These guys are the cost controllers of the construction industry and although their involvement in self build projects is relatively rare, a quantity surveyor (QS) could save you money!
Do you need a quantity surveyor?
Like many of the consultant roles, whether you need one or not depends largely on the build route you have chosen, your design, your budget or whether you feel the inclination to take on this aspect of the project yourself.
If you are using a package company or kit home manufacturer where design and construction are included for a final price, you won’t need one. You might want to engage their services if you decide to self manage your project and don’t feel confident tackling cost forecasts and control.
If you have a highly complex design or a large build budget of several hundred thousand pounds, then getting some expert advice and at least discussing your project with a quantity surveyor might be worthwhile.
What do they do?
The budget and cost control are fundamental for any construction project and a QS can be involved for the entire duration, even at the conceptual design phase, assessing the budget and ensuring that design plans are realistic.
Most will be happy to take whatever level of involvement you require, whether simply preparing the bill of quantities or taking on full cost control of the entire project.
The following are some of the tasks they can carry out:
- Initial assessment of project costs and the budget.
- Ensuring the design (as it develops) and the budget are compatible.
- Calculating material quantities from design documents (‘take offs’).
- Producing a bill of quantities (All labour and material requirements itemised and costed).
- Cash flow forecasts.
- Preparation of tender documents.
- Obtaining quotes and assessing them for completeness.
- Preparation of contract documents.
- Cost control throughout the project with site visits and meetings.
- Review and negotiate changes or variations.
- Agree final accounts.
- Help you get the best value throughout the project.
If you are using an experienced architect or designer, they should be able to recommend a surveyor to you.
If not, membership to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) both of whom award professional membership to quantity surveyors after completion of an accredited degree and a period of occupational experience should ensure they are up to the job.
Regardless of whether you want to involve a QS or not, recognising the importance of realistic cost projections and effective control is essential.
If you are interested in controlling project costs yourself, have a look at our section on build costs.
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