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Table of Contents

1 ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................ 1

2 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... 1





6.1 Reasons based on shortcomings of ICT products / software. .......................................... 5

6.2 Reasons based on quantity surveying roles ...................................................................... 5

7 CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................... 7

8 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................ 8

The major focus of this paper is to examines the threats that technological development poses on
the future existence of quantity surveying profession and also reasons why it will remain in
existence. Much focus is placed on identifying the quantity surveying roles/duties that can be
performed using technology. The use of technology in the construction industry and its impact on
quantity surveyors are also taken into consideration to establish whether quantity surveying
profession will remain in existence even in the face of threats from technology.

Construction projects are becoming much more complex and difficult to manage. One complexity
is the reciprocal interdependence between different stake orders such as financing bodies,
authorities, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, lawyers, contractors, suppliers and trades
(Clough et al.,2008). As a response to the increasing complexity of projects, Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) has been developing at a fast pace. Information and
Communication Technology can be defined as technology that is used to handle data, information
and knowledge. It involves the use of electronic devices and programmes for the processing,
storage, transfer and presentation of information (Doherty.1997). This has resulted in coming up
with design software/model that are used by profession in the construction industry one of which
is Building Information Models (BIM).

The development of technology has revolutionised the way the industry operates to an extent that
this has become a threat to the professions in the construction industry, one of which is the quantity
surveying profession. Quantity surveying is defined as an expert in the art of costing a building at
all its stages who offer expert advices on construction costs. He may be involved as a specialist in
one area or generalize in several over the course of a project (RICS, 2012). A quantity surveyor is
also known as a construction economist, a cost manager, and a team of professional advisers to the
construction industry.


ICT products are used to support information integration. This has been seen to help in reducing
the volume of information processed and reduce data re-entry by transferring information through
internet/Intranet protocols (Peansupap, 2004). This enables to improve productivity in construction
through improved operational efficiency, reduce cost and project cost.
The use of ICT products can Enhance collaboration by supporting communication among project
members and sharing of information and documents, especially when team members are located
in different geographical areas.



Software impact on the roles of quantity surveying are highlighted in the following stages of
project construction according to Peansupap (2004).

Tender Stage

In this stage the software used can:

 Speed up the distribution of documentation, register tenders and download tender

 Provide a simple environment to evaluate the tenderers‟ responses through standard
 Prevent unauthorized access through built in security mechanisms.
 Communicate changes in the tender documents, during the tender process, quickly and

Design and Construction Stage

ICT software are used at this stage to:

 Improve work efficiency, reducing errors and rework by ensuring that everyone in the
project team is working with the most current drawings and other documents.
 Save time in the query and approval process, by allowing the design team to mark up and
comment on drawings online.

 Keeping of past record files in one place.
 Improve team communication by enabling team members to raise and respond to queries
in a structured way.
 Maintain a complete log of all communications for tracking purposes.
It is also noted that during the purchase of materials, software is used because material purchasing
is a lengthy and complex process, which requires the identification of considerable resources and
potential suppliers as well as the evaluation of quotes, which are normally received in different


ICT products / software are seen as threats to the existence of quantity surveying profession due
to the following reasons:

Traditionally, Quantity Takeoff and bill generation is a very time consuming process that are prone
to error (Baldwin and Jellings, 2009). Time is of essence in construction projects, using technology
as enabled to do work faster and without errors.

Moreover, it is perceived that the following factors undermine the accuracy of the manual
Quantity Takeoff.

 Errors associated with moving data between files.

 Risk of double counting and missing elements.
 Multiple 2D drawings themselves are likely to contain many errors compounding the
problem further.

It has also been observed that design software can aid programme certainty at tender stage,
contractors can link their programme to the model upon tender submission, and this should reduce
the amount of variations required during the construction phase.

Another threat to the services conventionally provided by Quantity Surveyors are that which BIM
provides, such as potential to automate measurements, accurate estimates, facilitate the preparation
quantity taking off and bills of quantity production which is one of the quantity surveying
professional fundamental task (Olatunji et al, 2009). This model mainly performs these tasks at a
fast rate with minimal errors compared to that if they where to be done manually.

Analysis of all materials, components and deriving of their quantities can be performed by 5D
model created by BIM (Baldwin and Jellings, 2009). This is of much importance because how
long the building will last and the cost depends on the material quality and quantity respectively,
it is therefore a plus to the threats posed on the existence of quantity surveying profession.

The table below shows a summary of the capabilities of BIM applications pertaining to the
traditional quantity surveying tasks according to Eastman et al. (2011 as cited in Shangvi, 2012).

Traditional quantity Bim tools capable of preforming that task

surveying task

Quantity Take-off Autodesk QTO, BIM Measure from Causeway

BOQ Preparation CostOS, Nomitech
Cost Estimation DProfiler, Beck Technology
Cost Planning Vico Cost Planner
Cost Reporting Vico Office Client
Cost Control Vico Cost Explorer
Material Procurement Quantities of material can be obtained using BIM tools for QTO.
Payment Applications Bentley
VM BIM tools for estimating can be used to obtain the estimated costs
of various design options
Life Cycle Costing Integrated Environmental Solutions Virtual Environment

Source: Shangvi (2012).

From the information in the table above it is clear that truly ICT products / software poses threats
on the quantity surveying profession because it is able to do what they do.


