As a Quantity Surveyor, it is essential to avoid mistakes in order to deliver accurate cost estimates and budgets for construction projects. Not only will these mistakes impact the success of the project, but they can also damage your professional reputation.
Did you know that one of the most common mistakes that Quantity Surveyors make is failing to properly define the scope of the project?
This can lead to cost overruns and delays, as items that are not part of the scope may not be accounted for in the budget.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common mistakes that Quantity Surveyors make and how to avoid them, with practical examples to illustrate each point.
11 COMMON MISTAKES YOU SHOULD AVOID AS A QUANTITY SURVEYOR
1. Failing to properly scope the project
One of the most common mistakes that Quantity Surveyors make is failing to properly define the scope of the project. It is essential to clearly outline all of the work that needs to be done in order to provide an accurate cost estimate.
For example, if the client wants a new kitchen installed, but the Quantity Surveyor only estimates the cost of the cabinets and countertops, they may forget to include the cost of appliances, plumbing, and electrical work.
Neglecting to include certain aspects of the project or including items that are not part of the scope can lead to cost overruns and delays. In order to avoid this mistake, it is important to work closely with the client to fully understand their needs and requirements.
It is also a good idea to use a project management tool to help define and track the scope of the project.
2. Not considering the entire lifecycle of the project
Another mistake that Quantity Surveyors often make is not considering the long-term maintenance and repair costs when developing a budget.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the construction phase and focus solely on the initial costs. However, it is important to also consider the ongoing expenses that will be incurred once the project is complete.
For example, if a client wants to build a new road, the Quantity Surveyor should not only estimate the cost of construction, but also the cost of maintaining and repairing the road over its lifetime.
This includes things like maintenance, repair, and replacement of materials. By taking the entire lifecycle of the project into account, you can help ensure that the budget is realistic and sustainable.
3. Relying solely on historic data
While it can be helpful to use past project data as a reference, it is important to also consider current market conditions and material costs.
The construction industry is constantly changing, and relying solely on historic data can lead to inaccurate cost estimates.
For example, if a Quantity Surveyor uses data from a project that was completed five years ago to estimate the cost of a current project, they may not account for changes in material prices or labour rates.
In order to avoid this mistake, it is important to stay up-to-date on current market conditions and materials prices. This may involve conducting regular market research or working with a cost data provider.
4. Neglecting to cross-check bills for errors or careless BOQ preparation
As a Quantity Surveyor, it is important to carefully review all bills and quotations to ensure that they are accurate and complete. This may involve cross-referencing the bill of quantities (BOQ) with the actual materials and labour used on the project.
For example, if a supplier provides a quotation for materials that is higher than the estimated cost in the BOQ, the Quantity Surveyor should investigate the discrepancy and determine if the higher cost is justified.
If the supplier can provide a valid reason for the higher cost, such as a price increase for the material, the Quantity Surveyor should update the BOQ to reflect the new cost.
On the other hand, if the supplier cannot provide a valid reason for the higher cost, the Quantity Surveyor may need to negotiate a lower price or consider using a different supplier.
Neglecting to cross-check bills and quotations can result in cost overruns and disputes with suppliers.
5. Neglecting to account for contingencies
It is essential to include a contingency fund in the budget to cover any unexpected costs that may arise during the project.
Even with the best planning, there are always risks and uncertainties that can impact the cost of a project. For example, if a project is delayed due to inclement weather, the Quantity Surveyor should have a contingency fund in place to cover the additional labour and material costs.
By including a contingency fund, you can help protect against these risks and ensure that the budget remains realistic.
It is important to regularly review and update the contingency fund as the project progresses to ensure that it remains sufficient
6. Not regularly updating cost estimates
As the project progresses, it is important to regularly review and update the cost estimate to ensure that it remains accurate.
This may involve revisiting the scope of the project, reassessing materials prices, and adjusting labour costs.
For example, if the project is running behind schedule and additional workers are needed to catch up, the Quantity Surveyor should update the cost estimate to reflect the additional labour costs.
By regularly updating the cost estimate, you can help identify potential issues early on and take steps to address them before they become major problems.
7. Failing to properly track and document project expenses
Properly tracking and documenting all project expenses is crucial for staying on budget and avoiding disputes with clients.
It is important to have a system in place for recording and reporting all expenses, including materials, labour, and subcontractors.
For example, if the Quantity Surveyor uses an Excel spreadsheet to track expenses, they should make sure to enter all expenses in a timely manner and keep the spreadsheet organized and up-to-date.
By keeping accurate records, you can ensure that all expenses are accounted for and that the budget remains on track.
8. Not effectively communicating with the project team
Good communication with the project team is essential for ensuring that the project stays on track and on budget.
It is important to regularly communicate with all team members, including the client, contractors, and subcontractors. This may involve holding regular meetings, sending updates, and responding to inquiries in a timely manner.
For example, if the client has a change request, the Quantity Surveyor should make sure to communicate the impact of the change on the budget and timeline to the entire team.
By effectively communicating with the team, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project stays on track.
9. Underestimating labour costs
It is important to accurately estimate labour costs in order to avoid cost overruns. This may involve working with the project team to determine the number of workers needed, the skill level required, and the duration of the project.
It is also important to consider factors such as overtime, benefits, and training costs. For example, if a Quantity Surveyor underestimates the labour costs for a project, they may not budget enough to cover the additional expenses, which could lead to cost overruns.
For instance, if a Quantity Surveyor estimates the cost of a one-week project based on a 40-hour work week, but the project ends up taking two weeks to complete, the Quantity Surveyor should factor in the additional labour costs for the additional week.
10. Neglecting to account for inflation
Inflation can impact the cost of a project over time, and it is important to consider this when developing a budget.
For example, if a Quantity Surveyor estimates the cost of a project that will take place one year in the future, they should consider the potential impact of inflation on materials and labour costs.
By neglecting to account for inflation, the budget may become unrealistic and lead to cost overruns.
For instance, if a Quantity Surveyor estimates the cost of a project based on the current cost of materials, but the materials cost increases by 10% over the course of the project due to inflation, the budget will be impacted.
11. Not seeking advice from experts
It is important to seek advice and guidance from experts when working on a construction project.
This may include consulting with industry experts, working with a cost data provider, or seeking advice from experienced colleagues.
By seeking advice from experts, you can help ensure that you are making informed decisions and avoiding mistakes that could impact the success of the project.
For instance, if a Quantity Surveyor is uncertain about the cost of a particular material, they may consult with a supplier to get a more accurate estimate.
Avoiding these common mistakes as a Quantity Surveyor can help ensure the success of a construction project and protect your professional reputation.
By properly scoping the project, considering the entire lifecycle of the project, staying up-to-date on market conditions, including contingencies, regularly updating cost estimates, tracking and documenting expenses, effectively communicating with the team, and accurately estimating labour costs, you can help prevent cost overruns and deliver successful projects.
As a Quantity Surveyor, it is essential to stay vigilant and continuously strive to improve your skills and knowledge in order to deliver the best possible results for your clients.