“Should I employ a Quantity Surveyor?” is a question we’re often asked, whether the project is a bespoke new home or a modest extension. Typically our answer to this question is a resounding “yes”, as employing a quantity surveyor as part of the team can be extremely beneficial even on a modest project. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of employing a quantity surveyor at different stages of a project. You can find more information on the services registered surveyors can provide on the RICS website.
Quantity Surveyor Services at Sketch Design/Pre-Planning Stage
Some clients choose to have a pre-planning budget produced by a quantity surveyor once the sketch design stage is completed and a rough layout and style of a new house or alteration project has been agreed. The quantity surveyor will take our sketch design drawings and an outline construction specification and work up a budget costing based on their knowledge of current local pricing and rates for the various elements. At this stage, the cost breakdown will feature a number of provisional sums for the costs of items such as your kitchen, sanitary fittings and wall and floor finishes, however these will be identified in the document so that you can see how increasing or decreasing the budget for these items will affect the overall cost of the works.
Having a budget costing produced at the stage in the process can be extremely valuable, as it will allow us to assess whether or not the sketch designs are realistically deliverable within your budget given the current construction costs at the time. If the budget estimate comes back too high, then we can look at ways to reduce the likely cost of the works. This might be through alterations to the proposed construction strategy, changes to the level of specification of finishes, or by reducing the overall size of the build.
Understanding the likely costs of the work at the pre-planning stage is extremely useful. Should changes to the design be required, it’s far better to address this early in the process before you spend time and fees refining a detailed proposal ready for planning.
A sketch stage budget costing can also be important for modest extension or re-ordering works that don’t require planning. Re-ordering works to an existing house can be difficult for us to cost on a simple £/sqm basis, so a quantity surveyor can offer more detailed advice on the likely costs of the internal re-ordering works. If the sketch design budget costing comes back as expected, you can be more confident pressing ahead with commissioning the detailed pricing drawings and committing to the final scope of work to the house.
Quantity Surveyor Services at Detailed Design/Tender Stage
At detailed design and tender stage, a quantity surveyor will be able to update their previous costing information or put together a new document which contains an increased level of detail now that the construction strategy, finishes and other details are finalised. The increased level of drawn information and written specifications will translate into a more accurate and detailed cost breakdown. Producing a budget costing at the pre-tender stage can be a useful check to make sure that costs are still on track, and gives you an updated indication of the likely tender prices.
For larger projects such as bespoke new homes, our clients will sometimes choose to go a step further and commission a full bill of quantities. This document measures everything in the build and provides the tendering contractors with a full schedule of measurements against which they simply apply their rates.
The fees associated with a quantity surveyors services at tender stage will vary depending on the level of detail that’s required and the size and complexity of the project.
On Site Support from your Quantity Surveyor
We are able to assess your contractor’s claims for payment and issue interim certificates as part of our contract administration and certification services. However, some clients prefer to appoint a quantity surveyor to assess the monthly claims for payment and negotiate the value of any variations to the contracted works.
If you decide to appoint a quantity surveyor to look after the financial side of the site work stage of your build, we simply adjust our fee for the Contract Administration stage of the works.