This written report will critically discuss the role of the Quantity Surveying in the short form named QS within the contemporary built environment. Before discuss or considering about what is the changing role of Quantity Surveyor is in the future, the background of the Quantity Surveying is worthwhile to have a review. The traditional roles and evolved roles of Quantity Surveryor will be briefly discussed. Least, the responsibilities of Quantity Surveyor will be carried out too.
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Background to the Quantity Surveying
Quantity Surveying (QS) profession has been experienced significant change over the past decade in terms of the scope and types of services provided both within and outside of the construction industry. All the changes have been occurs in response to changing clients or industry demands, IT (information technology) developments and increased level of competition of services.
As the technology and Architecture buildings are constantly developed, Quantity Surveyor(s) played an important role in both public and private sector. Thus, how many people know about who is Quantity Surveyor? What is the Quantity Surveying profession is in nowadays? What are Quantity Surveyor do for?
By according to QSBC (2009), stated that Quantity surveyors are the profession developed during the 19th century from the earlier “Measurer,” Quantity Surveyor is a specialist tradesman (often a guild member) who always prepared standardized 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 the tenders were each based on the same schedule of information, they would be easily compared to find the most suitable candidate.” QSBC (2009).
Furthermore, Seelay 1997 stated that a “Quantity Surveyor is fully professional trained, qualified and experienced in dealing with the basic problems on behalf of the employer. Quantity Surveyor is essentially a cost expert or as a cost controller whose prime task is to ensure that the project is kept within the agreed budget which has been signed in contract document, and important is to make sure that the employer obtains value for money.” (Seeley, 1997 pg.40.)
Moreover, QSBC (2009) also discussed that, “Quantity Surveyor” is a professional who are usually working within the construction industry. The role of Quantity Surveyor is to manage and to control the costs of the particular construction projects and may be involving the use of range of management procedures and technical tools to achieve the goals.
From difference sources, there is difference method to interpreted or discussed of roles of Quantity Surveyor. And then, the definition of the role of Quantity Surveyor should be known. By referring to RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 1983a, pg.1) which stated that “In the 1971’s report, the role of Quantity Surveyor was defined as “ensuring that the resources of the construction industry are utilized to be the best advantage of society by providing, inter alia, the financial management for projects and a cost consultancy service to the client and designer during the whole construction process. In addition, the distinctive competence of the Quantity Surveyor is a skill in measurement and valuation in the construction field in order that such work can be described and the cost and price for the particular project can be forecast defined, analyzed, planned, under controlled and accounted for.”
A Quantity Surveyor is key professionals in the construction sector or industry. Quantity Surveyor(s) always act as a “cost Engineer”, “cost Planner” or “cost Controller”. A Quantity Surveyor is specializes in estimating the value of the construction project works. Quantity Surveyor(s) will use their skills to do the taking off quantity of the propose building, and determine the cost of building work ranging from small refurbishment works through to assessing the value of multi-million money construction project.
Quantity Surveyor(s) normally works with Developers, Architects, Contractors, Building Proprietors and works with Government Bodies and Agencies. Addition, Quantity Surveyor(s) can be involved in cost planning, cost management, Contract Administration, project procurement, feasibility studies and the asset financial management.
The purpose of Quantity Surveyor is to lower down or minimize project cost and maximize the value on a given proposed project. By either increasing value for money to a developer or end user client, or increasing profit margins for the main contractor or subcontractor, Quantity Surveyor whilst still achieving the required standards specified under the agreement, within contract program.
Construction cost, construction management and construction communication are all key problems area for an employer or client who has commissioned and important building or engineering project. Thus, a professional trained, qualified and fully experienced Quantity Surveyor whose expert in dealing with these problems is needed. An experienced Quantity Surveyor(s) will accomplish their objectives in a variety of ways and largely guided by their experience; however more tangible factors also play a part such as a carefully selected procurement strategy, use of terms and conditions of contract and negotiation skills.
Furthermore, the role of a quantity surveyor played is to manage the costs relating to building projects. This may include new builds, renovations or maintenance work. From early design costs to final figures, Quantity Surveyors seek to minimise the costs of the project and enhance
value for money whilst ensuring that the project meets all legal and quality assurance requirements. Quantity Surveyors are involved at various stages of the construction process, typically prior to construction, during construction and following completion of the works.
Prior to Construction Stage
During Construction Stage
Post Construction Stage
Preparation of Feasibility Studies
Provision of cost control services during construction
Determination of the final project cost
Estimating to define projects budgets/ amount
Assessment of the contractor’s progress claims
Preparation of tax depreciation reports for investors and property owner
Analysis of the effect of design changes on the project budget
Assessment of variation and delay claims
Expert witness reports to assist in the settlement of building disputes.
Cost planning to refine the budget as the design documents develop
Procurement of subcontractors and labour to carry out the specialist trade works
Preparation of Bills of Quantities to assist in the tender process
Negotiation and settlement of accounts
Monthly forecasting and cost reporting
Monthly negotiation and agreement of payments for works carried out
Table 1: Construction stages involved by Quantity Surveyor(s)
Role of Quantity Surveying
The Quantity Surveying profession in the United Kingdom has largely developed over the last century. It has grown to such an extent that it forms the second largest division in Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). As building works increased in volume and complexity, the employers became not satisfied with the method adopted for settling all the cost of the construction works and recognized the advantages of employing an independent Quantity Surveyor who would prepare and produce out an accurate bills of quantities (BOQ) to be priced by tendering contractor(s). And also employers will seek for the Quantity Survey who would measure and value any variations that might occur during the construction works progress.
