For a short view, the quantity surveyor is one vital component to the success of a project.
The longer view is that he is a professional specializing in the understanding, analyzing, and reporting on the costs associated with construction projects.
Also called by other names like cost engineer, estimator, or project cost controller, the quantity surveyor has this title because he prepares the schedule of quantities for a project -- the estimates of the material and labor costs that the contractors’ tenders are measured against.
A quantity surveyor takes every issue concerning costs, project schedule, and budget into consideration when estimating, planning, and the reporting of cost data.
The quantity surveyor is considered a high construction industry professional with expert knowledge on construction costs and contracts. They are also called chartered surveyors in the UK, and certified quantity surveyors in Australia and other countries.
With these titles, they are responsible for managing all aspects of the contractual and financial side of construction projects. They help make sure that the construction project is completed within the projected budget.
They are also hired by contractors for their help in the valuation of construction work for the contractor. They also help with bidding and project budgeting. Finally, they are responsible in the submission of bills to the client.
They are already doing work even at the first stages of the project.
Before any construction begins, the quantity surveyors can help with drawing up the feasibility studies of the project. Because of experience, they can actually do a rough estimate of what will be involved in the project, based on the designer’s measurements or maybe sketches, including those of the client.
After studying the architect’s (or the engineer’s) plan, they can identify the costs involved, and then sets an overall estimated budget for the project.
Before the project starts, the quantity surveyor calculates a budget based on their client's requirements. The prepared detailed estimates are to make sure that the budget is sufficient for every stage of the project.
Their main task is to find out what a construction project will cost, including materials, labor, and services. The quantity surveyor can then plan costs to help the design team stay within the project budget using practical solutions. (This is value engineering.)
The quantity surveyor and the project architect collaborate on the preparation of the final detailed estimate. This is used as the basis for evaluating tenders.
On the other hand, quantity surveyors not only specialize in constructions costs, but the Australian Tax Office (ATO) recognizes them as one of the few expert professionals who are qualified to compile tax depreciation schedules. This goes for both the residential and commercial property investors who want to claim depreciations deductions.
In a way, they are an invaluable asset in maximizing your returns on your property investment. They do everything from assessing the depreciable assets of your rental property (including the building, fixtures and fittings) that make it up.
Right from the start of the construction, your quantity surveyor keeps the costs on track. When the building starts, he provides the cash flow data so the client can arrange the needed finances for all the stages of the project.
He assesses the cost effects when there are changes to the project, like delays, and agrees on “variation” with the contractors.
He provides the bank with the project report. On the side, he will help client with the preparation of drawn down certificates for money to be loaned by the bank. This he does while resolving disputes between clients, designers, and contractors – if ever.
When the construction is over, he adds up the total cost and prepares a statement of final account that has the records of actual costs for all the sections of the job.
Quantity surveyors are the most important people a project owner can have in the rough and tumble construction industry, and more so at these times when there are awesome technological advancements all over.
They are the most able in your construction business to transform your construction operations into a more efficient, cost-effective, sustainable and streamlined. They are the main investment human component apart from the other investments you have for your company.
Viable and profitable
Your quantity investor plays a vital role in ensuring the viability and profitability of your project mainly due to their multiple talents combined in a person. One is an equal parts engineer, designer, mediator and contractor.
At any given situation where one or more of his talent is needed, there is assurance that he excels in them and be able to resolve disputes, difficulties, technical glitches, wrong estimations, time delays, financial over runs and the like.
The expertise of a quantity surveyor helps to get you’re a more accurate idea of initial costings through cross-referencing the project against other similar ones. They are able to identify and estimate construction costs.
They are able to provide accurate estimates of the project’s total operations and operational costs.
They help in drawing up an accurate and comprehensive budgets accounting for all the possible known loopholes in the future. In some words, they can help you (project owner)
Get the most out of every penny spent and help in reducing wasteful spending.
As an inherently risky business, the quantity surveyor actually helps reduce and manage risks. They advise on strategy and help the project owner have decisions that are more informed and responsible.
They do this in managing the finances on the project, advising the best cost structures for each individual project in order to free the company on worries about costs and logistical consequences of poor cash flow.
Aspects on quality and safety
Overall, they can advise on all the aspects of quality, safety and time management. All this is to ensure that the project runs smoothly and with reduced risks.
With the use of an experienced and skilled quantity surveyor, you will not only allow having an accurate projection of the costs involved in a construction project, but it will also allow you to have an effective cost strategist on your team. His role is to help lower costs with ideas, options, and experienced advice.