Do I need a quantity surveyor?

4th May 2022

Quantity surveyors advise and manage costs on construction projects. They provide control and influence over the design team and contractor.

However, there is a big difference between a commercial building project and a private client creating their family home. It’s important to check that your QS has plenty of experience working on projects similar to your property, whether that is a new-build, luxury residence with a basement or the careful renovation of a listed property.

Manage your budget
You may have a budget in mind, and it’s sensible to discuss this with your QS at the beginning. Your QS should prepare a budget based on all your requirements, even if this forecasts construction costs that exceed your budget. A good QS will then work with you to make the necessary savings, either by suggesting omissions or through Value Engineering (better value for money). It’s much easier and cheaper to play around with a budget at an early stage rather than incur the cost of re-drawing proposed works by the design team.

What to consider when appointing a QS
It’s not just the proposed list of services that clients should review, it’s just as important to consider what services are not included. The RICS produce a complete list of services (2019 is the latest edition) and this can be used to understand fee proposals. We always advise clients to request proposals that use the RICS standard schedule of services. This will also help you compare one surveyor’s proposal to another.

What costs should your QS manage?
Traditionally a QS will look after construction costs. However, a QS can also help you consider what other costs you may need to take into account overall. For example, consultant fees, VAT, loose furniture, client costs (perhaps you are buying your kitchen directly), insurance costs and planning costs. You will need to assess all of these in order to understand your total project cost.

For a Country Estate there may well be works beyond the main house that need to be considered. Hard landscaping and planting requirements, for example. Renovation of existing outbuildings, renewable energy installations, the building of new outbuildings and swimming pool.

How do you decide on the best builder for the job?
Your QS will talk through various procurement options and help you select a builder to suit you.

Middleton advice.
For significant building projects, a Quantity Surveyor is a vital appointment.

With special thanks to James Street MRICS, Harsbrook

Advice papers Middleton Advice is a series of top-level answers to questions that are often raised over the course of our client relationships.

It’s important to note that you should not proceed with any investment decision on the basis of the advice contained in these papers without further consultation with Middleton or other professional advisors. Information accurate at publication date of December 2021.

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