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  • paulwatson22

When should I engage a QS ?

The question I get asked probably more than any other is “when should I engage a QS ?”. The answer is essentially the same for the main stakeholders involved in the project i.e. Architect, Builder & Homeowner, and that is at the concept stage in the first instance.

This is the point where the homeowner hasn’t spent too much money on the design yet and changes can easily be made before they get beyond their means trying to build their ‘dream home.’

A Quantity Surveyor (QS) will use the concept design to prepare a Preliminary Budget Estimate, using average industry rates for materials and subtrades and making educated assumptions based on similar builds they have priced in and around the desired location. The Architect & Builder can then get involved and, in conjunction with the QS, do some value engineering with the homeowner depending on whether the concept plans are below or above their proposed budget.

Once the client is happy with the budget estimate the Architect can then move on to a more detailed design, nailing down certain features and being more specific with materials required for each element of the build. At this stage many financial institutions will insist on an Elemental Cost Report endorsed by a QS to mitigate any risks they might encounter financing the project (if the clients actually require finance to fund the build).

When the plans have been consented often the builder will then request a Fully Tendered Report. This report utilises the builder’s own subcontractor quotes which are reviewed and incorporated into the report. We also use the builder’s specific merchant pricing for materials and their labour rate and margin so the report is as specific to their business and the current project as possible. This report then becomes a very useful blueprint to run the job and a very handy tool to facilitate back costing as the job progresses, rather than waiting until completion when the horse may have already bolted !

So I guess the answer to my first question about when to engage a QS is really, any time you like and I’m always happy to chat about it in more detail.

Give me a call on Ph. 027 238 1866 or drop me an email at :



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