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Quantity Surveyor Services Explained

28th October 2022   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a series of articles giving insight into the roles of construction industry professionals, we’re delving into individual jobs in more detail and outlining how they support construction projects.

Quantity surveyors are masters of measurement, using niche know-how to estimate every element of a construction project.

Quantity surveying has been around since the 1800s; the history and longevity of the role are indicative of how essential the skills of a quantity surveyor are in building projects.

Whether you are a private property owner, or a commercial developer, appointing a quantity surveyor can save money, keep the project to budget and timescales, maximise on efficiencies and value, and keep your project compliant.

What does a quantity surveyor do?

A quantity surveyor uses methods of measurement to estimate and manage costs for construction projects.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) trains and regulates chartered surveyors in the UK. Qualified professional quantity surveyors are known as chartered surveyors (Professional Members and Fellows of the RICS).

A qualified quantity surveyor will have expertise and knowledge on construction costs and contracts ensuring both value for money as well as compliance in meeting legal and quality standards.

In addition to cost estimation, quantity surveyors support construction projects by advising on other financial and contractual matters; their expertise can be applied to specific and niche requirements throughout the entire project.

After creating an initial cost plan, the quantity surveyor will produce a bill of quantities which lists, schedules, and quantifies all the materials, trades, and labour required to build a project. The bill of quantities can then be sent out to contractors for them to price as part of their tenders.

When involved with the project as a whole, a quantity surveyor can produce a list of all of the items to consider, estimate the costs for each of these items and possible alternatives, manage the whole tender process, analyse quotes, negotiate figures, prepare contract documents, identify value engineering opportunities, and continually manage the costs and budget as the project develops.

How much does a quantity surveyor cost?

With so many variables involved in construction projects, it is difficult to put a definitive price on exactly how much a quantity surveyor costs. 

There are three main ways in which a quantity surveyor will charge for their services:

  • A fixed fee or lump sum agreement. A good option if the project is not too complicated and the scope of the work is clearly defined. It is important to be clear from the start exactly what work will be completed for the agreed fee.
  • Percentage fees. Charged as a percentage of the construction cost giving a reasonable indication of what the total quantity surveyor fee will be, while also allowing for some flexibility if the project scope is increased.
  • Time-charged basis. A pay-as-you-go approach which is flexible and fast but with the least financial certainty.

As a guide, based on average fees for full services, quantity surveying will cost between 1.7% and 3.2% on construction values between £250,000 and £10,000,000. 

For more detail about quantity surveyor costings, read the Evolution5 article: How much do quantity surveyors charge?

Do you need a quantity surveyor?

With construction projects fraught with cost variables and rarely free of unforeseen complications, appointing a quantity surveyor as your construction cost professional is invaluable.

Quantity surveyors are also responsible for ensuring construction projects meet the required legal and quality standards and are therefore an essential element for your project’s compliance.

Generally, the larger the project, the higher the cost risk, further emphasising the need for a quantity surveyor to provide the expertise and knowledge required to manage the complexities of the costs, budgets, and tender processes.

How to appoint a quantity surveyor

To maximise the value of using a quantity surveyor, they should be involved from the beginning of the project: at the design stage.

It’s important to ensure that the quantity surveyor that you appoint has received the required qualifications. Check their qualifications, experience, professional indemnity insurance, and if they are RICS regulated: the RICS has a free ‘Find a Surveyor’ online service.

Your quantity surveyor will become a vital part of your project team – so do your research; meet with them to get a feel for how they work; and ask them for case studies, testimonials, and examples of their previous work and experience.

How Evolution5 can help

Evolution5 is an award-winning, RICS registered professional consultancy offering construction management, project management, quantity surveying, employer’s agent, and contract administration services for projects across London and the South East.

As a RICS regulated firm, we can provide you with the full range of building surveying services. Our expert chartered surveyors have a wealth of experience and knowledge ready to support you and your project.

If you have a construction project and would like to explore how the team can help you, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.