According to Willis’s Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.1), the role of the quantity surveying has been defined by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS, 1971) as “ensuring that the resources of the construction industry are utilised to the best advantage of society by providing, inter alia, the financial management for projects and a cost consultancy service to the client and designer during the whole construction process.”
However, the roles of the quantity surveying profession within the contemporary built environment will be discussed as follows:
Preliminary cost advice
One of the quantity surveyor roles is to ensure that the proposed project is carefully constructed, in terms of costs arising throughout entire design and construction process (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.121). Quantity surveyor also acts to suggest his professional and reliable advices to his client on matter of cost at various stages during the design and construction process. The advices given during inception stage are vital important as the decisions taken in this stage will seriously affect the quality of works to be carried out (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.122). Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.121) stated that “the quantity surveyor will offer cost advice for the comparative design solutions of the alternatives materials to be used or the form of construction to be adopted.” Quantity surveyor is the recognized professional cost and value consultant, their measurement and valuation knowledge are without equal (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.123).
According to Willis’s Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor, Ashworth & Hogg (2007, p.126) stated that “the cost planning process commences with the preparation of an approximate estimate and then the setting of cost targets for each element. As the design evolves, these cost targets are checked against the developing design and details for any changes in their financial allocations.” Quantity surveying profession under this aspect will require the quantity surveyor to allocate the approximate estimated costs into subdivisions, known as elements within a building. Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.122) stated that “These elements costs can be compared against the element costs of other similar projects from the quantity surveyor’s cost library records.” The purpose is to provide a better value of money for client. It also keeps the designer fully informed of all the cost implications of the design. Quantity surveyor might also try to reduce the estimated costs by simplifying the details without modifying the design. Besides, contract document will also be prepared on this basic to make the preparation of cost analysis easier. Cost planning will be developed and while taking account of appearance, quality and utility, the cost is planned to be within the economic boundary (Willis, Ashworth & Willis, 1994, p.95)
Procurement and tendering procedures
It is important that quantity surveying profession to be applied during this stage. As stated by Ashworth and Hogg (2007, pp.237-238), role of quantity surveying profession in this aspect will include as follows:
Recommending an organizational structure for the proposed development of a project (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Advising on the appointment of the various consultants and contractors in the knowledge of the information provided by the employer (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Managing the information and coordinating the work of the different parties (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Selecting the methods for the appointment of consultants and contractors (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Determining the employer’s requirement in terms of time, cost and quality (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Assessing the viability of the project and providing advice in respect of funding and taxation advantages (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
Quantity surveyor plays a crucial role to provide appropriate advices on the method of procurement to be used for clients who wish to undertake construction work (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.237). There are various procurement methods to deal with the different demand and various situation, client should not select an inappropriate form of procurement unwittingly (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007). Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.237) stated that “Quantity surveyors are in an excellent position as procurement managers with their specialist knowledge of constructions and contractual procedures. They are able to appraise the characteristic of the competing methods that might be appropriate and to match these with the particular needs and aspirations of the employer.” Hence, clients are advised to seek for quantity surveyor for relevant and reliable advices or recommendation before making their final decisions. Due to this, advices and recommendation provided by quantity surveyor must be independently without the intrusion of individual bias and self-interest (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.237).
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.243) stated that “When the choice of form of contract has been decided, the next step is the preparation of the documents that will accompany the signed form of contract.” The contract documents for any construction will normally include the following information:
It includes plans, elevations and cross section. Some other additional details will also be prepared based on the complexity of the project. This will provide information for the client to get the idea of architect’s or engineer’s design intentions. The contract drawings are normally provided by architect and engineer (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, pp.243-244). However, the role of quantity surveyor is to collect the drawings and any specifications from the architect and at the same time discuss the job. There is however some more detailed questions will arise, therefore a timetable for the completion of the contract bills will be agreed, along with dates when additional detailed information and drawings can be expected (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.259)
Quantity surveyor will involve in preparation of contract bills. Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.258) stated that “The appointment of the quantity surveyor is likely to have been made at early stage when early price estimates were under consideration. This may be before any drawings are available, in order to provide some cost advice to the client.” Due to this, quantity surveyor will normally be needed except for on a very small project, the demand for the profession of quantity surveyor might only to be eliminated (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007, p.258). Besides, there is a condition for contractor who wishes to submit tenders in competition to provide approximate quantities required for particular works. Therefore, quantity surveying firms are then sometimes involved in preparing approximate quantities depending upon the completeness of the drawings and other information from which it was prepared contractors (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.258).
Articles of agreement
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.246) stated that “This is the part of the contract which the parties sign. The contract is between the employer (building owner) and the contractor (building contractor). The blank spaces in the articles are filled in with the (i) names of employer, contractor, architect and quantity surveyor; (ii) date of the signing of the contract; (iii) location and nature of the work; (iv) list of the contract drawings; (v) amount of the contract sum.”
