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A Quantity Surveyor is an individual whom works on projects ranging from office blocks, schools, hospitals, factories to bridges, railways, oil and mining development, ship building and large process engineering works such as oil refineries, and anywhere that major construction work is carried out. Traditionally this role has been performed by a highly trained person with extensive knowledge in the operational procedures involved with construction or project management. This position often acts as an independent contractor and is a trusted and respected source for professional consultation. The roles of the Quantity Surveyor are diverse and vital to the project life cycle (Internet).
Every Quantity Surveyor has the standard basic skill which is to draw up a bill of quantities which is a type of tender document that contains information regarding to the construction project. The measurements are taken from the drawings which must be in accordance with the standard measurement method which is agreed or accepted and will be priced by the contractors. The documents will be used throughout the whole construction project and are for valuation and cost control purposes. The Quantity Surveyor estimate and monitor construction costs, from the feasibility stage of a project through to the completion of the construction period as part of an advisor's role. After the completion of construction, the Quantity Surveyor may have to be involved with tax depreciation schedules, arbitration and mediation if necessary, and cost estimation for insurance purposes. They are employed on most construction projects as consultants to the owner, in both private and public sectors. They would have to work hand in hand with architects, financiers, engineers, contractors, suppliers, project owners, accountants, insurance underwriters, solicitors and Courts and even with all levels of government authorities.
The roles of Quantity Surveyor come in handy when at times of:
Cost planning is a specialist technique used by the QS team and it is mainly to help all the construction team members to arrive accordingly at practical designs for a project and make sure the projects are within budgets. The Qs will have to make sure that everything has to follow in accord to the estimates which have been agreed, from the successful contractor's tender to the final project cost. In planning construction cost, it is very important that maintenance and running cost cannot be neglected in order to achieve a project that is cost effective throughout its life. The QS will have to rapidly deal with the cost implication when the client decided to change the plans and when variations are introduced. Cost planning can improve economy standards and also better value for money. Constant monitoring can avoid the risk of overspending if they are spotted early and prompt corrective action taken, thus help the client to save money.
Value management is an act which aims to eliminate waste from design or client's brief, while at the same time the safety and key functions of the projects are retained. The objective of this value management is to deliver the project function to the required quality so that the best value for the money can be expended. In this case, it does not necessary mean to be at lowest initial cost, but considering all factors impacting upon the projects as a whole are the highest value (internet).A QS is a well qualified person to lead the value management studies on a project. From this value management, the project team can obtain a clearer understanding of the involved project objectives and functions thus reducing any unnecessary costs are being made able. In this value management, it also addresses the whole life implications of both in terms of cost and the client's business objectives of the building design.
The Life Cycle Costing
The cost of a project cannot be evaluated base on the initial cost alone. It is long been proven that although a constructed facility is cheap but may appears to be in long term, far more expensive than one with much higher initial cost. Life cycle costing is about an evaluation technique that enables comparative assessment on the performance of a project or the constructed facilities over its operating life span. The life cycle costing assessment not only takes into account the characteristics of the constructed facility, sustainability, maintainability, reusability and obsolescence, but they must also not neglect the initial capital cost, maintenance cost, operational cost, residual and disposal costs. Both economic and non-economic performance of constructed facility can be checked in this way.
The QS will be the one who monitor all the life cycle costing analysis. The impact of all costs are considered rather only the, initial capital cost, to ensure that different constructed facilities can be more effectively evaluated and to assist the effective management of a completed facility are the main objectives of life cycle costing. The building clients can obtain the best value for their money this way.
Preliminary Cost Advice
A QS is the person whom will be giving practical advices on stuffs which as to do with the cost of the project. Cost studies and advice on, structural forms, choice of materials, alternative design solutions, construction sequence and maintenance cost will also be prepared. From that, a detailed cost plan can be prepared for budgetary control.
Facilities management is an extremely wide and all embracing activity involving many types of functions such as assets management, office management and housekeeping, building and engineering maintenance.
