WHAT ARE THE DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES OF A QUANTITY SURVEYOR?
When some people think of a quantity surveyor, they imagine someone like an accountant who simply keeps a record of the costs of a project. While this is one element of what a quantity surveyor does, there is much more to the role. Understanding the duties of a quantity surveyor can help project leaders see their value on the team and why they contribute to the success of a construction project. This blogpost highlights some of the duties typically taken on by quantity surveyors that make them an asset to any construction project team.
DUTIES OF A QUANTITY SURVEYOR
Quantity surveyors support the building and construction industries with quality advice in relation to matters in the pre-construction and design, construction and post-construction phases. At Melbourne Quantity Surveyors (MQS) we can assist in establishing accurate project budgets, reduce financial and non-financial risk, assist in mediation and avoid unnecessary and costly disputes.
Engaging us from the outset will help you complete your project without unnecessary expenses and delays. Whether you are a builder, developer or investor, we have the experience, skills and know-how to guide you effectively through specific parts of the building or construction project lifecycle.
Many people are unaware of the vast array of services we offer. Here are 25 services, together with detailed descriptions, that we can offer you.
1. COST ESTIMATING
Cost estimating involves understanding your building or construction project and estimating the costs you are likely to incur during building or construction. We carefully assess architectural and engineering plans, consider your design preferences and evaluate the plans against applicable regulations and standards to ensure we estimate a cost (on a line-by-line basis) for your project.
2. COST PLANNING
Our cost plans provide a comparable estimate between the construction costs and project budget while allowing a detailed trade by trade comparison to the builder’s estimates/quotes. This helps to highlight any areas of concern and/or potential areas of savings. Cost planning offers the client the best value for their money while preventing lost time and money due to re-documentation should the builder’s price come in higher than budgeted.
3. COST STUDIES
With over 13 years’ experience, we understand the cost variables in a building or construction project. We can help provide cost comparisons based on similar projects that we have reviewed. This can help you assess whether your builders or trades are charging for materials and labour appropriately. However, it is important to remember that a like-for-like comparison is required to ensure you are comparing similar materials and similarly trained and experienced professionals.
4. KEEPING PROJECT ON TIME
Most building and construction project delays involve a disagreement about costs. By engaging a quantity surveyor to help you negotiate the costs upfront will help your project conform to the negotiated project time line. We can help you evaluate the quantity and costs of materials required, the labour hours needed, the accuracy of progress payments and much more.
5. TIMELY PAYMENTS TO STAKEHOLDERS
To avoid disputes about costs and to ensure your builders, trades and other stakeholders are paid on time, it is crucial to engage a qualified quantity surveyor. We can help you keep track of all payments, scrutinise associated costs, and keep a close eye on trades conforming to their quotations.
6. SITE VISITS AND FUTURE PROJECTIONS OF TASKS AHEAD
During the life of the project, it may be difficult to understand where everything is at. We can help you understand where each stage of the project is at by conducting site inspections and holding discussions with key supervisors, builders and trades. We can provide you with periodic updates and help you plan the future of your project. We might identify trades that are not performing well and identify cost saving opportunities.
7. COST MONITORING AND CONTROLLING
Throughout the life of the building or construction project, we can help you monitor and control your costs. We can be deployed on site to ensure trades are utilising their resources effectively. Controlling the project cash flow ensures the purchaser, developer or investor has sufficient funds remaining to complete the project. We can help you prepare a dynamic and detailed trade by trade assessment of the builder’s progress claims to ensure progress payment instalments are accurate.
We undertake measurements of the site and building to ensure it conforms to the plans. Often builders end up modifying the plans without seeking consent from the owner and this can cause unnecessary disputes. Throughout the life of the project, we can visit the site to ensure the builder is conforming to plans and raise any identified issues immediately. Measurements are important especially for the provision of utilities and any prescribed laws, regulations and building standards.
