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According to Willis's Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.1), the role of the quantity surveying has been defined by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS, 1971) as "ensuring that the resources of the construction industry are utilised to 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."
However, the roles of the quantity surveying profession within the contemporary built environment will be discussed as follows:
Preliminary cost advice
One of the quantity surveyor roles is to ensure that the proposed project is carefully constructed, in terms of costs arising throughout entire design and construction process (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.121). Quantity surveyor also acts to suggest his professional and reliable advices to his client on matter of cost at various stages during the design and construction process. However, the advices given during inception stage are vital important as the decisions taken in this stage will seriously affect the quality of works to be carried out (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.122). Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.121) stated that "the quantity surveyor will offer cost advice for the comparative design solutions of the alternative materials to be used or the form of construction to be adopted." Quantity surveyor is the recognized professional cost and value consultant, their measurement and valuation knowledge are without equal (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.123).
According to Willis's Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor, Ashworth & Hogg (2007, p.126) stated that "the cost planning process commences with the preparation of an approximate estimate and then the setting of cost targets for each element. As the design evolves, these cost targets are checked against the developing design and details for any changes in their financial allocations." Quantity surveying profession under this aspect will require the quantity surveyor to allocate the approximate estimated costs into subdivisions, known as elements within a building. Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.122) stated that "These elements costs can be compared against the element costs of other similar projects from the quantity surveyor's cost library records." The purpose is to provide a better value of money for client. It also keeps the designer fully informed of all the cost implications of the design. Quantity surveyor might also try to reduce the estimated costs by simplifying the details without modifying the design. Besides, contract document will also be prepared on this basic to make the preparation of cost analysis easier. Cost planning will be developed and while taking account of appearance, quality and utility, the cost is planned to be within the economic boundary (Willis, Ashworth & Willis, 1994, p.95)
Procurement and tendering procedures
It is important that quantity surveying profession to be applied during this stage. As stated by Ashworth and Hogg (2007, pp.237-238), role of quantity surveying profession in this aspect will include as follows:
Recommending an organizational structure for the proposed development of a project (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Advising on the appointment of the various consultants and contractors in the knowledge of the information provided by the employer (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Managing the information and coordinating the work of the different parties (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Selecting the methods for the appointment of consultants and contractors (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Determining the employer's requirement in terms of time, cost and quality (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Assessing the viability of the project and providing advice in respect of funding and taxation advantages (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Quantity surveyor plays a crucial role to provide appropriate advices on the method of procurement to be used for clients who wish to undertake construction work (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.237). There are various procurement methods to deal with the different demand and various situation, client should not select an inappropriate form of procurement unwittingly (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007). Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.237) stated that "Quantity surveyors are in an excellent position as procurement managers with their specialist knowledge of constructions and contractual procedures. They are able to appraise the characteristic of the competing methods that might be appropriate and to match these with the particular needs and aspirations of the employer." Hence, clients are advised to seek for quantity surveyor for relevant and reliable advices or recommendation when making their decisions. Due to this, advices and recommendation provided by quantity surveyor must be independently without the intrusion of individual bias and self-interest (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.237).
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.243) stated that "When the choice of form of contract has been decided, the next step is the preparation of the documents that will accompany the signed form of contract." The contract documents for any construction will normally include the following information:
It includes plans, elevations and cross section. Some other additional details will also be prepared based on the complexity of the project. This will provide information for the client to get the idea of architect's or engineer's design intentions. The contract drawings are normally provided by architect and engineer (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, pp.243-244). However, the role of quantity surveyor is to collect the drawings and any specifications from the architect and at the same time discuss the job. There is however some more detailed questions will arise, therefore a timetable for the completion of the contract bills will be agreed, along with dates when additional detailed information and drawings can be expected (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.259)
Quantity surveyor will involve in preparation of contract bills. Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.258) stated that "The appointment of the quantity surveyor is likely to have been made at early stage when early price estimates were under consideration. This may be before any drawings are available, in order to provide some cost advice to the client." Due to this, quantity surveyor will normally be needed except for on a very small project, the demand for the profession of quantity surveyor might only to be eliminated (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007, p.258). Besides, there is a condition to provide approximate quantities required for particular works for contractor who wish to submit tenders in competition. Therefore, quantity surveying firms are then sometimes involved in preparing approximate quantities depending upon the completeness of the drawings and other information from which it was prepared contractors (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.258).
Articles of agreement
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.246) stated that "This is the part of the contract which the parties sign. The contract is between the employer (building owner) and the contractor (building contractor). The blank spaces in the articles are filled in with the (i) names of employer, contractor, architect and quantity surveyor; (ii) date of the signing of the contract; (iii) location and nature of the work; (iv) list of the contract drawings; (v) amount of the contract sum."
Condition of contract
The condition of contract includes the contractor's obligation to carry out the work shown on the drawings and described in the bills to the satisfaction of the architect. They cover the matter of quality of work, cost time, nominated supplies' and subcintractors' insurances, fluctuation and VAT. (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.246)