A Quantity Surveyor, sometimes called QS, is often used in larger construction jobs as a construction economist or cost control manager.
They get their name from the Bill of Quantities, a document which itemises the quantities of materials and labour in a construction project.
While Quantity Surveyors don’t usually work on small developments, banks or lending institutions often require their report if the construction cost exceeds $2 million.
A QS is often called in at the feasibility stage to advise the developer or his lenders on the likely construction cost of the project and the most economical way of achieving project requirements.
With their understanding of construction methods and costs, a QS can prepare an accurate cost for the building of your project.
If required, the QS will then monitor your costs during the construction process.
They will compare the true cost to the budget and may be required to “sign off” for the bank that the work has been completed before progress payments are made.
This means that a QS may be used in all the stages of a larger scale development.
Let’s look at their role in more detail….
During the design phase, the quantity surveyor ensures that the design remains on budget through cost management.
The building contractor quoting for your job may employ a quantity surveyor or estimator to prepare their tender.
They may also suggest alternative ideas or other approached to the construction to save money.
Once tenders are submitted by contractors, a QS working for the developer may be involved in assessing tenders.
They may be required to advise on the type of contract or special clauses to be inserted.
During construction a quantity surveyor may be required to fairly value “progress payments” at regular intervals.
They will also value changes or variations or additional works required.
When construction is complete the quantity surveyor can produce depreciation schedules of the various project components and advise on realistic insurance replacement costs.
If disputes arise a quantity surveyor is often called on as an expert witness or as an arbitrator.
If this situation arises usually both the contractor and the developer employ their own quantity surveyors to assist in their case.
Quantity Surveyors have usually completed an appropriate tertiary degree course and are members of their local Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
How do you select a Quantity Surveyor?
Make sure that they are members of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, www.aiqs.com.au.
Meet with them and discuss your project and the range of services you require.
If you don’t understand a service, ask for an explanation.
Ask for a fee estimate even though this may only be a general indication until firm project parameters have been determined.
Check that they work on the size of project in consideration and that they are on the panel for your lender.
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