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Important Roles Quantity Surveyors Play in Construction Process

The construction process involves the expertise of different players in the industry. These include building contractors, sub-contractors, architects, builders or structural engineers, project managers and quantity surveyors. The input of the quantity surveyor is as important as the contributions of the other experts.

As is the case of other experts, the role of quantity surveyors spans all the stages of the construction – pre-construction, construction and post-construction stages. Their responsibilities include roles inside the office, on the construction site - or in meetings with clients and other project personnel. Quantity surveyors are responsible for the cost of any building project - from initial estimates, right through to the final acquisition of materials. Surveying jobs and their associated roles vary - but focus on providing clients value for money while adhering to the strict regulations which govern every aspect of the construction industry. These duties can be summed up into cost estimating, negotiating, project coordinating and the most important role of expense management.

Preparation of Cost Estimates

The role of the quantity surveyor starts from the very beginning of the construction project. During this phase, he plays a major role in preparing cost estimates. When the project owner is preparing the budget, the quantity surveyor helps in defining the optimal quantity and price of the materials being used in construction.

He achieves this by working together with clients, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants in identifying their specialties and scopes for the project. The quantity surveyor coordinates with different parties to finalise the optimum prices for each element of the project.

The quantity surveyor can work with other stakeholders such as engineers, workers, and contractors to derive efficiencies in other areas of expense such as labour costs, construction costs, and construction methods.

Budget Management

One of the major roles of a quantity surveyor is managing the project finances. An efficient quantity surveyor makes sure that the project’s costs remain within the stipulated budget. The budget is calculated before the start of a project based on the designs prepared.

The quantity surveyor achieves this by working closely with all parties to procure optimum value products with the best quality. The tool uses in this scenario is to prepare frequent reports tracking the project costs. The quantity surveyor then compares these reports with the original budgets in order to track financial progress.

Keeping Project on Time

Although the project plans are initially designed before the start of a project, these documents help in preparing the actual budge. However, there are always surprises in any construction project. Some scenarios could include weather delays, unforeseen delays, materials shortages, labour shortages, bad ground delays and many more.

Another glitch in the project could arise due to a dispute between two parties such as contractors and subcontractors. In such situations, the negotiation and mediation skills of the quantity surveyor will be useful to try to resolve the issues fairly and reasonably.

Keeping the expenses within the budget is key to the successful completion of the project. As far as the dispute between the project team members is concerned, a quantity surveyor uses his experience to play the role of a mediator in order to avoid delays in the project. He works with both parties and arrives at a solution that is win-win for both and keeps the project on track.

Ensuring Timely Remuneration to Stakeholders

One of the major roadblocks in any project is the delays in payments. The quantity surveyor plays a key role in avoiding this roadblock. Since the beginning of the project, the expert has a keen eye on the budget and associated costs.

Having years of experience under his belt, the surveyor is able to negotiate the best prices for every task. This homework helps the owner make timely payments to project stakeholders such as contractors, engineers, and workers, etc. To keep the project on track, the quantity surveyor keeps track of all payments.

After every chunk of payment, the surveyor checks the expense report with the allotted budget. Keeping a close eye on everyday expenses helps the management keep the project costs within the stipulated budget.

Other Roles Played by Quantity Surveyors

Quantity surveyors also play the following roles in the construction process:

  • feasibility studies of client requests;
  • analysing completed work and arranging payment to contractors;
  • allocating upcoming work to contractors;
  • site visits, assessments and projections for future work;
  • price/forecast the cost of the different materials needed for the project;
  • procure or agree the services of contractors and/or subcontractors who work on the construction of the project;
  • measure and value the work done on site;
  • pay subcontractors;
  • liaise with the client and other construction professionals, such as site managers, project managers and site engineers;
  • select and/or source construction materials; and
  • write reports.

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