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23 Aug

What are the duties of a quantity surveyor?

Duties of a quantity surveyor.

What are the duties of a quantity surveyor … well, a quantity surveyor can wear many different hats during the construction of a project. The term "quantity surveyor" is like an umbrella phrase that covers many different duties that they may conduct over the course of the job. If you want to know a little more about what a quantity surveyor is then please go back and read my last blog post explaining this question. post contract duties of a quantity surveyor

What are the main duties of a quantity surveyor?

Let’s start by looking at one of the first duties a quantity surveyor (QS) in construction will perform which is a quantity or material take off. These duties require the QS to use the design drawings to measure the number of quantities that will be required for the project. As an example, how many bricks, concrete, and steel might be needed. The duty of the quantity surveyor during the measurement process is to produce a bill of quantities in a methodical way. Skill and accuracy during the measurement phase are crucial to the correct budgets being allocated in the next stage. Quantity take-off is essential to the second duty a quantity surveyor will be required to do which is estimating. Estimating use takes the quantities to build up the pricing for the project. For instance, if we need 10 cubic meters of concrete and the cost is $ 100 per cubic meter of concrete then the cost of the concrete will be $ 1,000 for the job. duties of a quantity surveyor During estimating the duty of the quantity surveyor is to make sure they have covered all the materials, plant and labour within the estimated rates for the project. This step is essential for business and project profitability. Finding the correct market rates for the quantities is called procurement which is another very important duty of a quantity surveyor. This duty is the sourcing of pricing for the materials or packages of works from the market in order to put the total cost of a project together. What this may entail is dissecting the project work packages as mentioned above. So, as an example, sending the plumbing works to the plumbing companies or maybe the carpentry package to a carpentry company. These companies will then return their price or quote to complete the work on the job. During the estimating stage is again crucial to the profitability of the project to capture all costs for plant, labour, materials, overheads, insurances, and bonds. This cost can really amount to a lot of money. The skill of doing really lies in the experience of the estimators and the quantity surveyors. quantity surveyor duties

Duties of a quantity surveyor.

In procurement writing, detailed scopes of works that clearly outline and identify the boundaries of the work packages are critical to the success of the project. This will help reduce the number of disputes and delays within the project. These scopes of works, which is usually a quantity surveyors’ duty, are used in putting together the contracts for a project which is our next duty to look at. Contracts are what bind the client and the company or person providing the product or service. As an example, a contract may be with the homeowner and the builder for which the builder is going to provide the product and services required by the owner for a fee. It may also be between the builder and supply for the supply of the concrete as mentioned above. The duty of the quantity surveyor when it comes to the project contracts is to make sure the right contract is selected for its intended use. So, in terms of the material supply, a materials supply contract might be required. Other contracts might be a major works contract for the works to be completed by the builder. [caption id="attachment_1005" align="alignnone" width="300"]contractor quantity surveyor duties contractor quantity surveyor duties[/caption]

Duties of a quantity surveyor in construction.

The negotiation of these contracts can be simple or sometimes very complexed depending on the scope of the works we discussed above. The quantity surveyor’s duty would be to go through the terms and conditions of the contracts and make sure both parties are happy prior to signing. During this process, it is the QS’s duty to make sure their employers’ best interests are kept in mind during the negotiations. Certain terms and conditions in contracts may be set up to protect one party but not the other which would mean they are seemingly unfair to the smaller party. These clauses are generally the ones that take the must negotiations between the parties. If an agreement cannot be made, then one party may walk away from the project. The duty would be to prevent that but sometimes it can not be presented to the party’s business interests. Poorly negotiated contracts can cause various disputes, delays, and disruption to the project which is not good for anyone. So due time and care must be taken during this stage as once the contracts are signed, they become legally binding on all parties. Once the contracts have been signed and executed the project can begin which leads us to the duties during the project. During the project, the duty of a quantity surveyor maybe called a contract administrator. Once the contracts are signed and the work in underway, the contract will have certain deadlines that must be met. The administration is again an important duty as it will help the project flow with minimal disputes between the parties. The QS’s duty is to make sure the contract is administered to the full effect for their employers’ benefits. Once the project is completed the QS will have to finalise the contract, settle the outstanding monies, known as the final account and make sure the project is finished from a paperwork point of view. Generally, after the contract is finished the parties move onto the next project. During the project and if disputes arise between the parties to the contract the duty of the quantity surveyor may be to assist with resolving these disputes. They would have a detailed and sometimes complexed understanding of the project. This means they would be able to offer advice and reasoning during the disputes. Sometimes disputes cannot resolve by the QS. This would then lead the parties to use legal teams to argue the disputes which may end up in legal battles taking years to resolve. As a quantity surveyor, you may be called upon to give information or potential be an expert witness during these cases. In order to minimise disputes, delays, disruption and cost escalation on projects it would the quantity surveyor’s duty to identify risks before, during and after construction to manage these risks throughout the life cycle of the project. The duty of the QS would be to maintain a project risks register. The risk register would identify potential problems that may occur on the job, things like bad weather or a delay in a major supply item like a steel frame. The register would focus on the risk and likelihood of the problem happening. There would then be a strategy to minimise the risk impact on the project. Another and final duty of a quantity surveyor would be the help their client's value manages the project. This means that the quantity surveyor would be tasked with finding alternative methods, products, supplier or builders for the project that are cheaper but retain the quality. As an example, certain brands of paint may be cheaper than the top well know the brand, but the quality is the same overall. The duty would be to advise their employer of this so that they can decide whether to use the product in the project at all. This important duty means that the client may have a high-quality project but at a reduced cost over. So, let us take a refresh on the main duties of the quantity surveyor in the construction industry:
  • Material and quantity takeoff
  • Estimation
  • Procurement
  • Contracts
  • Dispute resolution and claims
  • Risk management
  • Value management
With the above bullet points, it is the main duty to be accurate in the information, reports, and advice that a quantity surveyor provides to their clients. In the next blog, we will look at the roles of a quantity surveyor in the various companies they can work for. Companies such a client-side or practice quantity surveyor, a builders or contractors quantity surveyor, a subcontractor’s quantity surveyor or a few other types of roles they can play. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog on the duties of a quantity surveyor and we hope it has given you an informative insight into those duties throughout the life cycle of a project. If you like the blog, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media platform and leave a comment below!

