Quantity Surveyors Role
Posted on July 14, 2011 by CADS Article Team
The quantity surveyor must be prepared to adopt a different attitude to costs, measurement and contract. He needs a flexible mind capable of assimilating a variety of conditions of contract, methods of measurement and methods of payment, and the likelihood of becoming involved in a much wider range of activities than is normally handled by the quantity surveyor. The quantity surveyor, whether acting for the employer or the managing contractor is likely to take part in initial feasibility and cost studies, followed by giving advice on preferred contractual methods, the preparation of invitations to tender, scrutiny of contractor prequalification documentation, assessment of contractor’s tenders, setting up and monitoring cost control systems which are often computerised, regular comparison between achieved and budget costs, and the supervision of physical progress, value of commitments, cash flow and financial requirements. All these functions are additional to the conventional quantity surveying work of measurement and certification.
The role of the contractor’s quantity surveyor is somewhat different from that of the professional or client’s quantity surveyor. They are unashamedly more commercially minded, and sometimes the financial success or failure of a project or even a company is due in part at least to the contractors quantity surveyor. While the client’s quantity surveyor may claim impartiality between the client and the contractor, the contractor’s quantity surveyor will be representing their employer’s interests. Prudent contractors have always employed quantity surveyors to look after their interests, and have particularly relied upon them in the more controversial contractual sense.
Contractors may employ quantity surveyors to ensure that they receive the correct payment at the appropriate time for the work completed on site. In practice the contractors quantity surveyor may embrace estimating, tendering and the negotiation of new contracts, site measurement, subcontractor arrangement and accounts, profitability and forecasting, contractual disputes and claims, cost and bonus assessment, site costing and other matters of a management and administrative nature.
Quantity Surveyors Services
Therefore, the range of services which quantity surveyors can offer is very extensive and usually includes the following activities:
Bills of quantities preparation
Tender evaluation and reporting
Site reenforcement and admeasure
Checking of monthly payments and final accounts
Financial reporting and cash flow projections
Claim assessment and negotiations
Employers’ audit procedures
Agreeing the value of variations and subcontractors accounts
Advice on participation in arbitration
In contracting organizations, the duties of the quantity surveyor will vary according to the size of the firm employing him. The smaller firms will often expect a wider range of skills from the quantity surveyor. The contractor’s quantity surveyor in some companies may undertake a rather narrow or specialized range of tasks, and in other firms may be expected to undertake work that is normally outside the periphery of quantity surveying. The size of the contractor is therefore a very important influence on the quantity surveyors work, role and duties.
Quantity surveyors choosing to enter the absorbing and challenging civil engineering field must have a sound knowledge of civil engineering construction and procedures, and should seek to provide services similar to those the the quantity surveyor traditionally gives on building projects. Many quantity surveyors are employed with government departments, local authorities and private industries in a design team advising the engineer. Many other quantity surveyors provide a post contract, or more correctly post tender, service to the contractor and they may be in his direct employment.
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