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Topic: The Importance of Quantity Surveyors in Public Sectors


General Overview and Introduction

Quantity surveyors have an essential part to play in increasing the

efficiency of construction work and reducing confrontation by securing
that the most appropriate procurement method is appointed, providing
effective cost control procedure and ensuring value for money at all times.
They minimise the potential omission by allocation risk and identifying the
value-adding activities in the project. Quantity surveyors operate a wide
range of competencies outside the traditional quantity surveying
activities. The extended skills of quantity surveyors such as project
management and value management also help clients to achieve their
needs and expectations. (Seeley, 1997) in the current financial crisis
which cash flow and credit are paramount factors for clients, an effective
project management is essential, thus completion of project on stipulated
time and within determined budget is important specially in the public
sector which deal with the large scaled projects and intensive capital.
Quantity surveyors have this capability to secure success of the projects
by their effective technical and financial advices and thus have vital
contribution in economic recovery.

The key role








In the previous section, a comprehensive description of quantity

surveyors competencies in the both private and public sectors has been
provided. As it was analysed the most important aspect in the financial
crisis is cash flow and credit which are indispensable on the construction
industry. It is essential to control and manage these key factors in order to
recover the current crisis specially in the public sector because firstly,
public sector deals with the public fund and governmental budget,
secondly, mostly the public sector projects are the public vital needs such
as hospitals, roads and schools; and finally, the public sector projects are
often large scale ones and associated with the intensive capital and
budget. Therefore the quantity surveyors can play an important role with
their knowledge and skills. It is unlikely that a project can be successful
without effective reasoned advices and efficient consultancies of a
quantity surveyor during the whole lifecycle of the project. The quantity
surveyor influences on each stage of the public sector projects with his
relevant core and extended competencies. These include the following
stages:A. Pre-design stage:
At this stage, the client develops the concept, undertake a feasibility
study and prepare an outline cost plan. An outline brief is then prepared
after studying various options for the project. The brief is then developed
which includes the clients requirements such as cost limits, time limits

and functionality of the project. (Egbu, 2009)The knowledge and skills of

the quantity surveyors that can be useful at this stage are:

Project Evaluation: this competency is comprised development

appraisal, investment appraisal, cost benefit analysis and
financial aspects of feasibility study. The quantity surveyors have
comprehensive knowledge of the various elements of the
feasibility. Study and development appraisal and the factors that
can affect them. Their understanding of techniques used to
assess financial viability, enable them to advise the clients on the
economics of design, on the use of value management and on
how to consider risks associated with the project.


Design economics and cost planning: quantity surveyors can give

strategic and reasoned advice to the clients on diversity of
market factors and trends in construction cost. They have
knowledge of the main parameters that affect design economics
over the whole life cycle of projects and thus they can assist in
the financial control of projects from feasibility to design
completion by evaluating the efficiency of the design. They
prepare preliminary estimate and cost plans at this stage; and
analyse the accuracy of predicted cost.


Procurement advice: quantity surveyor is regarded as advisor or

experts on selection of procurement methods and the
advantages and disadvantages of each to the parties involved.
They therefore have a clear knowledge of the main types of
procurement used in the public sector and also ancillary
processes such as partnering and framework agreements. They
can evaluate the appropriateness of various procurement routs
and implementing them. (RICS, 2008).

B. Design stage:
During this stage, design team develop the brief into drawings and
specifications. Client is informed of possible cost changes and can then
change items of the design to reduce costs or accept the increased
figure. (Egbu, 2009)The following competencies are used during this
stage by quantity surveyors:

understanding and knowledge of different stage of design from
inception to completion is one of the quantity surveyors
competencies that can be used during the design stage. Quantity
surveyors advise on the impact of different design solutions on
cost and programme. They appreciate how design solutions vary

for different types of buildings; thus can give effective advice on

the choice of design solution for projects.


Contract management: This competency covers the role and

responsibility of a surveyor managing the construction contracts.
Quantity surveyors have detailed knowledge of the contractual
provisions relating to the various standard forms of contracts.
They can advise on the most appropriate contractual procedure
at the various stages of a contract and then evaluate the
appropriateness and implication of proposed contractual
amendments. They assess entitlement for extension of time, loss
and expenses; finally giving advice to clients of their contractual
rights and obligations. (RICS, 2008).
Value management: Employers are now looking for achieving
improved value for money. Values of a project vary from
perspective of each parties involved in the project. In the public
sector projects, values are not only the cost and commercial
aspects. Other factors such as aesthetic aspects, sustainability
issues, extendibility and easy-remodelling capability should be
taken into account and by considering of the fact that value is
related to cost; quantity surveyors therefore are involved in the
value management. Quantity Surveyors have the potential to
act as the Value engineering coordinator, the key person in the
team and also in their traditional role as cost consultant..... Value
engineering provides a method of integration in the building
process that no other management structure in construction can
provide...Value engineering complements Project Management.
(Kelly et al., 1998).

