Section of the historical development of a

1 – Introduction

1.1 –

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This report will outline the duties and responsibilities of
a quantity surveyor. This will also give an understanding of the historical
development of a quantity surveyor and will also outline the difference in the
role of a private quantity surveyor (PQS) and a standard quantity surveyor
(QS). What key skills should be required from an aspirant quantity surveyor
will also be provided during this report, along with the roles of a
contractor’s quantity surveyor. As well, there will be an understanding of the
founding of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).


1.2 – Constraints
or limitations on the work

A limitation when writing this report was that as a group,
we were not always available to meet up during the different stages of creating
and finalising the report. We were able to communicate on social media to
constantly keep up to date with everyone’s progress throughout the production
and we were also able to meet up in lunchtimes in university. Another
limitation was that we found it a bit difficult to distribute the work to each
member of the group evenly, we have tried to separate the work as best as we
can so that every member of the group is doing roughly the same amount as each


2 – The Roles and Responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor

2.1 –
The roles and responsibilities of a QS introduction

According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
(RICS) a Quantity Surveyor is “an expert in the art of costing a building at
all its stages”. A Quantity Surveyor will have an expert knowledge on
construction costs and contracts, they will then take that knowledge and apply
it to any construction project. The Quantity Surveyors Pocket Book explains
that “A quantity surveyor may choose to work in any number of different fields;
however, principally these can be divided into: 1. Private practice, now often
referred to as project management; 2. Commercial management or contracting


2.2 –
Historical development of the QS

The merging of builders, design team members and problem
solvers (Quantity Surveyors) began in 1828. Prior to this the Britain had a
construction industry based on separate trades. The abolishment of separate
trades in Britain (except Scotland as their separate trades system survived
until early 1970’s) was bought on by the events of the Napoleonic Wars. The
following years after 1828, saw general contracting rise to dominate other
professions. In 1834, architects decided to separate themselves from Surveyors
and founded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). From this
separation Surveyors grew to form Quantity Surveyors and in 1868 the Royal
Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) was established. The broadening of the
Quantity Surveyor role majorly occurred after the end of World War 2, what was known
as a “male only” profession, was quickly becoming recognised as both a male and
a female career.


2.3 –
The duties of a QS

When working on a project, a quantity surveyor will work
both in the office and on the construction site. One of the main jobs a quantity
surveyor will undertake is the preparation of the contracts. The contracts for
the construction project will include the cost of labour, including the team of
builders and the design team. The contract will also include the cost of
materials that will be used, and the quantity of the materials needed. The
contingency fund set aside for unforeseen future expenses will also be involved
in the contract.

 Throughout the
project lifecycle, a quantity surveyor will continue to refer to the contract
created at the beginning of the project. This will allow the quantity surveyor
to stay updated with maintenance works and repair costs and will give them an
accurate sum of their contingency fund overtime. For a quantity surveyor to get
a rough idea of costs, a quantity surveyor can help with feasibility studies
for the projects.

A quantity surveyor will look at the architect or clients
sketches for the work and will be able to estimate what will be involved during
the project lifecycle. This will also allow a quantity surveyor to set an
overall budget for the construction and allow a quantity surveyor to estimate
the length of time the project will take. 

A quantity surveyor will make numerous site visits during a
projects lifecycle. Site visits will allow a quantity surveyor to keep track of
the projects progress. Referring to the estimated time that a quantity surveyor
will predict beforehand, they will be able to see if the project is on track to
finish on time. At the end of the construction project, a quantity surveyor
will analyse the completed work. They will produce a final cost statement
concerning all the actual costs involved throughout the project lifecycle. A
quantity surveyor will finally arrange payment to the contractors who worked on
the different sections of the project lifecycle.


The Roles of the PQS

The consultant’s quantity surveyor or PQS is a Quantity
Surveyor (QS), whose main role is to advise the client, architect and engineer
on costs and contracts throughout the entire project. They must have a sound
understanding of the costs of materials and construction methods. They should
draw learnings from previous projects that they have been involved in to be
able to overcome new challenges. A PQS should be more impartial than the CQS during
financial decisions due to them needing to meet the clients’ needs. According
to The RICS (2013) it is “important that the chartered QS fully understands the
nature of the client’s business, as well as the motives for the Client to build”.

The PQS could work for the
Government on a Public-Sector Projects, for example, tasked with building a new
bus station in order to improve transport links. The PQS’ primary concern here
would be to keep costs low while maintaining a good standard as most
public-sector projects are funded through taxation of the British public. The PQS
could also work for a housing developer whose primary concern is profit. Here
the PQS still has to ensure a good cost-quality value depending on the housing
developer’s specification for the houses. Every Client requires different needs
from the project which can include an end date, low life costs and adaptable

According to A Guide of Quantity Surveying Appointments
(2006) “It is a QS’s ongoing implementation of financial discipline in the
areas of budget setting, alternative design option costing, cash flow
predictions, final cost forecasting… that allows the maximum value for money requirement
to be achieved”.
The Role of the PQS in pre-Construction phase

The responsibilities of the PQS for the pre-construction
phase could include measurement, a feasibility study to identify whether the
client has the finances to complete the project, costing, tendering to identify
the ideal contractors, and creating a take-off to start the Bill of
Quantities.  The PQS should also complete
a cost analysis, which according to Cartlidge (2017, p. 48) “is the process of analysing
and recording cost data of projects once tender information has been received”.
This should be completed as soon as the tendering process has ended.
The role of the PQS Construction phase

The responsibilities of the PQS for the construction phase could
include providing costing advice to the client and contractor The PQS manly
works with the CQS during this time to ensure that monthly valuations are
correct and are submitted. The PQS also implements cost control, which
according to Cartlidge (2017, p. 47) is important to: “ensure that costs do not
spiral out of control”.