23 Aug

What are the quantity surveyor responsibilities?

What are the quantity surveyor responsibilities?

What are the quantity surveyor responsibilities…well in a nutshell, the Quantity Surveyor is one of the most valuable professional resources a construction project can have. During the lifetime of a project, the quantity surveyor wears many hats – and his responsibilities include cost estimator, negotiator, project coordinator and the most important role of cost manager. responsibilities of a quantity surveyor Here are just a few responsibilities of a quantity surveyor:
  • Whether the project is big or small, the quantity surveyor is deemed responsible for managing finances related to the overall construction process.
  • They have the responsibility to ensure that the project remains on schedule and is completed on time.
  • While the project is live, the quantity surveyor keeps track of the costs incurred and is responsible for making sure that everything falls within the original budgets.
  • The quantity surveyor must continually be on the lookout for the most efficient, cost-effective ways to get the project completed.
  1. Cost feasibility and estimating.
Cost feasibilities are conducted at the start of a project by a QS to make that the project will be financially viable for the end-user. It is the responsibility of the quantity surveyor to use initial design drawings to work out the budgets for the project. This allows the end-user to understand how much a project is going to cost. Feasibility studies will look at all the costs from acquiring the land, constructing the project and then maintaining it during use. It is important to factor in all these costs so that the end-user can make an informed choice to move ahead with the work or not. Estimating is conducted by the QS to find out the cost of the components of the project. For example, how lights the project will require and the cost to supply and install them on the job. This happens for all the areas of construction from the foundations to the final painting and finishing of the project. The responsibility of the quantity surveyor is accurately cost the project for the end-user. quantity surveyor responsibility
  1. Keeping the project on budget
During the construction, it is the QS’s responsibility to make sure the project stays on budget throughout the process. Cost monitoring and planning allows this to happen with the quantity surveyor keep a close eye on the delays, variations or disputes that may arise during construction. Keeping a close eye on these things will allow the timely finish of the project as well which is beneficial to all parties. The quantity surveyor’s responsibility is making sure they advise their employer of anything that may affect the completion of the cost of the project going forward. quantity surveyor responsibilities
  1. Contracts
Before during and after construction is heavily reliant on good contract negotiations and administration which again is a vital responsibility of the QS. Prior to the work starting, several contracts will have to negotiate with the architects and structural designers prior to any design being completed. At the start of the project, the QS would have to engage a contractor or builder to build the designed project and a contract would need to be in place there to make sure the project gets built. The builder would need to have contracts in place with its subcontractors and suppliers to make sure their work getting delivered correctly and on time. Depending on who the quantity surveyor works for it would be their responsibility to make sure the contracts are in place and are being administered effectively.

Quantity surveyor responsibilities.

Due to the wide scope of this role, certain skills are thought to be helpful when studying to become a QS. These skills include:
  • A logical, analytical mind will help you effectively assess the requirements of the project.
  • Commitment and focus are also important traits for a quantity surveyor. You will be expected to remain committed to the completion of the project and may have to stay on-site for long periods of time.
  • Good communication skills are vital to the success of any profession these days, and quantity surveyors are no exception. The ability to communicate effectively with different people involved in the project will help you make better decisions and complete the project without experiencing any major issues.
  • Since most quantity-surveying work revolves around cost management, you will be expected to be comfortable, if not exceptional, with numbers.
  • In addition, quantity surveyors are expected to be able to work well with different people; thus, it will help if you are a great team player.
  • Leadership skills are also an important asset throughout the entire process since quantity surveyors are deemed to be responsible for a wide range of activities during the project.
  • Concentration is an essential skill. Many of the tasks require deep thought, great imagination, and creative ideas to solve problems and issues that will always occur in the industry.
responsibility of quantity surveyor We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and have understood a bit more about the responsibilities of a quantity surveyor in construction. Please feel free to leave a comment or to share this on your social media platforms as it would really help us out.

