Often found patrolling building sites with a clipboard in hand, quantity surveyors play a key role in construction projects all over the world. But instead of erecting scaffolding or laying bricks, they’re responsible for managing the project’s finances and ensuring high-quality construction. Property developers, architects, contractors and anyone planning their own construction project will recruit the services of a quantity surveyor to help maximise the financial efficiency of their build.

As one of the leading quantity surveyors in London, we’re frequently asked, ‘What does a quantity surveyor do?’ So, in this article, we’ll use our decades of experience to explain the role of a quantity surveyor and how it extends much further than just budget management.

What Does A Quantity Surveyor Do In Construction?

If you’re planning a construction project, a quantity surveyor, also known as a cost consultant, is one of the most effective ways to ensure it meets its goals. They’re tasked with a number of administrative responsibilities, using their strong numerical skills to keep the project on track and within budget. Each quantity surveyor will employ a different approach to their role, but all will work to maximise your build’s value for money.

Bhangals on site

What Is A Quantity Surveyor?

Alongside acting as the financial guardian for a construction project, quantity surveyors help ensure it meets the necessary legal and quality standards. They’ll liaise with the client and their contractors before any construction work begins to help establish a reasonable budget and a plan to keep the project on track throughout. These initial meetings are known as pre-contract services, and they’re integral to the project’s success.

Quantity surveyors are usually recruited by the client and will collaborate with architects and engineers to produce tender documents for a project. Tender documents are invitations to contractors to supply their services for construction. So, the assistance of a highly experienced quantity surveyor will help the client choose the best contractors for their project.

Throughout the project, they’ll conduct site visits and valuations to monitor the construction process and ensure everything remains on track. These post-contract services allow contractors to focus on providing high-quality construction, knowing an expert is handling their budget.

At the project’s conclusion, the quantity surveyor plays a key role in settling the final account. They’ll meet with the contractor, a representative of the client, the project manager, and the designer to determine the agreed amount the client will pay the contractor. It is the quantity surveyor’s job to consider additional fees, deductions, and the conditions established in the original contract to negotiate the best price for their client.


What Do Quantity Surveyors Do?

While a quantity surveyor’s responsibilities remain consistent, the content of their role shifts as the project progresses.

Prior to Construction

Before any project begins, a quantity surveyor carefully examines the drawings and specifications for a new building. These documents are usually provided by architects or engineers and often involve Building Information Modelling (BIM), a process that uses data to create a digital representation of an asset throughout its entire lifecycle.

Using these documents, a quantity surveyor will conduct a material takeoff (MTO) to calculate the amount and cost of materials needed for construction. This data is also used to provide early budgeting advice and benchmarks to prepare life cycle cost plans.

Additionally, quantity surveyors will help their clients piece together a legally binding contract document to ensure all parties involved in the project are on the same page before any work takes place. This service, partnered with detailed tender analysis, will minimise the client’s exposure to financial risk.

During Construction

Once construction is underway, a quantity surveyor will spend plenty of time on the site to ensure everything goes according to plan. In most projects, there are a few obstacles to overcome, like disagreements with contractors or delays in supply chains. The quantity surveyor is responsible for monitoring these changes and making suggestions to keep the project within the budget and timeline. In order to stay on top of the project and monitor its developments, they’ll conduct regular site visits and valuations.

Post Construction

Following the completion of construction, quantity surveyors are responsible for finalising all remaining tasks and closing out the accounts. This includes meticulously documenting all expenses and comparing them to the initial pre-construction plan, which serves as a valuable guide for future financial planning.

Additionally, quantity surveyors compile all necessary paperwork for tax reporting, identifying potential tax deductions and opportunities for cost savings. In the event of any disputes, they are tasked with resolving issues and handling insurance claims if necessary. They meticulously review all financial aspects of the construction project and ensure that the project is concluded in line with industry standards.

They’ll help the client close the project by compiling a detailed final account containing all financial aspects of the project and any documentation related to costs. This will allow the client to understand where their investment has been spent and whether any contractors have violated the conditions of their contract.

