What is the difference between a Cost manager and a Quantity surveyor?

Quantity surveying is a profession that dominates in every part and corner of the world, however, one may want to dispute this fact as the term “Quantity surveying” is strange or not common to some parts of the world.

Yeah, this is true but not completely true because due to the nature and purpose of the discipline, it happens to have diverse name tags and identities in different parts of the world.

In the construction environment all over the world, a Cost manager is always needed. That’s how important costing is.

Come on!,  I mean, Which part or country of the world can claim they don’t have anything to do with cost management and budget estimating in terms of construction in the building and construction environment?

Absolutely None, there definitely can’t be any, in our world today a cost expert has to be involved in any construction project, be it roads, houses, infrastructure, heavy engineering constructions e.g dams, bridges, culverts, arches, etc. not to mention but a few, a cost expert definitely has to be a part of it.

Other names of a Quantity Surveyor

These cost experts basically are known as Quantity Surveyors although they might be referred to by other names in different parts of the world.

In the USA, Quantity surveyors are called Cost Estimators and Cost Managers, They are also known as Cost Engineers.

Whichever tag name they possess, they are still cost experts and they are all carrying out similar functions.

Is a cost manager the same as a Quantity surveyor

An important factor to take note of though is that the major tag name i.e. “Quantity Surveyors” might be different from the other cost experts in other parts of the world in terms of their manner of training and their actual specialty.

Differences between a Quantity Surveyor and a Cost Manager

A quantity surveyor is an expert in the art of costing a building at all its stages, they have been trained specifically for cost management and budgeting no matter the scale, size, and type of the construction work, that is their major specialty.

Quantity surveyors are highly trained professionals offering expert advice on construction costs. They are essential for life cycle costing, cost planning, procurement and tendering contract administration, and commercial management.

Whilst others bearing those similar names of cost experts might not be trained specifically as to how a quantity surveyor was trained. Some parts of the world integrate the work of a cost expert alongside together with other fields, that’s why in those regions of the world some construction professionals serve as the Cost manager in the construction environment.

These professionals might possess the title of a cost manager but are not quantity surveyors, they might have a piece of good knowledge of cost management but are not specifically trained as cost experts, unlike the Quantity surveyor who majorly specializes in cost management and was specifically trained for that purpose.

Importance of Cost management

This misconception is still common in our world today as cost management is seen to have a different approach from various regions of the world.

Majorly, some part of the world holds cost management to be an independent and specialized field in the construction industry.
While other parts of the world believe that knowledge on Cost management should be in integration with other Fields rather than being independent in the construction environment.

The former carries Cost management as a vital part and major role in the construction environment. They have this understanding of the essence and importance of cost management and how pivotal it is in ensuring a successful project in the construction environment.

They Believe such an important field as these should be specialized and independent rather than be a subdominant sector under another related discipline or field in the construction industry.

The Latter holds cost management as an important sector also but not to the extent of the Former, The latter believes Cost management knowledge could be integrated together alongside other Fields in the construction environment.

This approach from these regions of the world allows other construction experts who are interested in Cost management, Finance & budget control further and specialize more on that aspect in addition to their primary field of expertise. They allow other construction experts to possess knowledge of Cost management.

Value of Cost management to the Quantity Surveyor

Though the latter possess some good piece of knowledge on cost management, they can’t still work as efficiently and effectively on the aspect of cost and finance management in the construction industry compared to the work of Quantity Surveyors who specifically majors in that aspect.

For this reason, many regions of the world are speedingly welcoming the approach of the quantity surveyor on cost management independence than their previous practice on tackling cost management issues.

That is why Quantity surveying will continue to always be the most prestigious and the best field of discipline in the construction environment as its essence is of no obscurity in the construction world.

Cost management and the Quantity surveying profession

In the UK, Australia, Africa, and some parts of Asia, this region holds on cost management to be an independent field of study and should not be integrated alongside other Fields in the construction industry. hence the tag “Quantity Surveyor”.

Individuals in these regions are referred to as Quantity Surveyors and they are trained specifically for cost management activities, they can tackle any construction finance issue no matter the complexity and nature of the project.

Whereas in the Northern and Southern parts of America including some major parts of Asia and Europe, this region holds cost management to be an affiliated field of knowledge alongside other Fields in the construction industry.

They believe experts on knowledge of Cost management should not stand independently as they ought to in the construction environment. Hence the tag “Cost Estimators and Cost Engineers”.

Those who live in Canada or the US Would be familiar with the term construction Cost Estimators.  On the other hand. A Quantity surveyor is widely used in the UK, Australia, and also Africa.

The roles of the two are more or less similar depending on the region. For instance, a construction cost estimator in the US is equivalent to a quantity surveyor in the UK, even though there are some extra requirements for each one.

Why a quantity surveyor is important in cost management

Comparing and Contrasting both approach and order of Cost management practice by these regions of the world, it is of no surprise that the region that held that cost management stands independently is gradually penetrating into the other region.

The independence of cost management as a separate discipline has proven to be far more efficient and productive than the other approach thus increasing the value and hunger for the need of a quantity surveyor.

Many regions of the world are gradually migrating to the use of quantity surveyor practice in terms of cost management as it seems to be far more productive and cost-effective.

A Quantity surveyor has expert knowledge of courses such as Measurement, Construction Law, Development and Construction Economics, Procurement, Construction Technology, Construction Management, as well as the practice and procedure.

This gives them the edge of being the best when it comes to cost management in the construction industry.

Diversified roles of a Quantity Surveyor relating to the construction industry

Due to the diversity and uniqueness of the Costing Profession, they are known to carry out different functions in the construction industry and because of that are then recognized and referred to by different names depending on the specific function been carried out by the Cost expert. Some of these other names include

  • Construction Cost Economist
  • Construction finance managers
  • Operation and Maintenance Officers
  • Facility managers
  • Risk management officers
  • Value engineers
  • Cost engineers
  • Cost estimators
  • Arbitrators
  • Construction legal advisers and law experts
  • Contractor Administrators
  • Procurement management officers
  • Building and development economist
  • Cost Analyst and Valuator
  • Project coordinator
  • Cost control experts
  • Cost planners etc.

After all these, one should note that a Quantity surveyor could also be referred to as Cost estimators, Cost engineers, and Cost managers whenever and wherever all over the world but having these similar names does not necessitate the fact that their mode of schooling of that of a quantity surveyor is the same.

This will then lead us to the History of the Quantity Surveying profession, the Bodies in charge of Controlling the Quantity surveying profession e.g RICS, and ways one could be a Certified and Chartered Quantity Surveyor.

Stay with us always at Costecon to get you equipped with the groove and grind of the essence of cost management in the construction world.











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