acquisition and use of the resources of the construction industry, the financial appraisal and measurement of construction work, the monitoring of construction, maintenance and running costs”.

For the contractors, Quantity Surveyors can help them to ensure that they receive the correct payment at the appropriate time for the work done on site. The Quantity Surveyor’s work embrace estimating and the negotiation of new contracts, site measurement, profitability and forecasting, contractual disputes and claims, site costing and other matters of a management and so on (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007).

Chung (2000) recognized a realistic budget and a cost plan which showing the distribution of cost over the various element can be prepared by the Quantity Surveyor. The Quantity Surveyor can control the cost of project stay within the budget and help to achieve the objective. Best form of contractor could be advised for a specific project to make the tender run smooth and easy to understand. Help the employer easier to select a suitable contractor. The Quantity Surveyor can ensure to settle of the accounts for project and the project completed within the budget. Make the construction a great deal easier and more efficient. Imber (2005) also pointed out the Quantity Surveyor can reflect client’s objectives and achieve successful results by provide services.

Quantity Surveyor can produce a new standard form of contract to avoid the unclear in liabilities or unbalanced risk sharing in the old contract form. Quantity Surveyor also can as a co-coordinator to communicate with China Engineering Cost Association to get the register as cost engineers in China to process the construction works (HKIS, 2009).

Quantity Surveyor can revise and publish the Standard Method of Measurement to suits for the current construction technology. SMM 4 is one of example of the publication which will obviously benefit the profession (HKIS, 2004).

Quantity Surveyor can make the construction team to arrive jointly at practical designs for a project and stay within the budget by the effective cost planning. It also can ensure a realistic estimate, improve economy standards and help contractor achieve a project with their aims (HKIS, 1999).

The emphasis on management to time, cost and quality criteria in today’s construction industry can raised the profile of project by Quantity Surveying. Also, new services of Quantity Surveyor are needed in the areas of early cost advice, cost control and market forecasting also can add the value to the client’s business (RICS, 1991).


Quantity Surveyor still acts as an important role in the construction industry in the current. Their skills and knowledge help them to bear the responsibilities and make many effects to the time, cost, quality and management of company in construction industry.

Chartered quantity surveyors are well placed to develop a construction management service and well on the way towards realizing this potential to adapt the changing of environment (Bennett, 1986).

The professions are continued to exploit a wide range of employment opportunities. Quantity Surveyors are employed by clients, developers and contractors increasingly. Quantity Surveyors should satisfy client’s requirements by provides independent professional advice such as provide procurement advice for construction. Unique skill-base which combines procurement and cost management can provide a clear practice identity for Quantity Surveyors to develop in their direction (RICS, 1991).

Continue to develop Quantity Surveyors’ skills and knowledge particularly in strategic management, policy decisions, mathematical modeling and information technology can ensure that clients can have the best advice in selecting procurement techniques and management procedures for construction projects. Make more use of specialists in economics, statistics and construction management can seek to occupy senior management posts in major contracting organizations, other commercial firms and public sector (RICS, 1983a).

Client demand for management-orientated valued-added services; the growing emphasis on value and the management of cost in the context of value criteria; the emergence of alternative procurement systems; increasing competition both within the profession and from outside are the responsibilities and liabilities of Quantity Surveyor (RICS, 1991).

As Quantity Surveyors, they should have the following skills include personal qualities, core skills and process skills. For example, they should included the personal qualities such as independence, adaptability, initiative taking, willingness to learn and ability to reflect on what has and what has not been achieved. For the core skills, Quantity Surveyor should included the ability to present clear information when in a group, self-management, critical analysis and the ability to listen to others. Computer literacy, commercial awareness, prioritizing, negotiating, acting morally and ethically, coping with ambiguity and complexity are the process skills of Quantity Surveyor should include



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