The reasons why the quantity surveying professional may survive in the face of the threats of ICT
products are based on the shortcoming of the use of these products in quantity surveying works
and also on the roles that that a quantity surveying expert can perform without the use of the ICT

6.1 Reasons based on shortcomings of ICT products / software.
The reasons under this are as follows:

Quantities from a Building Information Model can be extracted to a cost database or an excel file.
However, pricing cannot be attained from the model (Hergunsel, 2011). This is because cost
estimating requires the expertise of the cost estimator (quantity surveyor) to analyse the
components of a material and how they get installed. Another reason is that at some point the
pricing for a certain activity may not be available in the database, and this will require the cost
estimator to further breakdown of the element for more accurate pricing.

BIM is becoming a better known established collaboration process in the construction industry
(Hergunsel, 2011). However, as per the viewpoints of Ogunsemi et al. (2010), there is a second
line of thought within the construction industry which suggests that, BIM is not completely
trustworthy as a Quantity Surveying tool as nonconformity of the output data from BIM with the
standard methods of measurement. Furthermore, Buckley (2008 as cited in Shangvi, 2012) argued
that, BIM tools are not advanced enough to be capable to substitute the experience and expertise
of the QS. From these two views it can be seen that the quantity surveying profession will keep on
existing because there is more work to be done on this design software.

Furthermore, Olatunji et al. (2010) have doubts over the reliability of QTO performed by BIM
applications as BIM tools simply provide theoretical quantities based on the attributes of the model
without any allowances for wastage, lapping etc.

6.2 Reasons based on quantity surveying roles

According to RICS, (2013) the roles of a quantity surveyor are grouped according to the stages
that are involved in project construction as follows:

Preparation stage

During preparation stage the quantity surveying roles are as follows;

 Liaising with clients and the professional team

 Advice on cost and preparation of initial budget/cost plan/cash flow forecasts

These roles can not be performed by the use of a software for they require a quantity surveyor who
will be engaged with clients and the professional team, advice on cost and preparation of initial

Design stage

The quantity surveying role under this stage of the construction projects are as follows

 Prepare and maintain cost plan

 Advise design team on impact of design
 Development on cost

Preparation and maintaining of cost plan requires the expert knowledge of a professional, advising
the design team on the impact of design and development on cost is something that also needs
expert’s knowledge even if software is to be used. Mainly a software is used just to aid the process.

Pre construction

The quantity surveying role under this stage of the construction projects are as follows:

 Liaise with professional team and advise on procurement strategy.

 Liaise with client’s legal advisors on contract matters.
 Prepare tender documents and defining prospective tenderers.
 Obtain tenders/check tenders/prepare recommendation for client.
 Maintain and develop cost plan.

Many of the roles under this stage of the project can be done by the use of software such as
preparing tender document, developing of a cost plan and preparing of recommendation for the
client, however it is important to note that software is mainly used as aid to the process. Because
for these activities to occur they still require the presence and knowledge of a quantity surveyor.
The other roles under this stage mainly are done without using even a software.

Construction stage

The quantity surveying role under this stage of the construction projects are as follows:

 Visit the site

 Prepare interim valuations

 Advise on the cost of variations
 Agree the cost of claims and advise on contractual matters

It is sensible to think that the software can’t do a site visit, for this requires a person with expert
knowledge about his/her duties of the site visit. Site visit is done before work commences in order
for the quantity surveyor to have a feel of the site, during valuation and also to check on the
progress of work on site. And the other duties are done with or without the aid of software.


During the use of the project roles of the quantity surveying profession are mainly centered on the
arranging of release of return funds, preparing the final account and recommendation for liquidated
and ascertained damages.

Following the aforementioned roles of the quantity surveying it can be seen that they can only be
performed by the person with expert knowledge while the ICT product / software can only be used
to aid the process. This signifies that a quantity surveying profession is of great importance in
construction industry.

Information and communication Technology (ICT) nowadays have been seen to have a great
impact on the construction industry and the way it works. It is identified as a vital thing in the
industry, this is because it has the capacity to threaten everyone profession in different ways, one
of which is seen to be the quantity surveying profession. However, despite the threats from the use
of ICT products, the quantity surveying profession will keep on existing due to the reasons given.
And following the importance and impacts of ICTs on the said profession shows that it will not
take the quantity surveying job but rather boost it even to reach greater heights.

Baldwin, M. and Jellings, J., 2009. Quantity surveying - a time consuming job. BIM Journal.

Clough R.H., Sears, G.A., Sears, S.K.,2008. Construction Project Management: A Practical
Guide to Field Construction Management. Wiley, New Jersey.

Doherty, J.M. (1997), “A survey of computer uses in the New Zealand building and construction
industry”, Journal of information Technology in construction.

Eastmen, C., Liston, K., Sacks, R. and Teicholz, P., 2011. BIM Handbook: A guide to building
information modeling for owners, managers, designers, engineers, and contractors. 2nd ed, New
Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Ogunsemi, D. R., Olatunji, O. A., and Sher, W., 2010. The impact of building information
modelling on construction cost estimation. In: CIB World Building Congress, 2010.198-202.

Olatunji, O.A., Sher, W.D., Gu, N. and Ogunsemi, D.R., (2010) Building information modelling
processes: benefits for construction industry. In W078Special Track 18th CIB World Building
Congress. Salford.

Peansupap, V. (2004). An Exploratory Approach to the Diffusion of ICT in a Project

Environment. PhD, School of Property, Construction and Project Management. Melbourne,
RMIT University

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors RICS. (2013) Construction sectors and roles for
chartered quantity surveyors (IP 36/2013) London: RICS [online], available from:
st_edition_PGguidance_2012.pdf) [accessed 15th December 2018].

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), (2012). Available from: (http://www.rics.org)

[Accessed 14th December 2018]

Shangvi, B.T., 2012. BIM; an alternative to traditional quantity surveying? Thesis (M.Sc.)
University of Reading, West Berkshire, United Kingdom.