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Professional Quantity Surveying Practices – Adding Value to the Construction Process

The quantity surveying process brings a substantial benefit to large commercial projects and also to small-scale projects. Evaluation and assessment of a construction project continuously by quantity surveyors; helps in cost estimation, documentation & procurement of contracts, general administration of cost, proper utilization of resources, reduction in waste, and conflict minimization, to mention a few. 

The spectrum of quantity surveying services and their benefits is quite broad. Here, each service contributes to the overall development of the project. At the design stage, quantity surveying services define the financial viability of the design. Quantity surveyor (QS) facilitate effective procurement and cost management procedure. 

Management, administration, and monitoring of the construction process by quantity surveyors bring the sustainable success of the project. 

As part of construction cost estimation, the practice of quantity surveying techniques helps plan the project budget and avoid unnecessary financial hurdles and risks. 

What Is Quantity Survey and the Role of a Professional Quantity Surveyor 

Quantity survey deals in the estimation, planning, and control of the cost for the construction projects. Several techniques get used through the project lifecycle for costing a building. The quantity surveying techniques are feasibility and viability studies, estimation and quantification of work, cost planning, procurement and tendering contract control, and construction management. 

At the inception stage, a quantity survey helps to know if the project idea is economically achievable or not. Cost estimation gives an appropriate budget for the project. Based on it, if to curtail the cost or proceed with it is decided. Different cost of the project at several design stages gets estimated in advance, and it helps in effective and efficient utilization of materials, manpower, and machines. Construction work and progress are thoroughly analyzed, and variation claims supported, with documents as a cost-control measure. 

Role of a Professional Quantity Surveyor 

Quantity surveyors are the professionals who perform the quantity surveying process. A quantity surveyor is skillful and knows construction technology, construction cost, and contracts. Also, to plan and schedule construction activities and resource allocation, updated information on the market, tools, and equipment is required by QS. 

The QS is involved in a wide range of activities from the pre-stage to the post-construction phase. Key tasks performed by a quantity surveyor are 

  • Feasibility study and Preliminary Cost-analysis 

The feasibility study is an early-stage assessment that helps identify the economic viability of a construction project. And if it can meet the requirement of the developer or client. A quantity surveyor can refer to the basic sketch drawings with gross internal floor area, and the number of stories, for the feasibility study. 

For preliminary cost estimation, QS’s use the cost data of previous projects, BCIS, etc., and consider the location, construction methods, and associated cost. 

  • Cost Planning 

Based on the preliminary cost analysis, the project’s budget gets developed. A cost plan, the target cost for each element or part of the project, is also formed. 

Tools like vector quantity surveying and estimating software; can be used to develop the cost plan. 

Effective cost planning helps get a realistic cost estimate. The estimated cost is approved between the stakeholders and can get followed from the contractor’s tender to the final project cost. 

  • Advice on Procurement strategies 

QS is responsible for suggesting the best construction procurement method by considering the characteristics of the employers, the client’s flexibility of change, time, external factors, cost, and project’s scale and complexity. 

Construction procurement Methods like lump-sum contracts, measurement contracts, and cost-reimbursement contracts are used based on the construction procurement system. 

  • Preparation of Tender documents and BOQ 

The tender documents prepared by QS are the letter of invitation to tender, form of tender, form of contract and conditions, work schedules, etc. 

QS prepares the BOQ that contains the list of specific materials required for the project based on the drawings and details mentioned in the tender documents. QS uses BIM and other quantity takeoff software to prepare BOQ’s. 

  • Evaluation of construction work 

During construction work, the QS evaluates the work progress and prepares cash flow data for the client. Any changes made in the project and their impact on the budget get monitored by the QS. 

  • Final account preparation 

After the project is complete, QS creates a final account following the work performed and services rendered. The final cost gets negotiated with the contractors and sub-contractors. 

Quantity Surveying in Different Stages of Construction 

Quantity surveying plays a vivid and strategic role from pre-construction to post-construction stages of a project. QS is involved in planning costs to preparing tenders and final preparation of bills. 

Role of Quantity surveying in different phases of construction 

Pre-construction phase 

The pre-construction phase consists of several stages, such as inception & feasibility, design, and tender. 

  • Inception & Feasibility stage 

At the inception and feasibility stage, the QS liaison with the client, architects, and design engineers. For understanding the Project Owner’s need and perform the project feasibility study. The client and design team are informed but the implications of the proposed project and the associated preliminary cost. 

For example, if one wants to set up a tower, it is vital to estimate the cost. It helps to check if there is enough money to finish the project. 