23 Aug

What is the role of a quantity surveyor?

What's the role of the quantity surveyor in construction?

What is the role of a quantity surveyor ….is always a good question as it seems to be asked all the time and everywhere you go the description seems to be different? From talking to people to reading or watching videos on YouTube this blog should give you a good insight into the roles of a quantity surveyor in construction. There are truly several different roles that a quantity surveyor can play depending on where they want to be in their career. Quantity surveyors (QS) can change career direction if they would like to try another role in the quantity surveyor easily. the role of a quantity surveyor

Role of the quantity surveyor

Let’s that a look at the different roles based on who your employer is:
  1. Role of the client-side or end user’s quantity surveyor

This can also be known as well as a consultant quantity surveyor or a professional quantity surveyor but, in this role, the QS would be working for the end-user or the client. For example, they would be working for the homeowner or the builder owner or maybe the government. Basically, the person or company who is going to be using the end project that is being built. During this role the quantity surveyor would usually have some of the following tasks:
  • Conducting a feasibility proposal – this means that their role would be to make sure a project is financially viable to pursue. This may be done by finding out land costs, potential sale costs once completed, building costs and maybe building permits as well.
The role during this part of the project would also involve engaging designers to draw concept designs to show what potentially can be built. The drawings can be used to prepare a budget price on the job to again check its likelihood of success in the future.
  • Value engineering – is required throughout a project to test the value that a client will receive at the end of a project against the cost. Value engineering is a role that the QS will play in finding alternative products that match the quality required by the client which are more cost-effective.
As an example, a new type of glass window may be available on the market which the designers are not aware of that matches the project requirements and is cheaper overall. The role there would be to inform the client and designers of the potential to value engineer the windows to save on cost but not compromise on quality.
  • Cost-benefit analysis – looks at the cost versus the benefits of certain things in a project. The role of the QS would be to accurately work out the difference between two options to work out which one is the best. It is a systematic approach to working out the advantages and disadvantages of an option.
  • Life cycle costing – looks at all the costs of a project from the land acquisition, the building, the maintenance and everything else right through until the demolition of the project.
The life cycle costing is an important role of the quantity surveyor in construction as it looks at all the materials and building methods to make sure they can stand the test of time. As an example, if the building life expectancy is 50 years then the structure must be designed, built and maintained to last that long. Products or materials that can not last that long will have to either removed or replaced during the life cycle of the building which has a cost attached to it. It is important for the client to know how much the building will cost to maintain until it is demolished.
  • Project commercial management – if a project is live then the clients QS would be required to manage the contracts for the work. This contract generally would be between the client and the builder.
Terms of the contract such as payment items, variation clauses, and insurance clauses would all need to be actioned during the project and it would the quantity surveyor’s role to make sure these items are actioned correctly. A client’s quantity surveyor would usually spend most of their time in an office sitting at a desk. Occasional site visits would be required for progress claims and variations to be settled between the parties. The role would usually entail wearing a suit and tie to work and working with other professionals during the day. role of quantity surveyor in construction
  1. Role of the contractors or builder’s quantity surveyor

The contractors or builder’s quantity surveyor would be required to help them in several areas. The main people they would deal with are the client and the subcontractors and suppliers to the project.
  • Tendering – builders are required to provide quotes for projects. If their quote is successful, then they win the project and can start working.
  • Quantity take-offs – the client’s team will provide the builder with design drawings and specifications which the QS will be required to do a quantity takeoff. This would then produce a list of items and activities needed to complete the works.
  • Estimating – the bill of quantities would be passed onto the estimator who would use it to gain market pricing for all the components to complete the project.
  • Contracts administration – if the builder is successful in winning the project then the quantity surveyors’ role may change to that of a contract’s administrator.
  • Final accounts – once the construction has come to complete the final account will be produced, discussed and settled.
  • Project management – during the construction the quantity surveyor’s role may be to project manage the construction.
Being a contractors’ quantity surveyor, you expect to spend half of the time in an office and the other half on-site or visiting sites. Generally, you would wear smart casual clothing and site work clothing when required. This can be a very busy type of role during the day with having many different parties to deal with. Meeting deadlines for work is essential for the smooth running of the business. Liaising with the client and the subcontractors and supplier can also be an expected role for the quantity surveyor. quantity surveying roles
  1. Role of the subcontractors' quantity surveyor