Among the definitions of facilities management, however, it could be borne in mind that there exist some common themes, or characteristics, as follows:
it requires integrated multi-disciplinary professional services;
it relates to built asset - the workplace;
it shall support the organization in achieving its objectives.
However there's no one individual, nor profession, who would be able to fulfill all the required technical functions encompassed in the concept of facilities management. Still and all, if there is any specifically trained or experienced QS is in charge, he will be able to interpret and define objectives of the client's organization, thus be able to coordinate and provide the most appropriate facilities management services.
The QS are known for the expertise, tools and knowledge required in the selection of the "right" suppliers or contractors for any given projects. There are no two projects which are exactly the same. Most of the projects (and many smaller ones) have their own challenges and needs their own solution. Procurement through competitive tendering based on a variety of forms of contract and options is the most common method option. The bills of quantities prepared by the QS are used for the tendering. The bills containing documents of an itemized breakdown of the works to be carried out in a unit price contract, indicating a quantity for each item and the corresponding unit price. The bills of quantities are the crucial element in both effective cost control as well as the basis of valuation of variations during construction. On different occasions, different tendering method and contractual arrangement may be used depending on the client's requirement. It may include traditional method, design and build, construction management, guaranteed maximum price, prime cost contract and cost plus, and many more. The QS role is to provide advice to the client on the best choice of contractual arrangement depending on the circumstances that the client's required.
Competitive tendering of the same kind or differing type remains the usual basis for construction contracts, while the bills of quantities are the fundamental to this process. The designers produced drawings and specifications which are translated by the bill of quantities into documents which would allows a contractor to calculate his tender price fairly and on the exact same basis as his competitors. During constructions, the QS are also a crucial element in effective cost control. If there are other tendering procedures which are appropriate, the QS will recommend alternatives.
The QS have to be are able to provide both commercial and contractual advice to all corporations such as developers, government bodies, contractors and subcontractors, for all types of civil engineering, building and structural projects.
The service of contractual advice covers:
Contract administration: site set-up, valuations of work in progress, subcontract procurement, measurements, assessment of rates, cost reporting and variations.
Contract documents: warranties, bonds and guarantees, selection of appropriate standard forms of contract, the interpretation, drafting of special conditions and forms of contract.
Valuation of construction work
The contractor is paid monthly in most of the construction contracts unless otherwise specified. The QS role is to value the works carried out each month by the contractor on the project and submit a recommendation for payment.
The QS may help the employers to choose the most appropriate construction insurance. Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. This is why construction insurance is an important policy to have if they are going to run or manage a construction site. It is also known as Builders Risk Insurance, construction insurance provides safeguards for employers against construction workers being injured on site. Construction insurance does not exempt the employer from maintain a safe workplace. Usually, construction insurance policies only pay out if a strict set of health and safety guidelines are followed (internet). It also protects the developing structure and the materials purchased for the construction for the loss due to damage or theft. The advantages of obtaining advices from the QS are:
Cost conscious, all round advice on contractual matters, and with proficiency in construction activities;
Better communication with the involved parties such as insurers/employers/contractors/loss adjusters, which might be less efficient if it was handled general insurance practitioners.
Cost Control & Financial Management
Cost control might be one of the most important aspects which have to be monitored closely in any capital project. It is important because the client wants a good value for money from the project. The QS have to make sure that the required balance of expenditure between different elements of the project is achieved and also to keep the final expenditure of the project within the client's required budged.
In principle, cost control consists of three basic steps:
Establishing an overall cost target
Taking remedial action where necessary
Checking any deviations
In practice, the process of cost control shows a range of professional activities such as cost analyses of previous projects, cost studies of various constructional options, cost planning/estimating, cost monitoring during the construction stage and cost reconciliation during the tendering stage. Regularly, the QS produce the cost estimates and financial which forms an important aspect of the financial management of capital projects. With these periodic financial reports, the clients are able to anticipate and control their future financial commitments.