Construction from above

Do I Need A Quantity Surveyor?

If you’re planning a construction project on a finite budget and you don’t have the capability or resources to undertake the construction yourself, recruiting a quantity surveyor is highly recommended. From small extensions to multi-million-pound developments, involving a quantity surveyor in the project as early as possible will help maximise the cost-efficiency of your build. With the support of a quantity surveyor, you’ll significantly reduce your exposure to financial risk and unreasonable quotes from contractors.

Your quantity surveyor will also help navigate any disputes that might arise during construction and support with client-contractor dispute resolution. By playing a proactive role in contract management, they’ll identify any potential areas of contention upfront and help iron them out before a contract becomes binding. If conflict does arise, your quantity surveyor will use negotiation and mediation to reach mutually acceptable resolutions and avoid the need for formal dispute resolution procedures. Should the dispute progress further than that, they’ll gather and present evidence with the support of legal professionals to build a strong argument for your case.

Additionally, quantity surveyors play a key role in promoting the sustainability of your project. They help you select sustainable materials and renewable energy sources to influence your development’s green credentials. By reducing the build time, they can help minimise waste and reduce the construction’s environmental impact. With the support of their industry expertise, a quantity surveyor will be able to find the balance between investing in sustainable practices and the long-term value of the build.

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Benefits Of A Quantity Surveyor

While the main driver behind recruiting a quantity surveyor is to maximise your project’s value for money, the benefits extend much further than this. Alongside budget management, they’ll help take the weight off your shoulders in various ways. Here are some of the areas in which quantity surveyors begin to repay the cost of their service:

Cost Management:

Quantity surveyors are experts in overseeing expenses during the construction process. They can offer precise feasibility costings for the project, aiding in effective project planning and budgeting. They’ll also provide cost-saving suggestions throughout the build to help distribute the money elsewhere or save on total build costs.

Budget Control:

They’ll help establish realistic budget estimates for your project and work and make sure the costs are controlled throughout the construction phases, helping prevent budget overruns.

Tendering Advice:

By preparing detailed tendering documents and applying their extensive knowledge of the construction industry, quantity surveyors will ensure you receive fair and competitive quotes from contractors. They’ll also use their understanding of the local construction industry to help you choose quality contractors that suit your project’s needs.

Value Engineering:

Your quantity surveyor will suggest value engineering options to optimise costs without compromising on the project’s quality and functionality.

Arranging Contracts:

Quantity surveyors will help arrange your contracts to keep the project on track and avoid any significant cost issues. They’ll have a detailed understanding of each contract, so they can quickly identify if something does not meet the conditions outlined within it.

Risk Management:

They’ll conduct extensive risk assessments to identify any uncertainties related to costs. You can benefit from their construction experience to help make informed financial decisions and mitigate these risks.

Cash Flow Management:

Forecasting and managing cash flow are crucial for construction projects, and quantity surveyors play a vital role in ensuring there are enough funds available when needed. Based on their industry experience, they’ll also provide contingency plans to prepare for unforeseen issues.

Compliance With Regulations:

Quantity surveyors will offer expert property advice to help you stay within local building regulations and codes. They’ll ensure that your project meets these standards and sidesteps any possible legal complications.

Project Management:

Due to the overlap in skill sets, many quantity surveyors offer their services as project managers for a more holistic approach to your build. This gives your quantity surveyor more control over each project element and helps them better manage your budget.

Planning drawings

Construction With Confidence

If you’re looking to take on a construction project with confidence, it’s clear that recruiting a quantity surveyor is one of the most effective ways to do so. Their wealth of industry experience gives your project the best chance of success, allowing you to execute your plans on time and within budget. Additionally, you’ll have increased protection against financial risks like inaccurate quotes and improper construction practices.

For industry-leading quantity surveying services in London, look no further than Bhangals. Our quantity surveyors in London save our clients an average of 27.8% on construction costs per project, and you could be the next to benefit. Get in touch today and find out how we can help make your construction dreams a reality.