The quantity surveyor

Introduction

Quantity Surveyors have usually completed an appropriate tertiary degree course and undertaken work experience.

Quantity Surveyors work on projects ranging from office blocks, schools, hospitals, factories to bridges, railways, oil and mining development, shipbuilding and large process engineering works such as oil refineries, and anywhere that major construction work is carried out.

As advisers, they estimate and keep an eye on construction costs, from the feasibility stage of a project through to the finishing point of the construction period. After construction, they may be caught up with tax depreciation schedules, replacement cost estimation for insurance purposes and, if necessary, mediation and arbitration.

Quantity surveyors are employed primarily on major building and construction projects as consultants to the owner, in both the public and private sectors. They may also work as academics in the building and construction disciplines and in financial institutions, with developers and as project managers.

Quantity Surveyors work closely with architects, financiers, engineers, contractors, suppliers, project owners, accountants, insurance underwriters, solicitors and Courts and with all levels of government authorities.

The major tasks of a quantity surveyor in global construction industry as well as in Malaysia.

  • As a quantity surveyor (QS), there are many responsibilities for them.
  • The organizations chart below show some of the everyday jobs of QS.
  • Managing costs on a wide variety of new building projects and structures, such as residential developments, sports stadiums, roads and bridges, schools, hospitals, offices and factories .
  • v Quantity surveyor has to manage cost effectiveness in the construction process from initial calculations to launch land costs, through preparing early stage budgets and detailed cost plans, procurement, the construction phase and up to the final costs. They look after their client's contractual interest and ensure they receive independent advice on cost.

  • Assisting in establishing a client's requirements and undertaking feasibility studies.
  • v During the inception phase of a development process, the quantity surveyor will identify the client's requirements and the possible constraints on development. Furthermore, the quantity surveyor will estimate the cost of the construction too. While during the feasibility phase, the quantity surveyor uses their knowledge of construction methods and based on the analyzing in money cost, time scale for occupation and resources to advise the client on the most economical way of achieving his goal.

  • Preparing Bills of Quantities.
  • v Quantity surveyor has to produce a more detailed breakdown of costs and quantities known as the bill of quantities after the conditions of contract, specification and the drawings or design of the building are been settled down. The purpose of this bill is used to assist contractors with the preparation of an estimate for tendering. This priced list which becomes a contract document that provides a basis for the valuation of varied work and of work completed for stage payments during the contract. In addition, the bill should be of use to the contractor in the organization of the work and to the surveyor to provide historic cost information. Moreover, the bills of quantities can make sure the cash flow is in control.

  • Advising on procurement strategy.

v Procurement describes the mergingof activities undertaken by the client to obtain a building. There are many different methods of construction procurement; however the three most common types of procurement are: Traditional (Design-bid-build), Design and Build, Management Contracting. The key feature of this form of procurement is the separation of design and construction. The client appoints a team of consultants, frequently led by the architect, to design the building and prepare tender documentation. The main advantages of this procurement are as follows :

  • A high level of price certainty for the client. Since the cost is known before construction commences, and providing the design process has been completed fully in the pre-contract stage, a high degree of price certainty exists.
  • A low tender price.
  • Accommodates design changes and aids the cost management process.
  • Relatively low tender preparation costs. In addition, subject to the status of the tender documents, a high tender quality would be obtained.

The skills required by Quantity Surveyors in preparing and ensuring good quality of documents for construction projects.

  • Soft skillsis a sociological term relating to a person's"EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) such as the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication,language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.
  • Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that may be required in a given context, such as a job or university application. Examples of hard skills include: facility with spreadsheets, typing, mathematical ability, proficiency with software applications, operating machinery, software development, speaking a foreign language, calculus
  • To be a good quantity surveyor, you should have the following skills :
  • Soft skill - Communication & Language.
  • v As a quantity surveyor, he / she should have excellent communication skills. The quantity surveyor needs good communication skills to discuss matters with clients and other professionals such as architect and engineer about the construction project.

    v On the other hand, the language ability of a quantity surveyor is important because he / she are required to express the opinions not just verbally but on paper too.

  • Soft skill - Team working.
  • v To be a quantity surveyor, he / she should be are likely to be working as a member of a team, which may require he / she to motivate and lead people on site.

    v Besides, he / she should be also likely to be involved in negotiating with a wide variety of people, which means that he / she would have to listen to the points of view of others as well as giving his / her own opinion.

  • Hard skill - IT & Mathematics.

v A quantity surveyor should be computer literate. He / She should have a working knowledge of ICT so that he / she have the ability to learn sophisticated design and costing IT packages.

v In addition, the quantity surveyor should be proficient in Mathematics. This is due to the major job of a quantity surveyor - preparing bills of quantities. In this process, there are many calculation involved. There would be troublesome if any mistakes occur. Therefore, a quantity surveyor should have a high standard of numeracy.

References

  • http://www.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/quantity_surveyor_job_description.jsp
  • http://books.google.com.my/books?id=zMmeTT1zyVQC&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=procurement+strategy+by+quantity+surveyor&source=bl&ots=c44w60gvUu&sig=jqVcoeMPcIrdwOl1CMuaV63r97U&hl=en&ei=49fRS_7UAse_rAeAmrGlDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=procurement%20strategy%20by%20quantity%20surveyor&f=false
  • http://www.ca.courses-careers.com/articles/quantity_surveyor.htm
  • http://searchcio.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid182_gci1314710,00.html
  • Lecture notes - Chapter 1 & Chapter 4

Conclusion

In conclusion, a quantity surveyor should have a logical and methodical approach to work. Besides, a quantity surveyor should be a responsible person, so that the client will trust on him / her. Furthermore, a quantity surveyor must be a careful person because if the quantity surveyor made any mistakes in the calculation, it will bring many of trouble.

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