You will agree with me that the construction environment – all over the world – needs cost managers, it is known that budget control is pivotal in ensuring a successful project
No region in this universe carries out construction without adequate costing analysis.
Cost analysis is expedient in every construction activity, it helps control budget, maximise profits and provide optimum value.
Quantity surveyors are the professionals that specialize in carrying out these financial analyses in the construction industry.
However, Quantity surveyors are known with different identities or names depending on the region or part of the world.
Difference between a Quantity Surveyor and a Cost Manager
The difference between a Quantity surveyor and a Cost manager is that Quantity surveyors are experts schooled and trained specifically for financial analysis, cost management and budgeting no matter the scale, size, and type of the construction work.
A cost manager on the other hand is any professional who is in charge of managing and regulating costs in a construction project to ensure it’s within the construction budget.
All quantity surveyors are cost managers but not all cost managers are quantity surveyors
It’s possible for other professionals who are not quantity surveyors to be cost managers in a construction project but it is highly not recommendable
A cost manager might not necessarily be a Quantity surveyor, He can be a professional who has partial knowledge of management just for the purpose of handling a construction project alone.
Quantity surveyors as cost managers have more impact compared to other professionals who serve as – Pseudo – Cost managers
Quantity surveyors majorly specialize in cost and construction management and were specifically trained and schooled for such purposes and beyond.
Quantity surveyors are trained professionals offering expert advice on construction costs.
They are required for life cycle costing, cost planning, procurement, tender preparation, contract administration, and construction management.
Little wonder why they are recognized as cost managers, it is a proven fact.
“Quantity surveyors are the best fit for managing cost and enhancing value in a construction project”.
Other professionals who pretentiously portray themselves to be cost managers are not trained for such purposes compared to quantity surveyors.
These professionals might possess the title of a cost manager but cannot be tagged as quantity surveyors
They might have some piece of knowledge on cost management but not more than that of a Quantity surveyor
What is another name for a Quantity surveyor?
Other names for Quantity surveyors include Cost managers, Cost engineers, Cost estimators and Construction Cost analysts.
However, the recognized identity solely depends on the location
For example; In the USA, Quantity surveyors are known as cost estimators, cost managers and cost engineers.
An important factor to note is that the major tag name i.e. “Quantity Surveyors” which originated from the Uk is not entirely the same as the other names
Look into the article “History of quantity surveying” to fully understand the origination of the name and its purpose.
One might say all cost managers – Quantity surveyors or not –- have the same function, roles and characteristics.
Untrue, because by virtue of the training and specialization, there are differences between them
Lets closely look into these professions, stating their differences
What is the role of a cost manager?
The role of a cost manager is to make well-budgeted plans and ensures cost-effective operations in a construction project.
They use financial information to create a well-arranged mode of operations model and good auditing process on the ongoing projects to ensure they are cost-effective
They are responsible for implementing administering and maintaining cost control systems and procedures to track budgets, commitments, expenditures and forecasts
Cost managers assist in preparing and reviewing cost estimates and schedules of construction projects. They build spreadsheets to ensure accurate data compilation and progress check
They are responsible for pre- and post-contract quantity surveying duties, which also entail preparing cost estimates and tenders, and contract administration.
They must also be strong communicators, as they are also required to complete feasibility studies and procurement reports.
Coming to tender preparation, Cost managers produce tender lists, analyses and reports, compile preliminaries, and put together contractual documents for the procurement process.
They are also responsible for undertaking regular cost checks and valuations as required, with attention to detail and accuracy being of utmost importance.
Their role involves collaboration with internal and external parties, from clients to stakeholders. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are required to be successful in the role.
Why a Quantity surveyor is vital in cost management
An article written by Capstone stated that Cost Managers must understand all aspects of construction over the whole life of a building or facility. They use this knowledge to manage costs effectively, equating quality and value with individual client needs.
This shows that Quantity surveying and Cost management works hand in hand together, the fact is they are indispensable- you can’t have one without the other.
The primary roles of cost management are integral roles of a quantity surveyor this is why quantity surveyors are almost normalized to be tagged and referred to as cost managers
According to the RICS recruit portal for Cost management job offers it is expedient that own a quantity surveying degree as part of the major requirements
This is because there is no other profession in the construction industry that has a much to do with cost management than that of the quantity surveyor.
So the question: what are the difference between a cost manager and a quantity surveyor should be queried as quantity surveyors are intrinsic professionals of cost management.