The subcontractor’s quantity surveyors’ roles would be very similar to that of a builder’s quantity surveyor. The only difference is that the QS would generally not deal with the client. They would be tasked with many of the above-mentioned activities. Working with a subcontractor may involve more frequent trips to the site during the week. Subcontractors generally have more than one project they are working on at any time. As the subcontractor generally special in one type of trade then your quantity surveyor will be the focus around that trade. As an example, if you are working for an electrical subcontractor then you would only be dealing with electrical projects. This is ok if you want to specialise in that trade however it can limit your career progression if you wanted to try another trade.
  1. Role of the dispute resolutions or claims quantity surveyor

A dispute or claims quantity surveyors’ roles would be to assist when the terms of the contract or the conduct of a party are unclear. Disputes can arise from many different things in the contract. The quantity surveyors’ roles here is to provide advice on the dispute, find the root cause of the problems and resolve the dispute between the clients. Quantity surveyors in this type of role will generally have a good number of years’ experience in the industry. Their experience will be required to diligently and fairly resolve the disputes that arise. roles of a qs Thank you for reading our blog on the roles of a quantity surveyor in construction. We hope it has given you a good insight into which roles you would like to play within the industry. Please feel free to share this on your favorite social media platform or leave a comment below which we will answer. We have written various other blogs on quantity surveying so why not spend some time reading those if this one was of interest to you.  

23 Jul

Construction Material Take Off

Construction material take off is part of the factors that influence construction cost estimating. Usually, construction material take offs are necessary for every construction project. Like many other aspects of the construction process, there are simple and complex take offs.

What is a Construction Material Take Off?

There are many names to describe a construction material take off. These include material take off, quantity take off, construction take off, or just take off. For many people outside the construction industry, these names can be confusing. However, they all basically refer to the same thing. A construction material take off provides two types of information. First, there’s a provision for a comprehensive list of materials to be used in the construction process. Then there are the total costs for the materials. For every material take off prepared, the costs are adjusted before submission to accounting for fluctuations in market values as well as material wastage.

What a Construction Material Take Off Entails?

In practice, material take-off is quite complex, however in theory, it is a walk in the park. The complexity of a take-off depends on the size and scope of a project. In order to successfully complete a construction project, it is essential to understand what a construction material take off entails. Through a detailed material take-off, the construction cost estimator can advise on a number of aspects of the construction process, including costs.

Material Quantities

The primary use of a construction material take-off is to give a comprehensive list of materials necessary for the completion of a project. Depending on the complexity and scale of the project, the list varies in size. A construction cost estimator must include every material needed on the material take-off. To prepare a construction material take off, estimators must first determine what kind of materials are needed for the project. To do that, estimators study the blueprints and schematics of a construction project. Project plans and architectural drawings can also provide this information. Depending on the size of the project, material take-offs can be done by one estimator or a team. Using the project plans and blueprints, estimators consult with the engineer and architect on the material specifications required for the project. In cases where a subcontractor does the material take-off, they may refer to their notes on previous projects to come up with a list of all the materials needed for the project. Usually, this is either done manually or digitally. Material take-off will not only entail the materials required but also the quantities they’re required. A construction material take-off, in other words, is a reference point on the kind of materials and the amounts necessary for the completion of a project. Accuracy is essential when it comes to preparing a material take-off. Manual takeoffs require a lot of time to study and systematically compile a list of materials and quantities. Digital material take-off, on the other hand, is more accurate and less time-consuming. By feeding the schematics, project plans or blueprints into an estimation software, it generates the material list. Also, the material quantities are assigned depending on the type of material. Four types of quantities play into construction material take off. First, prefabricated materials only require a simple count. Ready-made materials include windows, doors, and light fixtures. For each product, there should be a description explaining the exact model needed and the number of the same type of material to be ordered for the project. Secondly, some materials require length quantification like lumber, ducting, molding, and steel piping.  Each of these materials requires that the estimator indicate the length and width measurements. Sometimes, an estimator may also be required to indicate the total weight needed because of shipping considerations. The third way of quantifying materials in a take-off is through volume. Materials like concrete or asphalt require this. For this, estimators must be familiar with calculations for determining volume. In the last couple of decades, there has been a need to quantify materials using area. This is necessary for materials such as roofing, tiles, and flooring. They are often expressed in terms of square feet. Some of the other considerations to keep in mind when preparing a material take-off is the weight required for materials. Determining the weight of materials makes it easier to determine shipping and transportation costs as well. Detailed descriptions are also included in most material take-offs. The description is very crucial to ensuring that the exact material specifications are met when placing an order for the materials. The descriptions also guarantee that the correct materials are listed in the take-off. Moreover, this helps ensure that cost estimates are accurate.

