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QS Functions
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Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal, professional or commercial advice. Any views, opinions and guidance stated here are provided for information purposes only, and do not purport to be legal and/or professional advice or a definitive interpretation of any law. Anyone contemplating action in respect of matters stated here should obtain advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser based on their unique requirements.

What does a QS do?

The functions of a professional Quantity Surveyor (PrQS) are:

  • The professional quantity surveyor is broadly concerned with procurement strategies, measuring and costing construction projects. The methods applied, however, cover a range of activities which may include cost planning, value engineering, value management, feasibility studies, cost benefit analysis, life-cycle costing, risk analysis, tendering, valuation, change control, dispute resolution, claims management, project management, cost estimation and value for money assessments.
  • The PrQS's traditional independent role on the team comprised of the client, architect, engineers and project manager has given him/her a reputation and appreciation for fairness. This, combined with his/her expertise in drafting and interpreting contract documents, enables the quantity surveyor to settle issues, value the works fairly and regularly, project final costs, avoid disputes and enhance the effective progress of a project.
  • PrQS’s advise on the control of construction costs by accurate measurement of the work required on a regular basis, the application of expert knowledge of costs and prices of work, labour, materials and plant required, together with an understandingof the implications of design decisions at an early stage to ensure that good value is obtained for the money to be expended.
  • The technique of measuring quantities from drawings, sketches and specifications prepared by Designers, principal Architects and Engineers, in order to prepare tender/contract documents, is known in the industry as ‘taking off’. The quantities of work taken off typically are used to prepare bills of quantities (BoQ), which usually are prepared in accordance with a published Standard System of Measurement (SSM) as agreed to by the QS profession and representatives of the construction industry. This activity is usually completed before the commencement of work on site on a traditional (BoQ) project. The contractor will then price this document in competitive tender and will be paid on a monthly basis according to a measure undertaken on site and applied to each specific work item.
  • QS’s are prevalent in many industries (not just construction) as they are procurement and contract specialists with the ability to adapt to suit the form of contract or types of work being undertaken.