NZIQS Rules state that a "Quantity Surveyor" means a person educated, trained and qualified, and who is particularly and regularly engaged, for the purpose of livelihood, in the following work:
- The preparation of Bills and/or Schedules of Quantities of materials, labour and services required in the construction and equipment of building, or engineering works, and;
- The preparation and valuation of progress and final payments in connection with any contract or sub-contract, and;
- The appraisal of the value of proposed constructions or other structures already erected, and;
- The preparation of specifications when required so to do, and;
- Acting as arbitrator in cases of dispute in connection with building, or engineering work, when required so to do, and;
- To advise from time to time on cost management, or value management.
- To carry out such other duties as may properly be those of a Quantity Surveyor.
So just what does a Quantity Surveyor do and how do you become one? Basically, the Quantity Surveyor is the person responsible for figuring out just what a building is going to cost and in some cases for making sure that construction costs and production are managed as efficiently as possible. In some of today's projects there may be many millions of dollars involved.
A Quantity Surveyor can identify and collate the costs involved in order to develop an overall budget for any project. They can then undertake cost planning which aims to help all members of the design team arrive at practical solutions and stay within the project budget. It is the final detailed estimate prepared by the Quantity Surveyors, in consultation with a project architect, which forms a basis on which subsequent tenders can be evaluated. Schedules of quantities translate the drawing, plans and specifications produced by the design team to enable each contractor to calculate tender prices fairly, on exactly the same basis as the competitors.
Once tenders have been accepted, the Quantity Surveyor can provide cash flow data to enable a client to programme his resources adequately to meet contract commitments. In other words, the Quantity Surveyor decides how much of a job should be paid for at any one time. With interest rates the way they are, no one wants to hand over money before it is due.
In most construction contracts, the contractor is paid monthly and the Quantity Surveyor can value the work carried out each month submitting a recommendation for certified payment.
The Quantity Surveyor can also be called on to assess cost effects when changes occur and agree on variation with contractors.
Following completion of a contract, the Quantity Surveyor prepares a statement of final account, summarising the cost charges that have occurred and arriving at a final contract sum.