Evolution5 cost consultant

What is a Cost Consultant?

15th June 2023   |   Liz Clarke   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

In construction, the different terms used for various roles can be confusing and the term “cost consultant” is a great example.

  • What is a cost consultant?
  • Are they different to a quantity surveyor or cost manager?
  • What do they do?

Read on as we shed light on the term and what it really means to your construction project.

Budget and cost planning are fundamental components underpinning a construction project of any size or form.

Sound cost planning keeps a project on track, enables flexibility for unforeseen changes, and ultimately keeps everything to budget to ensure the project is successful, profitable, and delivers value for money.

A role often fulfilled by the quantity surveyor, it is the cost consultant’s responsibility to manage project costs.

What does a cost consultant do?

A cost consultant advises on, and manages, costs throughout a construction project. They are often, but not always, quantity surveyors with specialist industry knowledge in construction project planning, procurement, and cost management.

Cost consultant roles and responsibilities include:

  • Helping to inform initial project budgets
  • Monitoring budgets and costs throughout the project lifecycle and keeping the client and project team informed
  • Adapting the budget plan to unforeseen changes
  • Preparing regular cost, budget, and cash flow reports
  •  Using QS methods of measurement to estimate and manage costs
  • Estimating costs by benchmarking against similar projects
  • Developing a reliable cost plan and cash flow projections
  • Preparing a bill of quantities to list, schedule, and quantify all the materials, trades, and labour required to build a project
  •  Identifying value engineering opportunities
  • Managing the procurement and tendering process
  • Ensuring compliance in meeting legal and quality standards
  • Advising on contractual matters, including contractual documents and payment terms
  •  Minimising financial risk and mitigating any potential risks that may impact on project costs
  •  Ensuring accurate and prompt payment for completed work
  • Settling the final account with contractors

How much does a cost consultant cost?

Project size, complexity, timescales, type, and the cost consultant’s experience level can influence how much a cost consultant costs.

There are several ways in which a cost consultant might 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. From the start, it is important to be clear exactly what work will be completed for the agreed fee.
  •  Percentage fees. Charged as a percentage of the total project cost – typically between 1.7% and 3.2%. This fee structure enables flexibility if the project scope is increased.
  • Time-charged basis. A pay-as-you-go approach on an hourly or day rate which is flexible and fast but with the least financial certainty. 

For more information regarding costs for your project, please get in touch with one of the team for a no-obligation consultation.

Do you need a cost consultant?

Every construction project needs someone responsible for accurately and efficiently managing the budget and cost elements.

A cost consultant is often a qualified quantity surveyor but can also be another construction industry professional with experience in cost management.

Ensuring the role is fulfilled by an experienced professional can be invaluable to the project with the benefits of using a cost consultant, including cost-effective project delivery, reducing financial risks, compliance, extensive knowledge of efficient methods and materials, commercial awareness, and maximizing the return on investment.

How to appoint a cost consultant

To generate the maximum benefit from a cost consultant, they should be appointed at the start of the project to enable input into the budget and project planning phases.

However, cost consultants can help at any project stage, particularly if a project faces unforeseen cash flow, budgetary, or renegotiation challenges.

A reliable and efficient way to appoint a cost consultant is through a specialist consultancy. By appointing a Chartered Building Consultancy (CIOB) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regulated consultant, you will have the assurance that you are engaging a reputable company that you can trust and rely on.

How Evolution5 can help

Evolution5 is an award-winning, RICS-registered professional consultancy offering cost management services for construction projects across London and the South East.

We use tried and tested value management techniques and commercial awareness from a highly experienced cost management team to deliver robust and reliable cost management services for construction projects.

Our cost management services include cost planning, risk management, value engineering, and procurement advice – whether you need a full cost management solution or some specialist support, Evolution 5 can help with the cost management of your construction project.

Find out more about Evolution 5’s cost management services

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