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S.J.Jeyamathan, S J Jeyamathan Lecturer U i University it of f Moratuwa M t 2007

Who is a Quantity Surveyor

The Quantity Surveyor is the Cost Consultant of construction projects. Their professional advice is essential to architects architects, builders builders, developers developers, engineering organizations, project managers and government agencies. The in depth knowledge possessed by them in construction costs enables them to advice, manage, and formulate policies to regulate the construction industry. Estimating, cost planning and preparation of Bill of Quantities are some of the primary functions of a quantity surveyor. The root of quantity surveying practice evolved with measurement of works and preparation of Bills of Quantities. It is from this that the name Quantity Surveyor derives. Builders use the Bills of Quantities when bidding as the basis of their tenders and during construction as the basis for valuing work done. Mistakes in this sector are costly and dangerous, and getting it right first time is imperative. Multi-million and multi-billion pound project budgets are common in construction. Managing the cost for a major construction project places huge demands on QSs

Quantity Q tit surveyors render d a valuable l bl service i f from i inception ti t to completion l ti of f construction projects, to clients as well as contractors / builders. As they monitor costs and are responsible for the money spent by the client and contractor / builder builder, the impartial role played by them is indispensable for both these parties. The past Th t ten t or more years have h been b the th rise i of f the th status t t of f the th profession f i in Sri Lanka. However, whereas a survey of the general public would indicate that most people know what an accountant, architect, builder or engineer does, does few outside the construction industry know what a QS does does. Is the industry offering employment to those with a keen desire, but little experience? i ?I Is it encouraging i employees l t to apply l t to contractors t t f for practical ti l work & more money, rather than building up a talent pool with in the profession

Many are content to keep busy in their favourite area, to earn a good income & leave l it to t others th to t develop d l sophistication hi ti ti & achieve hi something thi new. Certainly QSs have emerged as most sought after professionals, possibly because of the disciplined & through training in measurement, their logical, impartial ability & general all-round knowledge of the total building & procurement process. Why would clients, contractors, developers, sub-contractors, architects, g & so on require q the services of these p professionals if QS were not engineers a most valuable asset to the industry? To survive & grow in the future, the profession must respond quickly & creatively climb up the ladder to the challenges of accelerating social, technological, economical & environment change, both at home & abroad. Prokesch (1997) advocates that building and leveraging knowledge & skill are the key to success in this age of globalization, while Male (1990) opines th t k that knowledge l d & skills kill are i important t t power b base f for professions f i generally. ll A justification for a study of the duties & skills required of quantity surveyors is that the ability of the quantity surveying profession to meet differing and changing client needs and to grow the market for quantity surveying services depends on the knowledge base of the profession.

The Quantity Surveyor is a construction professional, he or she is qualified and adequately trained to advise on all aspects of construction costs, financial and contractual administration administration. He or she is an expert on the cost and management of construction projects, whether building, civil or heavy engineering. The QSs, are trained in estimating, cost control & in contract administration and our experiences carry over a huge range of works. QSs do not know every thing, but have become very good over the years at finding out about things They are very good at asking the right questions & having things things. explained in simple terms, often to the enlightenment of other members of the team. QSs who perform conventional role of building quantities (BOQ) have to continually learn new construction technology before being able to do any comprehensive measurement. BOQ preparation is bread & butter for a QS. A fully f ll measured d BOQ may help h l to t minimize i i i any unnecessary variation i ti th that t may arise from any error or omission in the BOQ. Not only BOQ, but other tender documents are equally important. Tender documents, specially the forms of contracts, have to be drafted with much care.

An employer said I do not care what ever the estimating ti ti t tool l (Th (The BOQ) a QS use because b I pay them for the effective cost management they exercise in the organization not for preparing BOQ.. Another A th expert t arose a Question Q ti whether h th design d i for f cost or cost for design is better? But in actual procedure it will be a combination of both. The experts suggest that the greatest extras (claims (claims, disputes ) are brought about by prolongation & by misinterpretation of documentation (Tender, contract documentation) The QS have been involved in documentation). measuring documents both for clients & contractors, QS knows the errors & discrepancies which occur in g & specifications. p drawings


There has been substantial discussion on measurement skill but not much has been discussed on QS skills. However, there is comprehensive coverage on the services that a QS can provide & what a QS is able to do. Prokesch (1997) advocates that building and leveraging knowledge & skills are the key to success in this age of globalization, l b li ti while hil Male M l (1990) opines i th t knowledge that k l d & skills kill are important power base for professions generally.