9. CONTRACTS NEGOTIATION
As you negotiate the building or construction contract with your builder and trades, we can help provide support during this crucial time. With our experience, skills and know-how we can help identify any gaps in the contract, misstatements by the builder and over-promises that might not be honoured.
10. DRAFTING CONTRACT CONDITIONS
During contractual negotiations, we can help you ensure costs, payment and technical specification clauses are accurately and appropriately drafted. We have helped many clients with drafting contractual terms and will work closely with your legal and financial advisers to ensure we deliver the best outcome for you.
11. PROCUREMENT ADVICE INCLUDING TENDERING STRATEGY
As you prepare to engage builders and trades, it is wise to have a well-planned procurement and tendering strategy. Building residential and commercial properties are complicated and it is important to ensure you have sufficient bargaining power. You will receive many quotations, proposals and submissions and it takes time to make the right decision. We can help you procure, discuss, assess and negotiate on your behalf.
12. PREPARING BILL OF QUANTITIES (BOQ) AND TENDER DOCUMENT
During the construction design phase, we ensure the plans and designs will lead to costs that stay within budget through effective and dynamic cost management. We try to offset essential additions by identifying areas where you can save. On completion of design and architectural / engineering drawings, we can prepare a BOQ, which is an extensive and itemised trade list. The BOQ is issued with the specification, for use by contractors in submitting tenders. The contractor’s quantity surveyors/estimators generally prepare tenders and may price alternatives for consideration that need to be negotiated.
13. CONTRACT PRACTICE
We can help manage your building or construction project to help free up your time and your building supervisor’s / superintendent’s time. We can manage the expectations set in your contract, oversee project timelines, manage expenses, respond to queries from builders and trades, check budgets and much more. Our end-to-end contract practice offering will keep your project under control.
14. VALUATION OF CONSTRUCTION WORK INCLUDING VARIATIONS
Valuing construction work requires knowledge and understanding of the construction project. Our registered builders can help you value a project so that you can compare this against quotations and proposals submitted by builders and trades. The valuation exercise is also important for insurance, taxation and your regulatory obligations. In addition, we can also help you negotiate variations. A variation is a change to what has been agreed. Depending on the contractual clauses, variations may be permitted but any impact on cost and time need to be negotiated.
15. ASSESSMENT OF CONTRACTOR’S CLAIMS
We can undertake on-site assessments of the builder’s progress claims (i.e. monthly or staged payment claims). Our assessments also include a detailed comparison report, as well as any necessary negotiations if the claimed amount does not line up with the assessed amount.
16. CONTRACTUAL ADVICE
Although we might not be able to provide legal advice, we can help you understand your contract in a general sense. We have negotiated and drafted many contracts for our clients and understand the clauses and terminology used. We can refer you to accounts, tax agents and lawyers should you have any specific queries.
17. DISPUTE RESOLUTION
We offer three sub-services: A) Prepare ‘Expert Witness’ reports on disputed work and associated costs: We visit the site to establish an understanding of the status of the project. We then prepare a report clearly stipulating the cost of works completed and/or works yet to be completed and/or cost of defective work. This can help with insurance pay outs, construction disputes, variation claims, etc. B) Attendance at negotiation, mediation or tribunal as ‘Expert Witness’: Attendance at negotiations, mediations or tribunals as an expert witness to provide evidence or justification to costs associated with a dispute. C) Prepare ‘Expert Witness’ report as evidence in a court of law: We can submit our Expert Witness reports as evidence in a court of law, with or without our presence at the hearing and depending on the circumstances.
18. PREPARING FEASIBILITY STUDIES
To help you understand whether you can successfully complete your project, we can prepare a feasibility study based on discussions with you, our experience and our assessment of your preferred builders and trades. We understand legal and regulatory obligations, building standards, architectural plans, budgets and much more. Our comprehensive feasibility assessments will provide the additional assurance you need before commencing your project.
