Having the right tools and techniques in your toolkit can mean the difference between a successful project and a costly disaster. Without the proper tools and knowledge, you risk missing important details, making errors in cost estimation, and falling behind schedule. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 10 Expert tips that every quantity surveyor should be familiar with. From specialized software to tried-and-true manual methods, these tips will help you stay organized, efficient, and effective on the job.
Fun fact: the profession of quantity surveying dates back over 2,000 years to ancient Rome, where surveyors were responsible for overseeing the construction of iconic buildings and infrastructure. Today, modern quantity surveyors rely on a wide range of tools and techniques to plan and manage construction projects of all shapes and sizes.
Without further ado, let’s dive into 10 tips every quantity surveyor should have in their pocket to help maximize their productivity:
- Specialized software for cost estimation and project management
- Digital measurement tools
- Manual measurement tools
- Cost databases and resources
- Project scheduling software
- Contract management software
- Professional development
- Guide Books
- Data analysis and visualization tools
- Industry-specific resources and networks
Maximizing productivity as a quantity surveyor: 10 expert tips
1. Specialized software for cost estimation and project management
Quantity surveyors use specialized software to help them accurately estimate costs, create budgets, and manage construction projects. Examples of such software include CostX, On Center OST, Planswift and STACK Takeoff & Estimating. These tools allow quantity surveyors to quickly and accurately gather and analyze data, create reports, and collaborate with team members. For example, a quantity surveyor might use CostX to create a detailed cost estimate for a building project, including the cost of materials, labour, and other expenses. Using specialized software can help to improve accuracy, save time, and reduce the risk of errors in cost estimation and project management.
2. Digital measurement tools
Digital measurement tools, such as laser measures and 3D scanners, allow quantity surveyors to quickly and accurately gather measurements on-site. For example, a quantity surveyor might use a laser measure to quickly and accurately measure the dimensions of a room, saving time and reducing the risk of errors compared to traditional manual measurement methods. Similarly, a 3D scanner can be used to create a digital model of a building or structure, which can be used for a variety of purposes, including cost estimation and project management.
3. Manual measurement tools
While digital measurement tools are becoming increasingly popular, quantity surveyors still rely on a range of manual measurement tools, such as tape measures, levels, and squares. These tools are essential for checking and verifying measurements and are often used in conjunction with digital tools to ensure accuracy. For example, a quantity surveyor might use a tape measure to verify the dimensions of a room measured with a laser measure, or a level to ensure that a surface is properly horizontal or vertical. Having a range of manual measurement tools in a quantity surveyor’s toolkit allows them to accurately gather measurements on-site, even in situations where digital tools may not be available or appropriate.
4. Cost databases and resources
Quantity surveyors rely on a range of cost databases and resources to help them estimate costs and create budgets. Examples include the RSMeans database, which provides cost information for a wide range of construction materials and services, and the Construction Information Service, which offers access to various industry-specific standards and guidelines. For example, a quantity surveyor might use the RSMeans database to determine the cost of materials for a building project, including the cost of concrete, steel, and other materials. They might also consult the Construction Information Service for guidance on industry-specific standards and regulations, such as building codes and safety guidelines. Using cost databases and resources allows quantity surveyors to estimate costs accurately and create detailed and accurate budgets for construction projects.
5. Project scheduling software
Project scheduling software allows quantity surveyors to plan and manage the schedule for a construction project. Tools such as Microsoft Project and Asana allow quantity surveyors to create and track project timelines, assign tasks to team members, and monitor progress. For example, a quantity surveyor might use Microsoft Project to create a Gantt chart that shows the tasks and milestones for a construction project, and update the chart as the project progresses to ensure that it stays on track. Using project scheduling software can help to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. For more information on project scheduling software.
6. Contract management software
Quantity surveyors often work with a range of contracts, including contracts with clients, contractors, and suppliers. Contract management software, such as DocuSign and Procore, allows quantity surveyors to create, review, and sign contracts electronically, as well as track and manage the terms of the contract. For example, a quantity surveyor might use DocuSign to electronically sign and deliver a contract to a client, and then use Procore to track the terms of the contract and manage any changes or updates. This helps to streamline the contract process and reduce the risk of errors or misunderstandings.
