working with quantity surveyors

Working with quantity surveyors – the guide for architects

The role of quantity surveyors – and why work with them

Quantity surveyors sometimes referred to as construction cost consultants or commercial managers, play a critical role in the UK construction industry, and there are countless benefits for architects to work with them.

Quantity surveyors are primarily responsible for managing all aspects of the contractual and financial sides of construction projects. Their role is to ensure that the construction project is completed within its operating budget – in fact, they will help you estimate that budget and put it together as well. 

As a UK architect, you will be working with a quantity surveyor one way or the other, and you should structure your collaboration with them in the smartest way possible. 

We will list some practical tips for that in this post.

Benefits of working with quantity surveyors

Ideally, quantity surveyors should be involved from the very early stages of a construction project. In the planning and design stages, quantity surveyors work closely with architects to understand the design intent and to provide cost advice.

They help prepare cost estimates and feasibility studies to determine the financial viability of the project. This includes analyzing the costs of materials, labor, and equipment needed to complete it. Quantity surveyors also assess the project’s risks and suggest cost management tactics.

You will need a QS’s help in the preparation of tender and contract documents, including bills of quantities. A QS will make sure the proposed design is within the project’s budget and suggest cost-effective alternatives if necessary.

During the construction phase, quantity surveyors are also extremely valuable since they manage and monitor the project costs. Regular cost reports, change orders, final accounts agreements and negotiations, contract administration – you can expect all of that from a seasoned QS. 

Quantity surveyors also play a crucial role in managing disputes between parties involved in the project.

If you are serious about using sustainable materials and technologies, a quantity surveyor will be able to advise on the cost implications of that and balance the desire for sustainable design with the available budget.

The role of quantity surveyors in the UK construction industry is multifaceted – and you, as an architect, can use their expertise and help to grow your business & improve client satisfaction.

We’ve created the whole co-consultants module in PlanMan so that you can work with quantity surveyors among other professionals. In this section of our tool your quantity surveyor can get access to all the latest versions of your project documents, client communication & updates, and submit their deliverables without scattering them across messengers, documents hosting sites, or third-party services.

How to align your vision with a quality surveyor’s expertise

To get the most out of your collaboration with a quantity surveyor, make sure you follow these practice-based best practices:

Start early & communicate clearly

To align your architectural vision with quantity surveyor expertise, it’s crucial to establish clear communication channels from the start.

Set up regular meetings & effective visioning workshops, using the right collaborative software, and ensuring all parties have a mutual understanding of the project’s goals and constraints.

Architects and quantity surveyors work best together when they use modern communication tech, like agile project management software, file sharing and version control tools, and messengers. PlanMan gets you all of that under one roof, so create an account for free to see how helpful our tool can be.

Define roles & respect them

To maximize the effect of your partnership, you need to understand and define the roles and responsibilities of each party clearly.

As an architect, you should appreciate the quantity surveyor’s role in cost management, feasibility studies, and risk analysis, – and delegate this authority to them completely. 

At the same time, quantity surveyors need to respect your creative process, vision, and design objectives, so pay attention to their approach and mindset while vetting your partners.

Building a strong working relationship based on trust and mutual respect is extremely important. This will be achieved when you acknowledge each other’s expertise, are open to feedback, and work collaboratively to resolve any issues or conflicts.

Use the right tools

Using the right tech will help get the most ROI from your collaboration with a quantity surveyor. 

Project management software is one of the most effective digital tools for collaboration. Platforms like PlanMan, Basecamp, or Asana can help manage tasks, deadlines, and communication between architects and quantity surveyors.

Digital communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, PlanMan, or Zoom can also enhance collaboration. Real-time communication and virtual meetings can be especially useful when team members are working remotely or are located in different geographical locations.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is another powerful digital tool that can improve collaboration between architects and quantity surveyors. BIM allows for the creation of detailed 3D models of a building, which can be used to accurately estimate costs and materials. Using BIM can help reduce errors and discrepancies, and ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of the project.

Cloud-based storage and sharing platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox were widely used. 

However, nowadays there are better alternatives like PlanMan’s document management, and they are designed specifically for architects and other construction professionals.

Finally, cost estimation software like CostX or Planswift can be particularly useful for quantity surveyors. These tools automate the process of cost estimation and can provide accurate and detailed cost breakdowns.

Learn together

Continuous learning and professional development can help both architects and quantity surveyors stay updated on industry trends and best practices. This can lead to more innovative solutions and improved collaborations – and innovation is exactly what moves the needle in your architecture business growth!