During the Construction phase the PQS should monitor the
costs of the Project and ensures that the project is being completed to the
Clients specification and time scale
The role of the PQS in Post-Construction phase

The PQS is responsible for the cost of a project right from
the beginning with estimates, to advising on the procurement method, right
through to the acquisition of the materials. However, a PQS can be employed
past the construction phase into the post-construction phase. If the client
chooses to the PQS can be employed to make sure the maintenance of the Building
is maintained. This ensures that the building is maintained to a good standard
after the construction phase, during this period items may get damaged or need
replacing if the use of the building changes. It would be the PQS’s job to
price this up and advice the client further.
The Role of the PQS in different methods of procurement

The role of the PQS varies significantly under various
different procurement methods. Under traditional procurement the PQS is
appointed to provide cost advice, produce a budget estimate, advises client on
the tenders and advise the client on the cost implications of changes to the

Under design and build procurement the client can appoint
an architect and/or a PQS to provide advice for the client and help create a
brief of the client’s requirements. The PQS will then provide a Budget plan
range. This method of procurement may mean less PQS fees for the client as they
are not as heavily involved than other methods of procurement.

Under management contracting procurement the PQS is a
member of the client’s team which includes a management contractor, architect,
engineer etc. This allows for a quicker start for a project as the design is
not fully complete before construction starts.


The Roles of the Contractor’s QS

The CQS or Contractor’s Quantity Surveyor, as the name
suggests, is employed by the contractor not the client. Their priority will be
the contractors interest in the project. They undertake some of the same tasks
as the PQS such as cost planning, feasibility studies and help with the
tendering process. The CQS liaisons with the PQS regularly to discuss project
costing and contractual matters.

A Contractor’s QS is responsible for the performance of the
operations similar to those of the PQS; i.e. the measurement and pricing of
construction work, but specifically that actually performed by the Contractor (Street
Wise Subbie, 2016).

The CQS will advise and report the Project Manage of the
project right throughout the project. They will also produce the Bill of
Quantities (BoQ) based on the work done for the PQS to check for the client.

The client will expect the cost of the building to match
the initial estimate quoted, so it is the job of the CQS to try and reduce the
costs where they can by using their initiative and experience gained from
previous projects.

According to Cornick and
Osbon (1994, p. 109) the contractor’s QS has seven main roles including
“Determination of change due to variation from client or designer.
Subcontractor accounts to agree tender and actual costs. Financial reporting.
Cost accounting for plant and materials used by company and cost accounting for
labour used by the company”. 





When associating skills with quantity surveyor one of the
main skills in which you must have in order to be successful is a good use of
numeracy skills. This is because whatever project you are working on you will
always find yourself working with numbers as you are ultimately in charge of
concluding the final costs of each project with the contractors so it is
important to make sure your numeracy skills are correct and that you can back
up your findings.

Throughout the process of each project all the tasks you
complete will all be money related including figures and formulas. One of the
first stages which is one of the most important stages is the ‘Tender’ Stage
this is because this is when you receive invoices from contractors telling you
how much the job is going to cost. It is also important at this stage to see
what they are tendering for as well because contractor A could be tendering a
cost of £1,000,000 and include everything however contractor B could only be
tendering a price of £900,000 and missing some elements out.

Other areas I which numeracy skills play a key role with a
quantity surveyor would be when you produce a financial statement or a
financial report for the contractors and clients to make sure everything adds
up correctly.


Verbal communication

Verbal communication is another clinical asset of this job
especially if you are office based. This is because if you are site based you
may not see the day to day goings on which are happening on site. This is where
communication is key. This is because throughout the process of development
variations may occur and with variation would come with an alternative cost.
This means when communicating with the project managers, site manager and contractors
you need to make sure the information in which is given to you in precise and
accurate in order to make sure that no errors are caused on your behalf. However,
failing to comply with communication throughout the different areas of
construction could lead to an inaccurate final account and errors being made on

As well as that the quantity surveyor is more often than
not at the top of the construction hierarchy as well as the architect. This
means that the people who are carrying out the project from a more physical
element would come to the QS regarding specific information. This means that
through verbal communication we would then have to pass down the information in
which was being regarded to make the project successful otherwise miss
calculations and wrong dimensions could associated a practical delay and delay
the completion date which could potentially come as an additional cost to the


Written Communication

Written communication is just as important as verbal
communication if not more important. This s because there is physical evidence
of conversations in which have been carried out which the QS can refer back to
as evidence of dates of communications in which variations and additional cost
could have occurred. The most common way for people to contact each other is
through email as it allows them to attach files however you may not be able to
receive a response straight away which is why verbal communication is just as

Written communication is also important when it comes to
writing a monthly review report of the works in which have been complete this information
has to be clear and concise to make the other people linked with the project
aware of what is going on therefore the QS must be able to share their findings
in either format and so that people can refer back to the information in which
is produced at any time if they need to do so.



