What does a quantity surveyor actually do?
What does a quantity surveyor do in construction is a widespread question we get asked all of the time. This blog should explain to you in detail what they do and for more information about the job read our other blog here on what is a quantity surveyor.
As a project stakeholder, you need to be sure your construction project is on time and on the budget, and that you’re getting the best quality for your money – but how do you achieve this? In a nutshell, you call in a quantity surveyor: a professional, whose job it is to ensure that you receive maximum value for your money.
Quantity surveyors will help you acquire premium quality materials and labour at the most cost-effective rates. From years of experience, they know that virtually any project can at any time be subject to unexpected costs, and they are there to keep things running smoothly whatever the situation.
Here’s a list of the main things a quantity surveyor would do during any construction project:
- Quantity take-off
- Cost control and management
- Contract Management
- Risk management
- Project management
Let’s take a look at each one in isolation.
2. Estimation – once your BOQ is ready, an estimator can use it to build the rates in line with the list of quantities. So, for example, if the BOQ shows that there is 10m3 of concrete to be poured into a foundation, the estimator works out the cost of performing that task. This would include working out the cost of the concrete, the labour required to put the concrete in the right place, and the plant required to do the job.
3. Cost control and management – can occur at any stage during the project. As soon as a construction project has been initiated, the challenge of cost control and management starts, and with it comes another key role for our quantity surveyor. Controlling the cost from the very start is vital if the project is to be completed within a particular budget.
Having been involved in setting the budget for a project, the quantity surveyor must ensure that the budget remains realistic as the project progresses. Unforeseen hurdles can increase costs. The quantity surveyor’s job is to minimize these costs throughout the project. This can be achieved by allocating risks to other parties.
4. Contract management – The quantity surveyor may also act as a negotiator during the construction. For example, if a certain change in the project is likely to affect costs, the surveyor may negotiate with the party concerned and reach a mutually beneficial solution. Sometimes, if the owner is running short of cash, the quantity surveyor can work with the bank to acquire extra financing for the project.
6. Procurement – the purchasing of all the elements required in order for the project to go ahead. The quantity surveyor will generally be tasked with putting together subcontractor packages, scopes, lettings, and procurement schedules.
This includes preparing the correct project documentation and information to be sent out to other parties for pricing. Once the parties have submitted their tenders, the quantity surveyor reviews the prices and deals with any items that need clarification.
After reaching a decision on the best value for money, the quantity surveyor negotiates a contract with the winning bidder. This process can take from one day to six months depending on the complexity of the items being procured.
As a quantity surveyor on a construction project, you are part estimator and part negotiator. It is therefore important to be an effective team player. Having strong quantitative skills helps candidates to prepare accurate budgets and reports that help stakeholders keep up to speed with project spending. With state-of-the-art construction projects being initiated in the year 2018 a quantity surveyor can play an effective role in the country’s economy.