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What is a Quantity Surveyor and Do I Need One?


These cost control tasks can be done by the architect OR with the assistance of a quantity surveyor:

  1. Cost control activities during construction on complex projects
  2. Preparing the Bill of Quantities and cost estimates during the design stages
  3. Preparing prices for contractors during the tender process
  4. Providing an economic and financial perspective in the “design team”

A quantity surveyor (QS) is a professional who is trained to measure building- designs, to help oversee the expenditure of the budget during construction, and to generally provide a financial and economic perspective within the team of professionals who help a client construct a building. In my opinion, only the most expensive and complex house extensions and individual homes require the services of a QS. As a general rule of thumb, wherever a project requires a Bill of Quantities, it requires a QS.

The role of the QS is precisely defined under various forms of standard building contracts.

Like architects, they may be hired to fulfil a variety of roles. They work for main contractors quite extensively, and their careers can often branch out to provide services for the insurance industry. Quantity surveyors sometimes expand their role to include project management. They have no requirement for formal architectural design training, and no design role.

Cost control is ultimately the responsibility of the architect under most forms of building contract, and the QS is usually employed as an expert consultant to assist the architect with this aspect of the project. All architects are trained to carry out pricing work for fairly simple projects but quantity surveyors have far greater knowledge of their specialist field. Most architects and quantity surveyors would probably agree that a QS is optional for most single houses or simple commercial buildings, and essential for larger projects like multiple housing schemes or publicly funded projects.

The DKAD Value Ethos and QS Services

DKAD places value for money at the centre of its service- offering because we want to work for the widest possible range of clients from very rich people, to ordinary suburban homeowners who want to spend small budgets with great care. We have spent a lot of time and money developing skills, knowledge, commercial contacts and resources which keep our knowledge of price information current.

Understanding both the budget and the design enables DKAD to create more VALUE than many other architects. Our clients do not usually feel the need to incur additional professional fees for QS services. In contrast, some practices rely very heavily upon QS services even on small projects; I feel that such architects regard the client’s budget as “somebody else’s problem”.

Like any professionals in the building industry, a good QS will add value to the project at several stages during design and construction. Their services should never be considered a superfluous cost, but they are most valuable on large or complex projects where budgetary control is imperative.

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