The project budget and cost planning establish to avoid cost overruns during the construction phase. 

  • Design stage 

Quantity surveyors at the design stage get indulged in value engineering. They suggest modifications or changes in the initial design and alternative solutions to minimize the wastage of materials and budget of the project. 

For instance, a quantity surveyor can suggest design changes such as flat slabs to solid slabs. Changes in construction methods to reduce the cost of the project. 

  • Tendering stage 

QS advises on tendering and contractual plans, considering the Project Owners’ needs and data from designers. A detailed and final tender estimate gets prepared along with the architect. 

QS supports selecting the tender based on the tenderer‘s financial standing and experience. 

  • Construction Phase 

The construction phase is equally important as project control plays a really important role at this stage. 

  • Project control and Evaluation of Variations 

During construction, the work progress needs to be monitored, measured, and continuously compared to the cost plan. Quantity Surveyor monitors any delay, changes, or variations in the project by the contractor. 

The effect of variations should be calculated and checked if crossing the cost limit before it is issued. The interim payment applications by the contractor give QS an idea of the evolving cost compared to the cost plan. 

  • Dispute resolution 

QS also settles the dispute between the client, designer, contractor, or sub-contractor through mediation and arbitration methods. 

  • Post-construction Phase 

After the construction, QS assist in preparing the final accounts. With their help, documents for technical auditing and taxation get developed. Thus, QS is involved all through the project lifecycle for effective and efficient utilization of the resources. 

Quantity Surveying Services – Traditional and Modern 

Traditional Quantity Surveying 

The conventional Quantity Surveying methods have limited scope and opportunities for the QS. It can get defined as a measure and value system where the QS’s responsibilities are limited to measuring or surveying quantities of the proposed construction project or measuring quantities to arrive at the value of completed work. 

Traditional quantity surveying includes the following – 

  • Preliminary cost advice 
  • Cost planning and cost control 
  • Procurement advice 
  • Preparation of bill of quantities 
  • Tendering and estimating 
  • Cost control during construction 
  • Interim valuations and payments 
  • Financial statement, discharge, and final account 
  • Settlements of contractual claims and dispute resolution 
Modern Quantity Surveying 

QS practicing the modern quantity surveying process is involved in the overall cost management of the project throughout the lifecycle. 

With the introduction of IT in design such as BIM and CAD, transparency in BOQ preparation, value management, a wide range of procurement services, etc., modern quantity surveying is gradually evolving. 

Modern Quantity surveying practices the following additional responsibilities, in addition to conventional quantity surveying. 

  • Investment appraisal for selecting the alternatives and make expenditure in purchasing land, machinery, buildings, etc., and earn an income higher than the funds committed. 
  • Whole life costing; the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset. 
  • Value Engineering 
  • Risk analysis in construction and steps to minimize it at the lowest cost. 
  • Assist in Insolvency services 
  • Cost engineering services; apply scientific principles and techniques for cost estimating, planning, and scheduling. 
  • Subcontract administration, prepare a letter of invitation to obtain an evaluation, sub-contract agreement, final accounts, etc. 
  • Technical Auditing covers the technical aspect of the project implemented in the organization. 
  • Facilities management 
  • Sustainable Construction 

Key Quantity Surveying Benefits 

Practicing Quantity Surveying, irrespective of the project size and scale, brings numerous benefits to the project owner, contractors, and other stakeholders. Some key benefits of quantity surveying are 

  1. Optimum design with minimum cost 

Value engineering by QS helps to achieve an optimum design with a minimum budget and reduces the wastage of materials. 

  1. Saves cost throughout the lifecycle of the project 

Cost control at several stages of the project saves the cost of the project owner and contractors all through the lifecycle. 

  1. Enforces building contract 

The contractor signs the contract documents and agreements before getting the building contract. It avoids any payment or other disputes. QS ensures clauses of the building contract get followed. 

  1. On-time completion of the project 

QS supervises the contractors on-site, the project progress continuously monitored, and any delay is avoided that ensures on-time completion of the project. 

  1. Handle claims and disputes 

QS can handle disputes related to payments, valuations, BOQ’s, etc., as they are skilled and well-versed in these areas. 

Hire MSK Consultants’ Experienced Quantity Surveyors to Do the Job 

MSK Consultants and Engineers (MSK) is one of the best architectural, civil,  BIM, and structural engineering service providers. The construction project management consultants at MSK have experience in project planning, coordination, quantity surveying, and other civil, architectural, and structural engineering services. Contractors and project managers can ask the assistance of experienced and versatile quantity surveyors at MSK and get the advantage of skill as well as technology. Contact us to get started.