Material Costs

The second part of material take-off is a breakdown of material costs. Usually, this second part relies on the first part, which is material quantities and types. Therefore, depending on how the first part of the take-off is done, determining material costs can either be time-consuming or easy and straightforward. Essentially, material costs are the part where estimators apply an estimated cost to each type of material on the list. With an itemized breakdown of the costs, then the estimator can easily arrive at the total material costs for the project. For the final material cost estimate, good judgment, critical thinking, and impeccable mathematical skills are necessary. Not forgetting, knowledge of the construction industry, and material market values. For most material take-offs, a manual markup for each material is included to account for material waste and shortages during construction. Also, sometimes, the costs of materials can increase over time; therefore, including a markup on certain materials ensures that the project remains profitable. There will be no additional costs if more materials are required for the project. Assigning material costs to every item on the material take-off is time-consuming, especially for industrial construction projects. However, through subcontractors, the process can be easier, especially if they’re familiar with the prices associated with certain materials in their line of work. For large projects and projects in different locations, estimators should secure bids for various materials from suppliers. To determine material costs for material take-off, estimators can get bids from suppliers. This is common for industrial projects. Second, estimators can use a self-created database that includes material costs for commonly used materials. Finally, estimators can also use material cost database like RS Means to arrive at material cost estimates. Through such databases, contractors can produce accurate bids and material cost estimates that reflect the variance in material costs in different locations.

How to Create a Material Take Off?

As earlier mentioned, there are manual and digital material take-offs. These are the two ways through which a material cost can be created. Creating a manual material take-off is not only time consuming but also prone to errors and being the oldest form of creating material take-offs; however, makes it indispensable.  Digital material take-offs, on the other hand, are more recent and require less time to prepare. A digital material take-off uses construction cost estimating software that has digital take-off capabilities. Digital takeoffs are very popular today; however, they are still gaining traction in the industry. Compared to manual take offs, digital take offs have more benefits, especially for time-sensitive projects. Understanding these two ways of creating a construction material take off help estimators, contractors, and subcontractors determine the best course of action when creating material take-offs. While manual material take-offs are traditional, today, manual takeoffs also rely on computer software. Some of the more challenging aspects of creating a material take-off are now simplified for easy navigation. One of the biggest disadvantages of a manual take-off is the time it takes to complete a take-off, especially in today’s fast-paced world. More than consuming time, however, with a manual takeoff, it is easier to miss a material or input certain materials twice. However, it is essential to keep in mind that material takeoffs are revised and adjusted several times before the final order is placed. On the flip side, digital take offs are making the material take-off easier and more accurate. So many processes and steps in the take-off are now automated. Depending on the type of digital software used, the process will differ since different software feature different functions. With a digital takeoff, the time spent studying blueprints is removed since you can upload the designs or project plans on to the software and have a material list automatically produced. Digital takeoffs cut down on the leg work, which means that the labor costs are also considerably reduced. Moreover, with an automated process, there is less chance of inaccuracy and errors resulting from omission.

To Sum Up

Construction material takeoffs are a core component of a construction cost estimate. Therefore, a high degree of accuracy is demanded. In today’s world, speed and efficiency are favored, which is why digital take-offs have a clear advantage over manual take-offs that are time-consuming.

23 Jul

Quantity Take Off in Construction: What Is It?

In construction quantity take off is very essential and it should be keenly monitored. It is one of the factors in construction cost estimating, and gives a clear view of the entire process. When dealing with both large and small projects quantity take-offs can be used in order to get the total costs for the whole process and also to determine whether the project is of profitable to the contractor and the client. The final estimate of a construction project is very dependent on quantity take offs. During the estimation process, the contractor, subcontractors and quantity surveyors will produce estimates at different stages of the construction process. Sometimes, people in the construction industry prefer to forego the long process of quantity take off and estimation. Therefore, they might not realize the value of a quantity take off as well as how much easier it makes the construction process. For this, it is important to highlight the importance of a quantity take off and also define what it is and what it does. Let’s start by defining a quantity take off.

What is a Quantity Take off?

quantity take off example In the simplest terms possible, a quantity take off is a list of all the materials necessary for a construction project. Despite being a simple concept, quantity take offs are complex. Before construction commences, it is important to know all the material take offs required as well as their sizes and amounts. Therefore, the cost estimator needs to compile a comprehensive list of costs for all the listed materials. To produce a quantity take off, contractors and cost estimators must study an analyze the blueprints an schematics of the construction project. From these documents, the estimator can compile a list of all the materials required and in what sizes as well as quantity. Quantity take off is not easy, walk in the park task. In the past, estimators needed to be skilled and experienced in preparing quantity take offs. However, today, the use of digital estimation is making work easier. Granted, construction estimators still need to be accurate and skilled, but the process is no longer as time-consuming as it was in the past. Digital estimation software makes it easy for estimators to produce accurate digital take offs. Needless to say, quantity take offs play an integral role in the construction process. It helps inform the contractor of the quality and quantity of the materials required. Quantity take offs account for a large percentage of the final estimate, therefore, the take off should not only be accurate but also feature up to date market prices. Quantity take offs are the very first stage which is done during the bidding process, although an estimator can make few changes only if there is some design changes or client preference design. A quantity take off can be changed until the decided design is met and so large complex projects can have as many revisions to the quantity take off as compared to smaller projects.