19. ADVICE ON COST LIMITS AND BUDGETS
Our extensive experience helping clients prepare budgets for projects means we can give you strategic advice to help you be financially prepared. We understand the pain points and know where costs might exceed budget. We will help factor these contingencies into your contract to limit future negotiations and disputes.
20. WHOLE LIFE CYCLE COSTING
With our skills and experience, we can develop a whole life cycle cost plan. From inception, through to project completion and then through to use, we can help you assess the whole life cycle cost and ongoing feasibility of the project. This can help you design the building to minimise costs in the future. Another factor in the value of a project is its depreciation. Once a project is complete, its value depreciates over time and with use. A quantity surveyor has the knowledge of the construction industry to accurately prepare a depreciation schedule for taxation, insurance and other purposes.
21. VALUATION FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES
We can provide a cost report detailing the costs of replacing your home to help you determine the right level of insurance cover (i.e. to prevent under insurance) or to help your insurer determine the claimable amount. We have worked with chartered loss adjusters to help achieve a positive outcome for both the insured and insurer when a claimable event occurs.
22. PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Many project leaders use quantity surveyors because of the value they add to projects. In addition to managing the costs associated with a construction project, a quantity surveyor has knowledge of contracts and construction costs in Australia. We can help reduce the burden on project leaders by taking over the management of costs. This frees the project leader to focus on other important aspects of the project, knowing that the costs and contracts are under control by the quantity surveyor.
23. ADVICE ON CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES
Whilst we cannot provide legal advice on contractual disputes, we can provide general advice. We have mediated disputing parties and have experience to successfully identify contentious issues and resolve them without incurring further expense and delay. We act objectively during our negotiations so that there is no room for error.
24. PREPARATION OF FINAL ACCOUNT
At the end of the project, we will review the initial plans and designs and compare these against the invoices submitted by the builders and trades. We will also consider any variations, time delay penalties, non-conformities, defects, etc. This will help you understand the final account so that you can effectively negotiate the amounts owing.
25. PREPARATION OF FINAL DETAILED BILL OF QUANTITIES (BOQ)
At the end of your project, we can prepare a final detailed BOQ to help you negotiate with your builders and trades the final payments owing to them. We will assess all materials used and labour to help you minimise guesswork and prevent any overpayments to builders and trades.
QUALIFICATIONS OF A QUANTITY SURVEYOR
As Registered Building Practitioners and qualified quantity surveyors, we will help you to maximise the operational efficiencies throughout your project. With a comprehensive understanding of quantity surveying, building standards, regulations and more, we provide end-to-end solutions to help you complete your project. With over 13 years’ experience in quantity surveying and construction, on a wide variety of projects, MQS is well established to provide sound measurement and cost advice across a broad range of project types and sizes. At MQS, our aim is to provide independent, professional and affordable construction cost advice, contract administration and management, dispute resolution services and insurance estimates services.
HOW DOES THE QUANTITY SURVEYOR ADD VALUE?
Many project leaders use quantity surveyors because of the value they add to projects. In addition to managing the costs associated with a construction project, a quantity surveyor has knowledge of contracts and construction costs in Australia. They can work with other team members to ensure that the costs for the project, such as renting equipment, are the best value for the project's needs. This may not always keep costs low, but will prevent overspending in these areas. In addition, quantity surveyors reduce the burden on project leaders by taking over the management of costs. This frees the project leader to focus on other important aspects of the project, knowing that the costs and contracts are under control by the quantity surveyor. Along these same lines, the project leader knows that the costs of the project are being managed by someone who is an expert in the field, increasing the likelihood that the project will be completed on time and within the expected budget. A quantity surveyor does more than calculate the receipts collected by the project leader. Knowing the various duties of a quantity surveyor helps highlight the value he or she brings to a construction project. As a result, project leaders know that, when they hire a quantity surveyor, they will be getting great value for the investment, and the project will be more likely to run smoothly for them from beginning to end. For more information about quantity surveyors, call us on (03) 9068 3950 or email us at email@example.com.