THE PROJECT & THE PROFESSIONAL QUANTITY SURVEYOR However the following are projects, by no means exhaustive of which quantity surveying services can be utilized : Bungalows, B l fl flats, t apartment, t t townhouses, t h condominium d i i developments, housing schemes and town ships and places. Commercial offices, banks, shopping and entertainment complexes hotels, complexes, hotels chalets, chalets hostels, hostels holiday and recreational resorts including tourist complexes. Universities, colleges, educational institutions and research centers, hospitals, medical centers and monumental works. Airports, seaports, railway and vehicular terminals and telecommunication buildings and towers. Bridges, highways, roads, reservoirs, dams, power and atomic stations t ti including i l di other th related l t d civil i il engineering i i and d infrastructure works. Factories, warehouses, mills, manufacturing and assembly plants refineries, plants, refineries oil rigs and petrol stations stations. Extension, alterations, restoration and demolition works including interior architectural work

Whenever any building project is proposed, it is important that the cost involved is known in advance. These include site preparation cost, construction, labor, material and plant costs, professional fees, taxes and other charges as well as the likely running and maintenance costs for the new building. The Quantity Surveyor is trained to evaluate these costs and to advise on alternative proposals. Quantity y Surveyors y may y work in a variety y of areas vis. private practice, government sectors, educational institutions, construction companies, property developers, banks and financial institutions, industrial companies and other commercial companies. Their professional skills are highly respected and often achieve top managerial status.

History The origin of the IQSSL is related in many ways to the beginning of Quantity Surveying practice in Sri Lanka Lanka. Quantity surveying practice originated due to the colonisation of Sri Lanka by the British and the first recorded history of quantity surveyors in Sri Lanka is in the 1930's. However, with the 1940's depression, all quantity surveyors left except for one that was attached to the P Public blic Works Department Department. He was as instrumental in sending those employed under him for training under the Commonwealth Scholarship program . Those Th who h were t trained i d abroad b d returned t dt to the country and originated the commencement of the Builders Quantities Course at technician level with the support from the government. They were four in number namely Professor H.P.S. Caldera, Mr. Tony Miskin, , Mr. H.D. Chandrasena and Mr. Prasad Senarathna. They were the founders of the Sri-Lanka Association of Quantity surveyors.

In 1974 the Commonwealth Association of Surveyors and Land Economy (CASLE) held their international seminar in Colombo where they y identified the need for the formation of an Institute of Quantity Surveyors as well as the need for university level education for Quantity Surveyors. Thus the Institute of Quantity y Sri Lanka was founded in the early y 1980's by y the Surveyors three remaining quantity surveyors (since one had migrated to Australia by then). The three founding members of the present Institute of Quantity Surveyors were Prof. H.P.S. Caldera; Mr. Tony Miskin and Mr. HD Chandrasena. The institute existed on a low key due to lack of members but within a period of 3 years. a further three members joined the institute making a total of 6 members. During this period three members of the institute had the dual task of developing the Quantity surveying profession and working towards its acceptance in the industry as well as by the government authorities. Source: IQSSl web site

Types of Quantity Surveying entities

Independent QS Design consortium QS Design & build QS Contractor QS

Duties of Quantity Surveyor

Traditionally Quantity surveyor has been performing his duties as COST MANAGER & CONTRACT ADMINISTRATOR. The QS duties can be categorised as TRADITIONAL & NON TRADITIONAL duties TRADITIONAL

Pre- contract stage P t Contract PostC t t Stage St Consultant QS Contractor QS


To stay still while all round are moving forward is to stagnate & become extinct. To move forward in irregular spurts by revolution is to loose what was good in the past while throwing out what was bad. To move to something untested which may prove to be wrong, which by the time it is discovered may be too late to correct, may cause irreparable damage to be done. To move forward by regular evolution is to retain control of the movement, t to t keep k what h t is i good, d throw th out t what h t has h been b proved d wrong & to build on sound principles to move into new areas. QSs has been able to expand on his traditional roles & move into areas occupied by other professionals. This is because his core skills & disciplines have given him the confidence & ability to do so. It is clear that the role of th QS i the is expanding di & thi this i is reflected fl t d i in th the growth th of f bi bigger interdisciplinary & international QS practices a s well as the growth of practices specialising in, for example, dispute resolution, value management etc We should not allow other professions to fill the gap which the QS is etc. perfectly capable of filling.

In order to perform the above mentioned duties, apart from the measurement knowledge & ability, design & construction are areas that a QS needs to have an insight, but not as an expertise. This is because these areas are the specialized areas of other professional such as architects & engineers. Ability to have a comprehensive knowledge in design & construction would enable a QS to offer alternative cost advice to client & this would affect pricing. A person who wishes to join the industry should understand how the industry works. Since management orientated competencies will become more important for the future business success of quantity surveyors, project management, marketing, g and p personal and interpersonal p skills should be included as a matter of priority in the academic and training curricula of quantity surveyors.

Meyer and Semark (1996) describe competence as the demonstration of an integration of knowledge, skill, personal attributes and value orientation. Pacific ac c Association ssoc a o o of Qua Quantity y Su Surveyors eyo s defines competencies as ability to perform p to the the activities within an occupation standard expected for employment.