Components of a Quantity Take Off

As earlier discussed, the purpose of a quantity take off is to provide a list of all materials required for a construction project. They also detail the costs of each material. That is the basis of the quantity take off. However, there are other components of a quantity take off. The first part of a quantity take off is the compilation of a list of all the materials required for the project. Here, the list will feature all raw materials like concrete, steel, lumber and many others. Then, the take off will also include prefabrication in construction, necessary for the project. Take off is coined from taking off all the materials from project design, blueprint or schematics. Therefore, even as an estimator creates a list of materials, they also need to note down the specifics of each of these materials. Prefabricated items, on the other hand, only require a simple count. However, raw materials like lumber, you need to include the type, weight and also account for shipping, storage and transportation costs. When quantifying materials, there is a high amount of detail required. If the wrong materials are ordered, then they derail the project timeline which then leads to more costs. Manual quantity take offs require an estimator who is not afraid of complex mathematics. One who is not only accurate but thorough and time conscious. Moreover, the estimator must also be familiar with construction conditions before producing a quantity take off. A good understanding of the construction process can help an estimator carry out the quantity take off with little to no setbacks. It is essential that an estimator also includes extra materials for every material to account for wastage and damages during the construction process. Armed with the comprehensive list of the materials required, specifications and quantities, the estimator can now proceed to prepare the price estimates for the materials. Quantity take offs basically help an estimator know what materials are needed for the construction project and also provide the total estimated costs for the materials. For large construction projects, a cost estimator can rely on bids from material suppliers to prepare the material cost estimates. However, the estimator can also use their database of material costs, especially for smaller projects. However, it is crucial that their database is up to date and in line with current market values. Once the estimator has the material costs for each material, then they can proceed to prepare a total material cost estimate. It is always advisable to markup the total material costs. Markup depends on several factors. Also important to note, market prices are in constant flux, therefore, the estimator should also consider factors that could influence material prices. However, when a contractor is placing a bid, they need to remain within a realistic space as other bidders. A very low or very high bid will raise suspicions.

Types of Quantity Take off

There are many people that can prepare a quantity take off, this is not exclusively left to construction cost estimators. Therefore, each quantity take off is unique. Everyone has their way of preparing a quantity take off and may also present their cost analysis in different ways. However, even with the unique ways of conducting quantity take offs, there are two major types of quantity take offs. The manual take off has been dominant for a long time, however, the emergence of digital take off software has made digital take offs very popular.

Manual Take off

A manual take off is done manually. In other words, it is a take off that does not rely on the assistance of digital software. Manual take offs are done by hand, estimators will examine physical drawings of a construction project and note down all the materials required for construction. Manual take offs today utilize a bit of assistance form computer software. While the information is still entered by hand, the computer only helps keep the data in one place.

Digital Take off

Thanks to technology, there are cost estimation programs that have digital take off capabilities. Therefore, a digital quantity take off is completed digitally. It goes without saying that a digital take off is more beneficial than the manual take off. First, a digital take off is less time consuming than a manual take off. Also, calculations are done digitally. Each program has features that aid in the process. Instead of going through blueprints and schematics manually, a scan is uploaded to the program and then the program will analyze and generate a list of the materials required. After that, the estimator can then make adjustments to the list provided by the program, for example increasing the materials to account for damages. Complex calculations are embedded in the program and therefore the estimator only needs to feed the accurate data into the program. Using digital take off is easier than the tedious process of a manual take off. Some digital software can even draw cost data from construction cost databases available online. All an estimator needs to do in a digital take off is apply markups to the prices. Manual take offs are still in use since people are taking some time to adjust to digital take offs, however, they are slowly fading out of use due to the huge difference in benefits between the two. Using digital take offs thins the margin of error and also helps the estimator work faster and more efficiently. The process of creating a quantity take off is rigorous and demands a high level of concentration and attention to detail. Digital take offs are increasingly popular because they automate many of the aspects of a take off that are time-consuming and tedious. It is essential that every take off is accurate to prevent errors and delays in the construction process as well as contractor bids.

To Sum Up

Construction is a process that requires attention, especially when dealing with large projects to ensure that it turns out to be profitable and also to make sure that the right materials are used to avoid complications in the course of construction.

