Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quantity Surveyors - A Glance

A quantity surveyor (QS) is a professional working within the construction industry concerned with building costs.

The profession is one that provides a qualification gained following formal education, specific training and experience that provides a general set of skills that are then applied to a diverse variety of problems.[1] Predominantly these relate to costs and contracts on construction projects. Other areas in which QS find employment include property surveys for hidden defects on behalf of potential purchasers, running estates, valuing the mineral deposits for mining companies, selling property and even Leasehold Reform Act work.[1]

There are around 75,000 professional QSs working in the UK.


The profession developed during the 19th century from the earlier "measurer", a specialist tradesman (often a guild member), who prepared standardised schedules for a building project in which all of the construction materials, labour activities and the like were quantified, and against which competing builders could submit priced tenders. Because all tenders were based on the same schedule of information, they could be easily compared so as to identify the best one.

The professional institution with which most English-speaking quantity surveyors are affiliated is the UK-based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Others are the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Quantity Surveyors International (QSi) and Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) [1]. Those who are qualified members of the RICS are allowed to use the term "Chartered Quantity Surveyor" or simply "Chartered Surveyor".

The QS usually reports to Project Manager or Project Director and provides advice in the decision-making process throughout the management of a project from initial inception to final completion. The QS handles estimating and cost control, the tendering process and, after contract award, the commercial interface. QSes should be able to carry out estimating and measurement of construction works prior to tender, producing the bill of quantities; produce tender documentation and manage the tender process; clarify and evaluate tenders; and manage the resultant contract through monthly valuations, variations control, and assessment of claims.

Some QSes are trained in techniques of cost control. Those QSes who emphasise the cost discipline often use the term "Construction Cost Consultant". They ensure that projects are designed and constructed in such a manner as to secure value for money, cost certainty and programme dates.

Others emphasise contracts management. Trained to draft, interpret and administer complex contracts, those QSes who operate in the broader field of project management often adopt other titles such as "Contracts manager" or "Construction surveyor". A number of QSes work in procurement in the oil & gas industry, process and power industries, and civil engineering. Their preferred title, in countries where the QS profession is less known, is "Contracts engineer".

Some QSes specialise in project management, the QS background being a good foundation for understanding the complexities of modern large-scale projects.

As well as in professional quantity surveying practices, the QS finds employment in all parts of industry and government including primary and secondary industry, national and local government bodies and agencies, contractors and subcontractors, developers, and financial and legal companies.

Although all QSes will have followed a similar course of education and training (for those entering the profession today, this is usually to degree level), there are many areas of specialisation in which a QS may concentrate. The main distinction amongst QSes is between:
Those who carry out work on behalf of a client organisation: often known as a "professional quantity surveyor", "professional QS" or "PQS", and
Those who work for construction companies: often known as a "main contractor's quantity surveyor".

The functions of a consultant quantity surveyor

Traditionally referred to as a Professional Quantity Surveyor or Private Practice Quantity Surveyor they are broadly concerned with contracts and costs on construction projects. The methods employed, however, cover a range of activities which may include cost planning, value management, feasibility study|feasibility studies, cost benefit analysis, lifecycle costing, tendering, valuation, change control, dispute resolution and cost estimation.

The QS's traditional independent role on the team comprising client, architect, engineer, QS and contractor has given him a reputation and appreciation for fairness. This, combined with his expertise in drafting and interpretation of contract documents, enables him to settle issues, avoid disputes and ensure the effective progress of a project.

Quantity surveyors control construction costs by accurate measurement of the work required, the application of expert knowledge of costs and prices of work, labour, materials and plant required, an understanding of the implications of design decisions at an early stage to ensure that good value is obtained for the money to be expended.

The technique of measuring quantities from drawings, sketches and specifications prepared by designers, principally architects and engineers, in order to prepare tender/contract documents, is known in the industry as taking off. The quantities of work taken off typically are used to prepare bills of quantities, which usually are prepared in accordance with a published standard method of measurement (SMM) as agreed to by the QS profession and representatives of the construction industry. Many larger QS firms have their own in-house methods of measurement and most bills of quantities prepared today are in an abbreviated format from the one required by the SMM.

The benchmark for quality for a Private Practice Surveyor is the RICS' Chartered Membership MRICS & FRICS. The RICS also has the entry level non Chartered Membership AssocRICS. AssocRICS acts as a qualification in its own right however also offers a progressive route to Chartered RICS membership for able and willing candidates.

Contractor's quantity surveyor

A contractor's QS is responsible for the performance of operations that mirror those of the owner's QS; i.e, the measurement and pricing of construction work, but specifically that actually performed by the contractor (and the contractor's subcontractors) as opposed to the construction work described and measured in the construction contract between the owner and the contractor. Such a difference in quantity of work may arise from changes required by an owner, or by an architect or engineer on an owner's behalf. Typically, the settlement of a change (often referred to in a contract as a 'variation'). (see, the following reference sources: "Fundamentals of Construction Estimating and Cost Accounting," by Keith Collier (2nd ed.) (Prentice-Hall, 1987); "Construction Contracts," by Keith Collier (3rd ed.) (Prentice-Hall, 2001) These two texts each contain a comprehensive glossary.

The role of a contractors QS will extend further than the day to day running of building projects and will cover such other areas as sub-contract formation, forecasting of costs and values of the project, cash flow forecasts and the collation of the operation and maintenance manuals of the project (O&M manuals). This increase in the capacity of the surveying profession has led to an increased demand for qualified personnel and goes some way to explaining the popularity of related degrees at university.

Some contractors and others may attempt to rely on a general accountant to deal with construction costs, but usually this is not effective, primarily because an accountant does not have the technical knowledge to accurately allocate costs to specific items of work performed, especially at times prior to the particular work's completion as required to make accurate assessment of the amounts to be paid to the contractor during the course of the work.

Noted Quantity surveyors

Due to the nature of their work, Quantity Surveyors do not become famous as a result of their profession. However, several noted individuals have trained, apprenticed, worked or qualified as Quantity Surveyors.
Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai Nigerian politician
Adetona Gabriel Balogun First president of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
Jon Bass footballer
Graham Beecroft radio personality
Stuart Boardley footballer
Paddy Bradley Gaelic footballer
Eric Broadley automobile designer
David Byng footballer
Alexander Cordell writer
David Scott Cowper yachtsman
Hugh Coveney Fine Gael politician
Colin Eglin South Africian politician
Asha Gill media
Bukar Ibrahim Nigerian politician
Roger Landes Military Cross
John Lymington writer
Nick McCabe lead guitarist
Fulton Mackay actor
Aliu Mahama Vice-President of Ghana
George Martin musician
Edward Morrow Anglican priest
Adamu Mu'azu Nigerian politician
Charles Tilleard Natusch New Zealand architect and quantity surveyor
Bill Paterson actor
Phil Redmond screenwriter.
Jean Roy Canadian politician
Iain Russell footballer
Philip Welsford Richmond Russell Bishop of Natal.
Edward Skoyles researcher into tendering and building waste
Oliver Stonor writer
Neil Turner Labour MP
Blair Anderson Wark Victoria Cross....


1 comment:

ukur bahan : quantity surveying said...

plse read other articles in this blog. TQ.