Competencies required by the Australian Institute of Quantity y Surveyors y ( (AIQS) ) Cost Management, Computer Services, Procurement, M Measurement, t Contract Administration, Construction Technology

Competencies p required q by y the Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors Cost management Contract administration (Account management, Construction change g management) g ) Procurement (Tendering process, general procurement, Contract documentation) Measurement and Statistical Analysis Constructability Analysis and The Environment Contract Administration

Ability to perform the activities within an occupation to the standard expected for employment. employment (reference PAQS News Letter, 2000) NOTE:NOTE: Ability is a key variable in the analysis of performance.

Most Important Skills

Medium Important skills

Less Important skills

Profit earning, g, Interdisciplinary,Aggressiveness, p y, gg , Research skills, Cultural & organizational understanding.

These skills are generally used to understand the organization the QSs are employed in order to develop cohesive relationships within the organizational i ti l departments d t t & strive ti t achieve to hi th the organizational objectives, basically the profit.

Skills of a professional Quantity Surveyor

Problem solving Managing time Presentation Co-ordination and integration Analysing information Practical awareness Quantification Numeracy Negotiation Perceptual speed Adapt past solutions S lf Self-motivation ti ti Self- awareness Imagination and memory g Active listening Learning from others Planning Developing peer relations Mental alertness and visualization Risk taking Logical thought & abstract reasoning

Economic Associated with the assessment of the value for money & cost-effectiveness in design. Relaying upon analysis & evaluation techniques are necessary for costing, measuring & valuing in order that clients may be advised correctly. LegalLegal Based upon the general knowledge of the Law & a specialist knowledge & interpretation of the law of contract. This is used in producing contract doc mentation in the ad documentation advice ice & settlement of the contractual matters, disputes & claims. Technologies g A knowledge g of the construction process & the methods used in the construction of building & other structures, together with an in-depth knowledge of the industry. This provides a basis for developing other skill. Managerial The ability to organize the work associated with the construction project to influence others in the procurement of buildings & structures, together with skills of an administrative function.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (1971) and Male (1990) p that the distinctive emphasize competencies or skills of the quantity surveyor are associated with measurement t and d valuation l ti which hi h provide id the basis for the proper cost management of the construction project in the context of forecasting, analyzing, planning, controlling and accounting accounting.

Job Description
Definition ( (Reference:- Dessler, , 2003) )
A list of jobs duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions & can include skills, personalities, requisite education of the job performer. They provide basic information about the job under the headings of the job title, overall purpose & principal accountabilities or main tasks or duties.

Job Specification

(Reference: (Reference:-

Dessler Dessler,

A written statement that identifies the abilities, skills, traits or attributes necessar necessary for a s ccessf l successful performance in a particular job.

In Sri Lanka almost all the QSs are performing conventional duties. Quantity surveying work in different disciplines/new directions, have received little or no attention in Sri Lanka. The skills required of a QS may now be considered as Technical, Analytical Managerial & Financial Management depending on the Analytical, different rating assigned on each skill for different duties of QS. It is i observable b bl that th t QSs QS mostly tl remain i in i the th head h d office ffi (as ( to t the th major j duties e.g. preparing BOQ, Tendering & evaluation, assisting the design team, Estimating the project cost, contact management).

In site, QS are mostly required to do technical level job (comprises documentation measurement) documentation, Intended that Head office skills which include Managerial and , and high g level Q Quantity y Surveying y gp professional Administrative skills, skills, would be the most demanding skill. However the end result was as to the nature of the job, Technical skills has been needed highly for QS to master his duties. However management orientated skills will become more important for the future success of quantity surveyors. Communication, personal and interpersonal skills should be i l d d as a matter included tt of f priority i it in i the th academic d i and d training t i i curricula i l for quantity surveyors. Because the diversification of QSs services highly relies on Management and Economics.

How to improve QS role in SL

A direct relationship with the client & better interactions with Architects & Engineers. Engineers Better relationships with universities & institutes of technology are needed. More active promotion of the profession is essential. Continuous profession developments programmes, training programmes, exchange programmes & any other form of professional contact that is available. The p profession must continue to recruit bright g y young g p people p by y offering attractive career prospects to its potential recruits. These new entrants are the lifeblood of QS.

Keep up with times and survive or be a painful economic traditionalist and die a p death as many of us already have. to be a QS you have to be practical minded have lot of drive & self initiative minded, initiative jack of all trades but master of none. I am proud to be a QS, hope you are.

References WILLIS,C.J AND ASHWORTH,A, 1987, Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor, 9th ed London ed., London, Collins Collins. FERRY,D.J, BRANDON,P.S AND FERRY, J.D, 2003, Cost Planning of Buildings, 7th ed., L d London, Bl Blackwell k ll S Science. i ASHWORTH,A, 1983, Building Economics and Cost Co Control, t o , London, o do , Butterworths utte o t s BRANDON.. New Directions in Quantity Surveying.