Role of the Quantity Surveyor

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The Role of the Quantity Surveying Profession

The origins of the Quantity Surveyor (QS) profession can dated back during the 19th century where from the earlier "measurer", a specialist tradesman, who readied schedules for a building project in which all of the construction materials and labour activities and were quantified. Based on this information, competing builders could submit priced tenders. Because all tenders were based on the same schedule of information, they could be easily compared to one another, making it a much simpler way of being able to chose the best bid as it narrowed the variables down (Powell, 1996). While the QS profession owes its origin to the “measurer” it was until the 1820s that as a profession the QS profession began with Sir Henry Arthur Hunt being one of the original QS estimating the cost of the rebuilding of the houses of parliament. (Powel,1996) Within today’s industry the QSs role in construction sectors can vary depending on what area they are deployed. The construction sectors I will explore are Building work, Building and Engineering services, Civil engineering, Heavy and industrial engineering. Building work

During building work in modern construction it is not unusual for the 1st point of contact for a client to be with a QS. Cost management is one of the key areas of concern for clients in today’s industry and with QSs being value and cost experts in the construction industry it makes sense for a QS to be relied on heavily during the inception phases as well as before. Their role as cost planner in this section of the industry can often be viewed negatively as often clients or architects change their plans after contracts and plans have been made causing a rise in the costs of the building works which in turn makes the QS look as though the job done earlier before starting the building work seem as though they weren’t accurate. The QS also has a role of dealing with contracting in this section of the industry, the QS must be well versed in contract law and be up to date in the ever developing contract regulations that would have a direct effect on how they carry out their duties. Building Engineering Services

This area is a specialist area of the industry, particularly for large scale projects. Even though it is defiantly part of the building work sector. This differs from Building work because it has a strong emphasis on the bills of quantities as its main cost sums. The three main reasons for using bills of quantities as the prime cost sums are that the building services engineers failed on regular occasion to produce the details on time in order for quantification purposes to take place, traditionally this type of work wasn’t usually measured and the final reason is that a lump sum was calculated based on the drawings and building specs by the contractors. Identification of where the expenditure was being spent wasn’t being accurately identified which wasn’t ideal for clients. Because of this, in the building engineering services sector there is a clear breakdown of costs that enables an accurate way to enable comparison and evaluation despite the reluctance of building service consultants. A QS in this area has to develop the skills and knowledge to be able to interpret and understand the scientific aspects that are included in the drawings they work with as well as the terminology and technology used in this sector of the industry. The role of a QS in this sector is particularly important as the work is often time consuming and therefore costly, it is important for a QS to apply rigorous cost control during the project. Civil Engineering

The difference between civil and building engineering work is miniscule but present. The main thing that sets apart civil engineering work from building engineering work is the importance placed on the physical and geological issues that need to be solved by the design which is a complex task. How this effects the QSs role is that in...
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