Other important skills associated with a quantity surveyor
would be good time management. It is important that you are able to manage your
time effectively in this role because by doing so it ensures projects get
completed on time ad by doing this it helps to improve client relations and to
improve your reputation because they know they can rely on you to complete the
project o time failing to manage your time effectively could cause for projects
to overrun and causing an additional cost for clients as they may have to apply
for an extension of time.

Other important skills in which you will need will be to do
with problem solving. Throughout the stages of constructions maybe problems can
occur and variations to the original contract can happen and as a result of it
can cause problems. However, you will have to work under pressure to find the
best solution in order to solve it as you are in charge of the financial aspect
you ultimately have the final say on weather something will cost too much or
too little.

Another important skill which is becoming more common over
recent years is to do with your IT skills. This is because technology is
becoming more advanced any more people are becoming reliant on what it can
actually do. Within the role of a quantity surveyor more often than not tasks
are carried out on a computer regardless of the task as specific programmes
have been designed to help measure different types of materials, walls and
other aspects of the design. This allows you to work more efficiently as tasks
can be performed quicker however you may start to lack more on site experience
as you can measure the drawings to get the specification and details you need
from them.

Please see Appendix 1 in which shows a job description of a
current vacancy highlighting skills and requirements in order to be a
successful candidate.





4.1 –
Conclusion on roles and responsibilities of a QS

To conclude, the roles and responsibility of a QS can be
broken down in to various construction stages. Regarding the RIBA Plan of Work
2013 (Appendix 2), during the inception and feasibility stage (also known as
the Preparation and Brief stage), a quantity surveyor has the responsibility of
communicating with the client and other consultants to establish the client’s
requirements. The QS must advise on selection of other consultants that could
help design, improvise, and make any recommendations on the proposed project.
Using their expertise, a QS they can also direct the client of what procurement
route is most beneficial. They can also establish the client’s order of
priorities for time, cost, and quality; which will further allow them to
prepare an initial budget estimate from feasibility proposals. This, therefore
allows them to calculate the project cost using cash flow projections.

During the design stages, a QS will prepare and develop a
preliminary cost plan, advise on the design team’s proposal costs, and monitor
cost implications. The QS can then maintain and develop the cost plan,
preparing periodic reports with updated cash flow forecasts that can be used to
estimate/predict whether the proposed project will be a success.

Throughout tender selection and appraisal, the QS will
check tender submissions for accuracy and level of pricing. They will give
inform of any errors and if necessary, negotiate the offers. They will give
guidance on the programme of work, as well as the method statement. The QS will
review the financial budget in view of tenders received, preparing tender
reports that have appropriate recommendations. They will also produce a revised
cash flow.

In the Construction stage, the QS’s role is to arrange for
interim payments to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers which is in
accordance to the contract requirements. They must also keep up-to-date with
inflows, outflows, and any variations that will affect the cash flow. Problems
will arise for the client/contractors/subcontractors that will have a
‘knock-on’ affect, e.g. an on-site accident due to a contractor not complying
with the Health and Safety at Work Act… which will potentially cost the client
money if the site must be closed for investigation etc. In this situation, the
QS may be asked to cut costs or try help avoid any other problems that could
occur in the future.

In the remaining stages of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013, a
QS’ role is to assess the building replacement value for insurance preferences.
They must give expert evidence in arbitration and mediation. He or she will
represent the employer/ client in the Design and Build Contract. They will also
evaluate the project life cycle updating the client on any future complications
that could develop.




4.2 – Conclusion
on the importance of key skills development as aspirant quantity surveyors or
project managers and future specific recommendations you have for your key
skills acquisition and development

Key skill development for any aspirant Quantity Surveyor
(QS)/ Project Manager (PM) plays a major part in the growth of that individual,
in a performance-based role. One of the most important skill, for any QS’s
repertoire, is numeracy. This is because they are to make numerical
calculations on a day-to-day basis that will assist in the production of cash
flow forecasts, tendering, measurement, quantification, and to create a bill of

Verbal and Written communication is a very important skill
because QS’s/PM’s should interact with the internal and external employees
which work on the project. Another example of this is where a QS must have a
formal relationship with the client, contractors, and architect. Having a good
relationship with suppliers will also ensure materials are delivered on time.

A job description (, 2018) advertises various
key skills they are looking for in an individual; as stated below:

and Confident


continuous improvements


and identifies problems

by example



The above listed skills, Interserve published
in their job description, summarises attributes that any aspiring QS/PM will
want to adapt and improve, permitting them to apply these in the real world and
in diverse situations within these roles.