When should you appoint a Quantity Surveyor?

In answer to a question from denisoregan this blog post is concerned with the possible appointment of a Quantity Surveyor.

Back in the good old days, a QS was only normally employed on the bigger projects (£500,000+) but in today’s economic uncertainty, we are appointing a QS at a much earlier stage and for much smaller projects.

I am currently working on a smallish house extension to a traditional 2 storey County Roscommon farmhouse and we have appointed a QS to undertake a cost analysis even before we’ve applied for planning permission. The reasons for this are manyfold:

1. It gives the client an excellent understanding of cost at a very early stage

2. It gives support to your application for obtaining finance from a bank for example

3. It gives quantitive feedback on design vs cost. This means that for every design decision, there is an equivalent cost that needs to be taken int account. As an example, there is a glass floor connecting old to new; this element was coated at €3750. Now this glass floor is nice, and it’s a beautiful element, but it could be constructed much cheaper; the cost analysis therefore gives the client a choice and understanding on design vs. the cost. It is more than likely that this glass floor will be chosen but the client in this way knows the exact cost of this design decision.

4. It keeps track of cost against budget, in today’s economic uncertainty and lack of available finance (for the whole populace including the banks!), as architects we need to ensure that the designs we produce match the clients available money.

The appointment of a QS is therefore desirable at the earliest possible stage if full use is to be made of his/her services.”This vital as the early design decisions, for example on building shape and mass, may have the most significant effect on cost“(Handbook of Architectural Practice & Management).

One of the reasons that encouraged me along these lines was seeing the QS working with Dermot on ‘Room to Improve’; this relationship can at times be difficult but at least using this method, everybody goes forward with their eyes open.

Dependent on the scale of job and the contract used (between Employer & Contractor), the QS can then produce a full Bill of Quantities for the contractor to cost from.

Although more than 140 characters this blog post doesn’t discuss all the other possible services the QS can provide such as discounted cash flow techniques, assessment if specialist reports etc…

Comments as always welcome…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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