Practical example: A quantity surveyor is working on a construction project with a client and several contractors. They use DocuSign to electronically sign and deliver the contract with the client, and then use Procore to track the terms of the contract and manage any changes or updates. This allows the surveyor to easily access and review the contract at any time, as well as track and manage any changes or updates to the terms of the contract. Using contract management software helps the surveyor to efficiently manage the contract process and reduce the risk of errors or misunderstandings.
7. Professional development
Quantity surveyors can benefit from participating in professional development opportunities, such as attending conferences, completing continuing professional development (CPD) courses, and joining professional associations. These opportunities can help surveyors to stay up to date on industry trends and developments, as well as improve their skills and knowledge. In addition to participating in professional development opportunities, it is important for quantity surveyors to ensure that they are registered with the appropriate professional body, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Being registered with a professional body can provide access to resources such as training programs and networking events, as well as demonstrate a commitment to professional standards and ethics. Participating in professional development opportunities and maintaining professional registration can help surveyors to advance their careers and improve their skills and knowledge.
Quantity surveyors often rely on guidebooks such as SMM, CESMM, and BESMM to help them estimate costs and manage construction projects. These guide books provide detailed information on construction costs and project management practices and can help surveyors ensure that their cost estimates are accurate and up to date. In addition to providing cost information, these guidebooks also offer valuable insights and best practices for managing construction projects, making them an essential resource for any quantity surveyor. For example, a quantity surveyor might refer to the SMM guidebook when creating a cost estimate for a residential construction project, not only to ensure that their estimate is accurate but also to access the wealth of knowledge and expertise contained in the guidebook. Using guidebooks like SMM, CESMM, and BESMM can help surveyors not only create more accurate cost estimates but also to improve their overall project management skills and knowledge.
9. Data analysis and visualization software
Quantity surveyors often work with large amounts of data, including cost estimates, project schedules, and resource requirements. Data analysis and visualization software, such as Excel and Tableau, allows surveyors to analyze and understand this data in order to make informed decisions about construction projects. For example, a quantity surveyor might use Excel to analyze the costs of a construction project, including the cost of materials, labour, and other resources. They could then use Tableau to create visualizations of the data, such as graphs and charts, to help them understand the data more easily and identify any trends or patterns. Using data analysis and visualization software can help surveyors to make more informed decisions about construction projects and improve their project management processes.
10. Industry-specific resources and networks
Quantity surveyors can benefit from accessing a range of industry-specific resources and networks, such as professional associations, trade publications, and online forums. These resources can provide valuable information and support for quantity surveyors, including industry news, best practices, and opportunities for professional development. In addition to these resources, quantity surveyors may also find it useful to access suppliers’ price catalogues and contractors’ fixed rates, which can provide important information on the costs of materials and labour for construction projects. For example, a quantity surveyor might use a supplier’s price catalogue to compare the prices of different materials or refer to contractors’ fixed rates to get an idea of the cost of hiring different types of contractors. Participating in industry-specific resources and networks, as well as accessing suppliers’ price catalogues and contractors’ fixed rates, can help surveyors to stay informed and connected, as well as advance their careers and improve their skills.
Quantity surveyors must have a range of tools and techniques, or “quantity surveying hacks,” at their disposal to effectively estimate costs and manage construction projects. These tools and techniques include specialized software for cost estimation and project management, digital and manual measurement tools, cost databases and resources, project scheduling software, contract management software, Guide books, Professional development etc. . In addition to these tools, quantity surveyors should also participate in professional development opportunities and access industry-specific resources and networks to improve their skills and knowledge and advance their careers. By using these tools and techniques, or “quantity surveying hacks,” quantity surveyors can deliver better results for their clients and succeed in their profession.
I hope you found this article interesting and informative. Feel free to check out our other articles for more helpful tips and insights. Thank you for reading!