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All the different quantity surveyor jobs are focused on ensuring that the costs of a construction project remain controlled and that all contracts are completed as agreed. Most quantity surveyor jobs are available within the construction industry, primarily in Europe and parts of Asia. This is a professional position, with strict post-secondary training requirements and a certification process. In North America, the same function is typically performed by a cost accountant. However, many firms found that a quantity surveyor has additional skills and knowledge that provide value.
There are four primary quantity surveyor jobs: cost planning, value management, property survey review, and life cycle costing. All four jobs require the successful completion of a post-secondary training program which provides training in reading schematic diagrams, project costing, purchasing practices, construction, and contract law. Although many of these skills are taught in general project management and cost accounting courses, there are nuances within the construction industry that can have a significant impact on the outcome and conclusions. In addition, schematic diagram review and surveying techniques are only available in a dedicated surveyor program.
Cost planning is essential for any business venture but is absolutely critical in construction. The values provided are used to determine the total project cost, sale price, profit margin, and project feasibility. Using the project plans, detailed description, and specifications, the quantity surveyor identifies the material to be purchased, price, and quantity.
One of the primary responsibilities of the quantity surveyor is to review contracts and ensure that all contracted services are provided. The contract types range from skilled trades to supplies. A thorough understanding of the construction industry is instrumental in evaluating the level of contract compliance, addressing issues, and achieving a satisfactory resolutions. For example, if there is a contract with a plumbing services firm in a new housing development, the surveyor can inspect the work and ensure that the contracted equipment was used.
Property surveys are an aspect of value management, which are a major aspect of many quantity surveyor jobs. The scope of this work ranges from identification of hidden defects in the survey, to managing the survey process as part of a real estate transaction. Additional work in this area may also be used to challenge real estate contracts or related legislation.
Life cycle costing is an important part of any construction project proposal. This is especially true when submitting proposals to governments or property management firms. The total cost of ownership must incorporate all costs related to the project. These costs range from standard maintenance to staffing costs incurred due to the structural design.