Condition of contract
The condition of contract includes the contractor’s obligation to carry out the work shown on the drawings and described in the bills to the satisfaction of the architect. They cover the matter of quality of work, cost time, nominated supplies’ and subcontractors’ insurances, fluctuation and VAT. (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.246)
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.246) stated that “The Contract Particulars for the Conditions of Contract include that part of the contract which is peculiar to the particular project in question. It includes key information, for example, on the start and completion dates, the periods of interim payment and the length of the rectification period for which the contractor is responsible.”
Evaluation of tenders
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.274) stated that “In public authorities, tenders will probably be addressed to the secretary or principal chief officer. With private clients they are usually forwarded to the architect or the quantity surveyor. On the due date for receipt of tenders, the envelopes received will be counted to check that they have all been received, prior to being openend.” Quantity surveyor will then prepare a list of the tendered amounts after the envelopes are opened. Preliminary examination will be made after that to ascertain which tenders will be taken into consideration for acceptance. A fuller report will be made later by the quantity surveyor (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.274). Besides, according to Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.274), the architect will rely extensively on quantity surveyor for advice on these matters. A report will be made for the client, setting out clearly the arguments in favour of acceptance of one tender or another. Quantity surveyor will have to check and examine for the copy of the priced bills submitted by those tenderer who is under consideration (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.275).
Financial reporting and interim payments, cash-flow forecasting
According to Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.286) JCT 2005 makes clear duty of the client’s quantity surveyor in this respect (clause 4.11): “Interim valuations shall be made by the quantity surveyor whenever the architect or contract administrator considers them necessary for the purpose of ascertaining the amount to be started as due in Interim Certificate.” Ashworth and Hogg (2007) stated that “Most construction projects encountered by the surveyor will have contractual provision for the payment of the contractor for work done, at regular intervals during the contract period.” Between the date of the first interim certificate and the practical completion certificate, interim certificates have to be issued by quantity surveyor at a certain intervals stated in the contract particulars. It is the responsibility of quantity surveyor to calculate the amount for the interim payments during each interval (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, pp.286-287). A professional quantity surveyor should always aware that there are conditions for employer to prevent the employer getting penalties and punishments and quantity surveyor should always provide his or her appropriate advices where necessary (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.288). Besides, clients generally desire the final cost of a project to be no more than contract sum. Due to this, it is the role of client’s quantity surveyor to try to manage the costs by monitoring the design and site development and provide his professional advices of the likely impacts and remedies (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.302). It is also necessary for quantity surveyor to review all the correspondence and meeting issued on the project in order to identify the potential cost implications. Monthly financial reports will normally be required to advise the client of the anticipated outturn costs (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007). Cash-flow forecasts report will be prepared in association with the contractor since it will be greatly influenced by the intended programme of works. Cash-flow forecasts are used as a basis upon which to arrange project finance and monitoring the progress of works (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.305).
Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.310) stated that “The majority of construction projects result in a final cost that is different to that agreed by the client and contractor at commencement of the construction works. The calculation and agreement of this final construction cost, the final account, is usually of the utmost important to both the employer and contractor. Therefore, parties to the contract need to ensure that the final account incorporates a fair valuation of the works carried out.” In this aspect, the quantity surveyor will decide on the suitable subdivisions into terms that will be adopted into the account prior to any abstracting or bill remeasurements. As the list of variations develops, quantity surveyor will be able to decide on how to group them. For example, there may be one instruction from the architect for increasing the size of storage tanks, another for the omission of a drinking water point and a third for the addition of three lavatory basins. Each of these will be measured as a separate item, but the quantity surveyor might decide to group these together as “variations on plumbing”. It is preferably to highlight the “reason for variation” in cost report to acknowledge the client on reasons of the costs changed. (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, pp.315-316)
Settlement of contractual disputes
Quantity surveyors involved themselves in contractual disputes either in litigation in the courts, in arbitration or in alternative dispute resolution cases (ADR) cases. They sometimes involve themselves as witness of fact or expert witness, adjudicators, arbitrators or mediators in ADR cases (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007, p.353)
Financial expertise of quantity surveyors make them ideally suited to project management services. According to Ashworth and Hogg (2007, p.376), project management provides the important management function of bringing the project team together and may be defined as “The overall planning, coordination and control of a project from inception to completion, aimed at meeting a client’s requirements in order to produce a functionally viable project that will be completed on time within authorized cost and to the required quality standards.” (CIOB 2002) Quantity surveyor sometimes take overall control and responsibility of for coordinating the activities of the various contractors, subcontractors, processes and procedures for the full duration of the project (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007)
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Ashworth and Hogg (2007) stated that “The skills of the quantity surveyor traditionally included measurement and valuation and to these were later added accounting and negotiation.” As the profession evolved, quantity surveying profession were extended to forecasting, analyzing, planning, controlling, evaluating, budgeting, problem solving and modeling. The quantity surveyor knowledge has also been developed by a better understanding of the design and construction process (Ashworth & Hogg, 2007).
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