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The Changing Role of Quantity Surveyors

Traditionally, a quantity surveyor worked in a construction environment. Their role was to manage the costs, inventory and timeline of a construction project. They were essentially the accountants within the building sector. They were required to identify costs which could be avoided and which would not add value to the finished build. They were responsible for managing contracts and applications from planning permission to client sign off. Not only would they be responsible for cost control and financial measures, but building measurements too. The quantity surveyor would manage the construction project from start to finish including tender applications. Essentially a quantity surveyor played the role of manager, advisor, economist, accountant and construction planner, which was all rolled into one title.


Unfortunately, due to the recent poor economic times we have seen a fall in the construction trade as a whole, on a worldwide basis. This had led many qualified quantity surveyors to turn to other avenues for employment opportunities. Given the scope of their duties, they have acquired skills which can be applied to many areas. A quantity surveyor can now enjoy adequate employment in the field of facilities management. Their experience in the construction sector allows them the experience and expertise to manage materials, maintenance, staff and costs in the management of both commercial and residential properties. They also have the scope to manage any building extensions or refurbishments of such facilities. Given their knowledge surrounding economic and financial appraisal, they can also transfer their skills to fields such as investment appraisal, insurance risk analysis and contractual agreements.

Given their in depth project management skills, a quantity surveyor would possess the ability to assist with any form of project planning, not just construction based. Many quantity surveyors now enjoy roles within government agency planning departments from education to finance to social protection. With harsh economic times comes the need for insolvency services. Quantity surveyors can also find employment in this area due to their negotiation, contractual and legal knowledge.

Of course, a key component of quantity surveyor knowledge lies within the field of accountancy. Accountancy is a field that continues to prosper as the further economic situations worsen, the stronger the need for articulate accountancy. Quantity surveyors can be of use to an accountancy firm as they can help to provide budgeting advice and forecasts for clients. They can also help those who wish to invest in commercial opportunities by being able to provide an analysis of financial risks involved. Often quantity surveyors may find themselves working in the area of dispute resolution or even risk managemet due to their skills and expertise that they have acquired.

The complexity and variety of knowledge fields involved with the role of quantity surveying has allowed those qualified in the area to continue employment in other fields in harsh economic times. Although the scope of their day to day role may greatly change, they can still put their years of dedicated study and work experience to use in a variety of industries.
About the author:

This article was written on behalf of MMP. Mulcahy McDonagh and Partners (MMP) is firmly established as one of the most significant Quantity Surveying practices in Ireland, with offices in Dublin and Sligo.

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