QUANTITY SURVEYING/COST CONTROL
What is Quantity surveying?
The Quantity Surveyor is a specialist professional
whose training and experience
are directed towards the planning and control of expenditure on construction
The Quantity Surveyor together with the
Project Manager is a key member of
the development and construction team - the essential link between the
who commissions the building, the specialists who design it, and the contractor
who builds it. He is the expert on construction costs and communications,
his services are used from the inception of a project to its completion.
A Service to Clients
The services which a Quantity Surveyor would
normally provide to a client are:
· Preliminary cost advice and cost planning
· Advice on procurement route and type of contract
· Advice on obtaining tenders
· Preparation of tendering documents
· Negotiation with contractors
· Cost control and preparation of financial statements
· Valuation of work in progress
· Settlement of the final costs with the contractor and sub-contractors.
A brief description of these stages follow:
Preliminary cost advice is given by the
Quantity Surveyor at the very outset of
a scheme, even before the designers drawings are prepared. He indicates
probable region of cost of a proposed project or he may assess the type
of structure that can be erected for any given expenditure. Armed with
information and with estimates of maintenance and the running costs, the
Quantity Surveyor assists his client in the preparation of the budget
for the project.
Once the preliminary drawings have been prepared, he prepares a more detailed
approximate estimate and this cost advice enables design decisions to
with full knowledge of their financial implications to the client.
The Quantity Surveyor has evolved a technique
known as cost planning which
enables his cost advice to be used objectively during the design process
aspect or element of the structure. After initial feasibility studies
preliminary estimates have been prepared, the Quantity Surveyor prepares
cost plan from the designers preliminary drawings. The cost plan divides
building into its various functional elements and allocates costs to these
elements. In this way it is possible to ensure a proper apportionment
expenditure over the various elements and the establishment of a cost
framework at an early stage of the Project. Proposals of alternative materials
designs are costed as the design progressed and the cost implications
presented to the client and other consultations are made with a knowledge
overall cost involved.
The most usual forms of contract in construction
works are based on the use of
Bills of Quantities as Contracts documents.
Bills of Quantities are the translation of the designer's drawings and
specification into words and quantities. They enable each contractor tendering
to estimate his price on exactly the same basis as his competitors.
The bills are later used during the construction of a project to provide
for the financial management of the contract and in particular to control
the cost of
Tenders for constructional work may be obtained
either in competition or by
negotiation. Choice of the most suitable procedure is one of the most
decisions to be taken at an early stage and one of the matters on which
Quantity Surveyors advice is most valuable. He can advise on the selection
suitable firms to be invited to tender, according to the type and size
of a job and
the general standard of workmanship and skill that may be required. When
tenders have been obtained the Quantity Surveyor checks them to see that
substantial errors have been made, ensuring that no contract is entered
the basis of a seriously incorrect quotation. He then submits a detailed
the tenders to the client.
Where a full cost plan has been prepared
in the design stages the Quantity
Surveyor will use it as basis for cost control during the design process.
During construction, changes in the work are often necessary; sometimes
account of the client's changing needs, sometimes to overcome site conditions
which could not be foreseen. The Quantity Surveyor estimates the cost
proposed changes and reports their impact on the probable final cost,
corrective steps may be taken elsewhere in the work, if the client requires,
keep the cost within the budget.
As part of systematic control of the cost
during the progress of the work, the
Quantity Surveyor will prepare, at monthly intervals, financial reports
keep client and designers fully informed of up-to-date financial position
anticipated final cost of the work.
Valuation of the Work in Progress
Under most forms of building or civil engineering
contract, the contractor is
paid each month for the work he has done during the preceding month. It
Quantity Surveyor's duty to measure and value the work carried out during
period in question, together with the value of any changes which may have
authorised, and to submit to the Project Manager a recommendation regarding
payment on account. If the Project Manager is satisfied that he work involved
has been carried out in accordance with the terms of the contract, he
the amount due to the contractor in accordance with the Quantity Surveyor's
The Final Account
The Quantity Surveyor's duties end with
the calculation of the final cost. This is
achieved by preparing a final account for the work in which the contract
adjusted to take account of any changes, and of any other matters for
which the contract
allows.The final account is agreed with the contractor and provides a
fair and equitable settlement
in accordance with the contract conditions.The Quantity Surveyor will
also prepare analysis oft
the final account whichthe client may require.
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