Why should we use a Quantity Surveyor?

An architect will help you set a viable and realistic budget, guide you through the development application process, obtain competitive quotes for the work, manage consultants such as surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract. Critically, an architect will inspect the work right through the construction period to assist you to get the quality and level of finishes you expect.

Working with a quantity surveyor (QS) adds one extra benefit to all of the above: the client is assured of another layer of independence; meaning greater trust and rapport can be built on a job. 

For example, a QS helps with feasibility studies for a project. They can estimate what’s involved in the project, based on measurements of an architect’s plans, meaning the client has a clear vision of their budget and what it achievable within it.

Mostly associated with commercial development, a QS’s task is to cost a construction job, which can bring benefits to self-builders and renovators. A QS can offer an extra layer of cost checking when a design goes to planning and tender – with less chance of going over budget. With a QS, client aspiration is matched to budget early on.

Whether you choose a QS or not, the point is to identify all your costs early on, otherwise it is like going into a supermarket with a huge trolley and not knowing the price until you get to the checkout. Overspending, underestimating and finishing differences are three of the mistakes that are made when it come to budgets, so, along with your architect, a QS can offer peace of mind. 

For example, the budget can vary widely based on how extravagant you want to go with materials, upgrades and finishes. As a guide to finishing your home, for a medium level finish allow approximately 15% of your overall building budget. For a higher level of finish allow approximately 25%.

You may also have specific (one-off) item/s you wish to include in your home like rain water tanks, solar hot water or solar electricity. These can add considerable cost and should be factored in over and above the main budget.

A builder’s ‘standard’ price may not include certain costs, so be sure to specify your needs in the schedule in order to be clear on your final budget. They also have an ‘allowed’ price for Prime Cost Items, such as bathrooms and WCs, that may be well below the price of the items you would like.

A Quantity Surveyor is an independent consultant who can definitely add some value to your project.

by Ruth Newman