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The common role of quantity surveyor(s) is to manage or be able to the costs relating to the particular propose building projects. This may include new builds, renovations or maintenance work. From early design costs to final figures, quantity surveyors seek and to be ensure to minimise the costs of the project and enhance value for money whilst ensuring that the project meets all legal and quality assurance requirements.
Quantity surveyor duties typically include:
- Conducting feasibility studies to estimate materials, time and labour costs
- Preparing, negotiating and analysing costs for tenders and contracts
- Coordination of work effort
- Advising on a range of legal and contractual issues
- Valuing completed work and arranging for payments
Traditional Role of Quantity Surveying/Surveyor
Based on HKIS stated that”As a tradition, estimating, preparation of tender documents, tender analysis, contract documentation, valuation and variation, and all quantity surveying related works of infrastructure projects are always handled by civil engineers notwithstanding that majority of these works are actually handled by quantity surveyors under the supervision of civil engineers. In the building works, the traditional role of handling these works by architects had been changed to become the role of quantity surveyors, and the Government and Private Forms of Building Contract were changed to recognize such QS role. However, in the infrastructure works, such QS role is still with the civil engineers as stated in the Government Form of Civil Engineering Works” (HKIS, 2008).
Ashworth and Hogg (2007) stated that the traditional role of Quantity Surveyor is still practiced on small to medium sized projects. It can be described as a measure and value system. Quantity Surveyor should prepared using a single price method of estimating, produce bills of quantities for tendering, measure the progress payments base on the work and prepare final account on the basis of the tender documentation.
The traditional role, which is still practiced by some, also can be described as measure and value system. Approximate estimates of the initial coasts of building are prepared by using a single price method of estimating and where this cost was acceptable to the client then the design was developed by Architect. Quantity surveyor will prepared and produced bills of quantities (BOQ) for tendering purposes. The work would be measured for weekly/monthly/half yearly for the progress payments and a final account will be then prepared on the basis of the tender documentation.
On traditional roles, Quantity Surveyor will conducting single rate approximates estimating to the particular project. Furthermore, Quantity Surveyor also will take part into cost planning in the management team and giving advice in cost planning. In addition, Quantity Surveyor will also giving client advice on procurement, advise measurement and qualification on the project taken.
The most significant roles or services which provided by Quantity Surveyor are do taking off, preparation of tender document and produce bills of quantities (BOQ). During construction period, Quantity Surveying should giving advice on cost controlling to ensure that the amount and agreed budget for the proposed construction project is still under control. This is important to not make client to facing any financial problems. By during the construction progress period, interim valuations and payment all prepare by Quantity Surveyor. Quantity Surveying will go to construction to do interim valuations to evaluate the work progress on site.
After the evaluation, thus Quantity Surveying will prepare the interim progress payments for client. Interim payments thereafter will be claims by contractor. Besides, Quantity Surveyor also will be advise in client financial statements. Preparation of final account, agreement and the last settlement of contractual claims will be fully produced by quantity surveyors.
Evolved role of Quantity Surveying/Surveyor
Today, not only is the Quantity Surveyor generally regarded as indispensible on any major building contract, and often on civil and heavy engineering as well, but Quantity Surveyor also now being appointed as project manager, to take control of the proposed project from inception to completion and to coordinate the work of the design team and the main contractor and subcontractors.
RICS (1983a) also pointed out that the Quantity Surveyor’s expertise had been further developed after 1971. For the construction project, Quantity Surveyor(s) are involved in the field of manpower planning, resources control and in assessing the effects of time. The filled of contracting, civil and industrial engineering construction, mechanical and electrical engineering services, and project management and control also relate to the Quantity Surveyor. That means the role of the Quantity Surveyor is extended in 1980s. The Quantity Surveyor involve complex resource procurement and management processes, besides deal with complex construction contracts; provides the basis for a disciplined and well managed approach to projects.
In response to the potential demise of bills of quantities, Quantity Surveyor(s) began to exploring potential roles for their services. Procurement, a term no longer used until the 1980s, became an important area of activity, largely because of the increasing array of options that were available. As a Quantity Surveyor in evolved roles, QS should improve the quality of service and the matching of the known resources to suit for the requirement of clients.
By referring to Seeley (1997) stated that the Quantity Surveyor not only regarded building contract and often as project manager on civil and heavy engineering contracts to control the project from inception to completion and coordinate with other parties to take over the works. Quantity Surveyor is an important member of the design team in both the public and private sectors to advising employers and architects on the probable costs of alternative designs.
Thus, Quantity Surveyor will be more active and act more roles and character in evolved method.
Future roles of Quantity Surveyor
The industry’s client has become increasingly concerned about the services provided. They have examined traditional contractual procedures, have found their lacking and have sought to create new services more appropriate to their needs. In general, they have been looking for results and improved value for money.
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