C. Construction Stage
At this stage, execution and control of all site work and associated
activities are carried out. Site supervisors monitor the project to ensure
the project is constructed as per the contract documentation. The clients
representative meanwhile is responsible for the management of all
aspects of the construction stage, including monitoring the work of the
design leader and supervisor. (Egbu, 2009). Presence of quantity
surveyors has the significant effect on the project. The following skills and
knowledge can lead the project to the best and optimal rout:

Quantification and costing of construction works: this

competency includes the measurement, valuation and definition
of construction works in order to value and control costs which is
another important part of quantity surveyors work. Surveyors
carry out the quantifying and pricing construction works at
various stages of projects; using their thorough knowledge of the
various standard methods of measurement and also have this




ability to advise clients on appropriate method of measurement

and costing.
Conflict avoidance, management and dispute resolution
management: this skill is comprised the procedure and
techniques for conflict avoidance, conflict management and
dispute resolutions. The quantity surveyor has an in-depth
knowledge of how various forms of contract deal with dispute
avoidance and their provisions for resolving disputes. They can
give advice on law governing conflict avoidance and
management and can assist clients by their knowledge of dispute
resolution procedure within construction process including:
negotiation, mediation and conciliation, adjudication, arbitration,
independent expert determination and litigation.(RICS,2008)
Commercial management of construction: quantity surveyors
have a thoroughly understanding of the financial processes used
to achieve profitability and how these processes integrate with
the overall delivery of the project. They are aware of techniques
to reconcile the cost against income and therefore manage subcontractors and suppliers financially. They evaluate and advise on
the financial implications and appropriate management actions.
Monitoring, analysing, reporting and advising on project cash flow
and profitability are the other quantity surveyors competencies
that clients can benefit from.
Project management: The quantity surveyor is not only regarded
as a building or a civil engineering estimator but he is also can be
appointed as project manager, to take control of the project from
inception to completion and to organise the work of the design
team and the main contractor and subcontractors. (Seeley,
1997). Basically, management of project starts from design stage
and continues through construction stage of project. Knowledge
of risk management, planning and programming enable a
quantity surveyor to be appointed as a project manager. Ability of
a quantity surveyor to identify risks associated with the project
and his knowledge of the strategies to eliminate or mitigate them
are the key competencies for managing project. (RICS, 2008).

D. Post-construction (Use) stage:

At this stage, project is handed over and information for feedback is
obtained. Although almost all design and construction parties are
not involved in this stage, quantity surveyors still can play a key role
during this stage by the following competencies:


Life-cycle cost advice: life cycle cost of a project is defined as the

whole life cost of the project from the very beginning phase
through post-construction and use phase including maintenance
and service costs. However, the major part of life cycle cost is
related to use phase when the project is commissioning and
operating. It is wholly dependent on the functionality of that
project, for example, life cycle cost of a dwelling house is
completely different from a workshop even though their design
and construction cost were the same. As the life cycle cost of a
project does not appear before operation and use phase, it does
not effect on the design and construction stage therefore usually
it is not considered during these phases. However, as mentioned
before, the major cost of a project is likely to be related to the
post-construction cost and thus has a significant impact on
projects; especially in the public sector due to the nature in which
provides services to public such as schools, hospitals, health
centres and so on. Hence it is essential for public sector projects
to consider the maintenance and service and generally life cycle
cost of them. Quantity surveyors have the competency to
estimate and evaluate the lifecycle/whole life cost of a project.
They carry out life cycle cost exercises which take account of
value management, value engineering, risk management and
sustainability issues.

Finally, quantity surveyors have an important role in improving the

effectiveness of managing the public projects by their knowledge of
processes associated with project, information and knowledge
management. Skills of quantity surveyors in the field of contractual
policy, by the application of such techniques as serial tendering, early
contractor selection, and statistical measurement of price movement
and effective mechanisms of budgetary control, all play a large part in
the survival of public sector from the current financial crisis. (RICS,