23 Jul

How To Do Construction Estimating? [Ultimate Guide]

Construction is a risky process that entails numerous variables. Every stakeholder in the construction industry knows this. When coming up with an accurate project estimate, it can pose challenges, especially for people working within the construction industry. A transparent forecast of any project before it begins is very crucial. This is especially true for contractors, property owners, and the cost estimator working on the project. A cost forecast often sets the project in the right direction and ensures that there are no delays. A cost estimate also helps inform the client and contractor how long the project will take before it even begins. This is very crucial to the success of the project. While coming up with cost estimates, it is essential to keep in mind variables like the design, site location, and specs as well as availability of labor. An estimate that is set too high is a disadvantage for contractors since the client will go with another bidder. However, it is important to have an accurate bid. Coming in too low will open an entirely different can of problems. Overestimating and underestimating both have negative consequences when it comes to construction. As such, understanding the ins and outs of the construction industry is important, especially cost estimating. Constructing estimating is perhaps the most crucial step of the construction process. Therefore, it is important that we discuss how to do construction estimating.

Understanding the Construction Estimation process

Understanding the Construction Estimation process It is essential that contractors and property owners understand the process of cost estimation. First, they must have some general knowledge of the construction process. To help smooth the process, below is an outline of the primary phases of project construction.
  1.   Commissioning a project

In simple terms, commissioning a project is the verification process that the owner’s specifications regarding designs are met. This is basically the earliest stage of the construction process and usually runs up to a year of building use or occupancy. Commissioning a project is done by a commissioning provider, who in many cases is a firm that has experience in commissioning structures.
  1.   Determining building requirements

Moving from the commissioning a project phase, the elements is when the pre-design phase begins. In this phase, the project specifications and requirements are outlined. This also includes the function of the building, the projected cost, location, and any other conditions, legal or otherwise that pertain to the project.

III.    Choosing a design team

The design team is the next step in the construction process. The project owner will contract an architect who forms a team of consultants and comes up with project design. Depending on the design, the project will need to meet specific criteria, for instance, housing hazardous materials. In such a case, the design team needs additional consultants to guarantee that the structure meets all necessary requirements. Despite having a team, the architect runs this phase and oversees all the aspects of the project design process. However, the group of consultants may include an engineer, especially for industrial construction projects.
  1.   Designing the structure

Once all the requirements are met, and the team of designers has an idea of the expected project design, the architect creates building designs. In this step, a couple of things happen, such as:
  •   The architect should present an outstanding design to the client who’ll approve the design
  •   Once that’s done, the architect collaborates with consultants to decide on design specifics that are in line with the requirements.
  •   Lastly, the architect will create and present construction drawings. This is the construction documents phase. From these blueprints, the contractor will build. It is important that the specifications on the design appear in MasterFormat, which is the standard format. Estimators work off of the blueprints to produce and revise costs for a project.
  1.   Bidding based on the scope of work

At this stage, the construction documents are finalized and released to the contractor. The contractors can now begin bidding on the project. Also, the instructions on how to submit bids, a sample contract agreement, and any financial and technical requirements are included. It is essential to define the scope of work. These documents help contractors come up with estimates. For a fair bidding process, all contractors receive identical information. The project owner will then choose the most suitable bid for the project.
  1.   Signing the contract

After selecting a contractor, they need to prepare an agreement with the owner and sign these documents. The contract documents entail the bidding documents, which become a legal contract between the owner and the contractor. There are numerous contract types that a contractor and an owner can enter into depending on how complete the construction design is. These different types of contracts serve to satisfy different payment scenarios.

VII.    Construction phase

At this point, construction can now begin. The contractor will oversee the building and ensure that it is in line with the construction documentation. A general contractor enlists specialized contractors for different tasks in the construction process. The contractor is responsible for overseeing cost control. It is important that the expenditure does not exceed the estimates. Cost control is the only way that a contractor can make profits from a project.

VIII.    Close-out Phase

When the building is almost done, the contractor requests the architect to conduct an in-depth completion inspection. In the inspection, the architect verifies the status of the project. At this stage, the contractor must have the punch list, which is a document that lists any incomplete work and any necessary corrections. The architect can add any incomplete items to the punch list after inspection.
  1.   Completion

The contractor, at this stage, will have cleared all the incomplete work detailed on the punch list. After that, the architect comes in for a final inspection. If the project is completed according to construction specifications, then the architect issues a certificate of final completion. With this certificate, the contractor can receive the full payment for the project.

A guide to Construction Estimating

Construction Estimating Guide FreeConstruction cost estimating is a phase in the construction process that dates back to the 18th century. British quantity surveyors first introduced it. Back then, the process was nothing short of time-consuming and tiresome, but it was effective. Today, estimation techniques have evolved, and the process is much more seamless. The construction estimating process is essential to the success of any project, regardless of the project size. Therefore, let’s explore construction cost estimating:

The Take-off Process

Precision is everything when it comes to the take-off process. Contractors cannot prepare accurate and competitive bids without accurately detailing everything about the project. It is vital that contractors research and compile data as precisely as possible. Misinformation in the construction industry is very detrimental. These can hinder the construction estimate and cause losses.

