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Tasks And Skills Of A Quantity Surveyor Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 1646 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The construction industry is global and extends across all real estate and infrastructure markets. As the construction projects grow in complexity and size, it is immediately clear that many quantity surveyors have diversified into providing project and building management services. Quantity surveyor (QS) is the recognized cost managers of construction as well as accountant of the building profession. The term ‘Quantity Surveyor’ derives from the role taken in quantifying the various items of labour, material and plant that it takes to construct a given project. Quantity surveyor is the specialist in the financial and contractual aspects of construction projects. QS is involved at all stages of the project and is usually appointed by the architect or engineer who has designed the construction. The QS’s traditional independent role on the team comprising client, architect, engineer, QS and contractor has given him a reputation and appreciation for fairness. This, combined with his expertise in drafting and interpretation of contract documents, enables him to settle issues, avoid disputes and ensure the effective progress of a project.


Allocating work to subcontractors

The QS has to interact with the site employees and employees from subcontracting organisations. The QS distribute the works to subcontractor firm. Valuing completed work and arranging payments is also one of the tasks of the QS. Once the works done, QS has to approve payments made to suppliers, employees and subcontractors.

Managing costs on site and dealing with cost reconciliation

A quantity surveyor is able to manage costs on a wide variety of new building projects and structures such as residential developments, sports stadiums, shopping complexes, roads and bridges, schools, hospitals, offices and factories. The QS controls cost before, during and after construction. Costs are managed from the feasibility stage of a project and continued to do so right through to tendering and construction. When a building project is complete, QS may be involved in preparing tax depreciation schedules, estimating replacement costs for insurance purposes and, if necessary, mediation and arbitration.

analysing outcomes and writing detailed progress reports;

Advising on the cost

The QS provides cost advice for a project at inception, during construction and for any unplanned changes that occur. The QS also provides estimation during the initial stages of the process of construction procurement for the project initiators such as developers. The QS has to advise from time to time on cost management, or value management. The QS plays important role during the design phase. The QS throughout the design and construction process is required to advise the client on any cost implications that may arise. Such advice will be necessary irrespective of the procurement method used for contractor selection or tendering purposes. However, the advice will be especially crucial during the project’s inception. During this time major decisions are taken affecting the size of the project and the quality of the works, if only in outline form. The cost advice given must therefore be as reliable as possible, so that clients can proceed with the greatest amount of confidence. In addition, the QS provides post-occupancy advice, facilities management services and life cycle costing advice.

Preparing tender and contract documents

A bill of quantities (BOQ) is a document detailing the materials, parts, and labour required to construct, maintain, or repair a structure or device. Preparation of bills of quantity for work in progress and the final accounts is also done by QS. The technique of measuring quantities from drawings, sketches and specifications prepared by architects and engineers, in order to prepare tender/contract documents, is known in the industry as taking off. The quantities of work taken off typically are used to prepare bills of quantities, which usually are prepared in accordance with a published standard method of measurement (SMM) as agreed to by the QS profession and representatives of the construction industry. Many larger QS firms have their own in-house methods of measurement and most bills of quantities prepared today are in an abbreviated format from the one required by the SMM.

Emphasizing contracts management

The QS also emphasizes contracts management. Trained to draft, interpret and administer complex contracts, QS who operates in the broader field of project management often adopt other titles such as “Contracts manager” or “Construction surveyor”. A number of QS work in procurement in the oil & gas industry, process and power industries, and civil engineering. Their preferred title, in countries where the QS profession is less known, is “Contracts engineer”. The QS analyses tenders, prepare and analyze cost data and perform contract administration including evaluate interim payments to contractors, charge variations and claims and settle contract accounts. The role of a contractors QS will extend further than the day to day running of building projects and will cover such other areas as sub-contract formation, forecasting of costs and values of the project, cash flow forecasts and the collation of the operation and maintenance manuals of the project (O&M manuals).

The skills required by a Quantity Surveyor

Being a good Quantity Surveyor, there are numerous skills required in preparing and ensuring good quality of documents for construction projects. As a professional Quantity Surveyor, knowledge in Mathematics, Information Technology(IT), Economic, Human Resource, Science, Business, Global Politics, Global General Knowledge, Geography and etc are crucial.

Information technology continues to develop at an exponential rate. Virtually everyone involved in the construction industry now has extensive access to this technology. A qualified QS should be computer literate, that is, familiar with the common uses or applications of computers. Good IT and numeracy skills, together with the ability to analyse the content of complicated documents are important to be a Quantity Surveyor. The QS is able to learn sophisticated design and costing IT packages when the QS uses the computer effectively. In addition, the QS should be proficient in Mathematics. This is a bonus point when the QS is managing the cost of the construction.

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A well-trained QS understands both of construction techniques and technology. The QS also needs knowledge of construction law, health and safety issues, building methods and time scales, and the costs of materials. Detailed knowledge of past and current building and construction technology, business and legal matters is essential for the QS. Besides, a sound knowledge of building construction is also vital for the QS. These knowledges are required to ensure that the project is undergone smoothly.

Moreover, good communications skill is necessary to express your opinions verbally as well as on paper. The ability to write clear and precise reports and to relate complex information simply to a diverse range of people are also done by the QS. Hence, the language skills are one of the skills required b a successful QS. The QS are advisable to master English. Majority of the contracts are written in English. The QS is unable to understand the contracts well due to poor language skills. Other languages such as local language in respective area are also advisable for a QS to smoothen QS’s work during communicating with the clients.

The QS is always involved in a construction team, which included architects, civil engineers, mechanical & electrical engineers, quantity surveyor and etc. Good negotiating skills are important, as is initiative to make decisions. The QS has to negotiate with a wide variety of people, which means that the QS would have to listen to the opinions of others as well as giving your own point of view. Therefore, the QS must works well in a team which may require the QS to motivate and lead people on site.

As a quantity surveyor, a logical and methodical person is needed in problem solving. With logical thinking, the QS uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion which is seem sensible. The attitude of the QS must be optimistic all the time once the project begins. The QS shows the willingness of doing jobs throughout the whole process. Passion and dedication should place in the heart of the QS in order to achieve high quality of works. Creative and innovative during solving the obstacles are crucial to the QS.

Accuracy when preparing the bills of quantities is vital for the QS. A little difference in calculations will affect the whole presentation of works. Thus, the QS is always careful with the calculations to avoid any careless mistakes.


In conclusion, the existence of Quantity Surveyor is getting more important in the construction field. Quantity Surveyor is involved in a construction project from inception to completion and even demolition in some instances. Besides acts as the financial overseer of a particular project, QS translate the plans into detailed costs. Quantity Surveyor helps to minimize the time scales, the costs of a project and enhance value for money, while still achieving the required standards and quality. A professional Quantity Surveyor is equipped with the strong language, technical and communication skills. Strong base in Mathematics and English helps in speeding up the work as well as reducing the time scale. The QS must be flexible to any kind of work conditions such as site and office.


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