Keep the Unit Cost Estimating guides realistic

Estimations based on unit cost estimating guides are not fool-proof. Therefore, to obtain accurate estimations, you have to be realistic. This is mainly because of the variables that affect your project. In these cases, the unit cost guides should only be used as a ballpark measuring tool.

The organization is essential: The master checklist

estimating checklist constructionThe obvious things are often overlooked, which is why it is important to stress this. Using a master checklist is perhaps the most effective way to track the cost estimation process. The checklist also prevents you from forgetting crucial details and steps in the estimating process. For instance, it is easy to forget landscaping, permits, or other requirements. With a master checklist, you can even track costs and also organize all your information in one place.

Pay attention to Details across all platforms

When handling a project with many phases, a lot of information and variables, it is easy to focus on some areas and overlook other areas. In the construction industry, you cannot afford to ignore even the tiniest detail. These trivial items can lead to cost overruns and other financial pitfalls that could frustrate the process. When in doubt, consult specific subcontractors and consultants who can assist.

Labor specialization is key, but have an hourly rate

quantity surveyor hourly rateDuring the construction process, specialty labor is not only required to include their regular wages and benefits but also adhere to state and federal payroll costs. As a result, you should consider this when establishing their hourly rate. With this in mind, you can then build on the specialty crew and determine the crew rate.

Define cost analysis

There are risks involved in every project. Therefore, it is crucial to define the project risks as well as a factor in the costs resulting from these risks. To start with, look at previous projects, this helps in identifying the unknowns that become profit predators. Past data is an excellent reference point, especially for general contractors. These records help with future estimation.

Understand price fluctuations

Understand price fluctuationsMarket value trends will always affect the estimation process. The prices of products and materials are in a state of flux, and therefore, construction cost estimators must be in the know whenever a shift occurs. It is also imperative to pay attention to factors that affect pricing. Some questions that could guide an estimator include:
  •   Do you have delivery challenges? Are they specific
  •   Is the product custom?
  •   Is there a high demand for a product or material?
  •   Is the material or product needed faster than the manufacturer’s turn-around time?
  •   What are the seasonal limitations that affect logistics or shifts to the market price?

Determine Project Cost Centers

When creating project cost estimates, you need to be sure what portions of the project contribute to the overall project expenditures by the most significant percentage. With this in mind, you can focus on cost centers to define the scope, tasks, materials, and labor required.

Account for operation costs and project support

This is important for general contractors and owners. Expenses that may fall out of the scope of material costs and direct labor but still relate to the project. It’s important to keep this in mind so that you can account for these costs. These include:
  •   Job site offices
  • importance of project cost management   Administration and project operation costs
  •   Architectural and engineering services
  •   Land acquisition costs
  •   Legal services
  •   Shipping and storage
  •   Staffing
  •   Utilities

Outline equipment requirements

To ensure that you don’t forget or overlook the necessary equipment for the construction process, it is important to outline the equipment requirements for the project. Also, ensure that the equipment is the right size. This helps reduce and avoid redundancies. When coming up with estimates for the project, remember to consider small tools and equipment.

Evaluate subcontractor quotes

This is another crucial step to construction estimating. Here, you check potential subcontractor quotes. Always compare more than one for every scope of work on material and labor basis. In other words, you need to be thorough when considering which subcontractors to work with for the project. A subcontractor who can provide a solid estimate based on project scope is the best decision for any construction project.

Consider the chance of success before placing a bid

Placing a bidFor contractors, this is the only sure way to make profits. Having a record of previous bids and their outcomes can help inform your decisions moving forward. Keep track of every bid and assess your progress. At the same time, compare your profit margin to those of competing bids. Through this, it is easy to spot bidders that constantly underbid you or bid against your projects. In such a case, consider withdrawing your offer because you need to make profits, not losses.

Maintain an open line of communication with your material supplier

Without proper materials for the project, you’ll find yourself frustrated. Therefore, it is important to foster a relationship with your supplier. Check with your material supplier and get their professional insights when purchasing materials. Remember, both of you stand to benefit from this. Once you build trust with a supplier, they’ll recommend the best-suited materials for your projects to help you remain within the budget.

Track your progress

Accurate project estimates are only one part of the construction estimating process; however, they set the pace for everything else. Executing each project thoroughly requires a lot of resources; therefore, you have to utilize various tools to track your progress and ensure accuracy. Worksheets, estimating products and software will help you create competitive and attractive bids that will turn profits and guarantee successful projects.

To sum up

Construction cost estimating is not an easy process, but it is crucial for the success of any project. The construction industry understands this, and while the techniques have evolved, there is still a lot of groundwork and mathematics to be done. Therefore, accuracy is key to succeeding in construction estimating. Adhering to this guide goes a long way to help understand how to tackle the process systematically.