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Quantity surveyor's role in the delivery of construction projects: A review

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Based on previous studies and publicly available information, this desktop survey aimed to provide part answers to the research questions for an overarching study which looks at how stakeholders value the services of QSs in the project delivery process, their strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. NZIQS Conditions of Engagement and wider literature provide insights into the traditional role of the QS in the pre-contract and post-contract stages of project development, as well as wider specialist services. Insights gained from the literature have revealed about 25 areas of strengths of the QS profession, 25 areas of weaknesses, 14 potential opportunities and 22 threats in the external business landscape. The strengths ranged from negotiation skills, through estimating and pricing to having good industry knowledge and networking skills and a well-organised mentoring scheme for trainees. The weaknesses ranged from a lack of business and managerial skills through poor attitude towards CPD, to inaccuracies/ inconsistencies in cost estimates and inability to properly plan for and control construction expenditure to minimise the prevailing cost overruns in the industry. Further improvements needed in the QS services to enhance their value delivery and long-term viability included engaging in lifelong learning, having a diversified portfolio of services, engaging in joint ventures, and partnering with foreign firms to explore foreign markets.
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National Research Committee
1
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
Quantity surveyor’s role in the delivery of construction projects:
A review
Dr Jasper Mbachu
School of Engineering & Advanced Technology, Massey University
Email: J.I.Mbachu@massey.ac.nz
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Based on previous studies and publicly available information, this desktop survey aimed to provide
part answers to the research questions for an overarching study which looks at how stakeholders value
the services of QSs in the project delivery process, their strengths, weaknesses and areas for
improvement. NZIQS Conditions of Engagement and wider literature provide insights into the
traditional role of the QS in the pre-contract and post-contract stages of project development, as well
as wider specialist services. Insights gained from the literature have revealed about 25 areas of
strengths of the QS profession, 25 areas of weaknesses, 14 potential opportunities and 22 threats in
the external business landscape. The strengths ranged from negotiation skills, through estimating and
pricing to having good industry knowledge and networking skills and a well-organised mentoring
scheme for trainees. The weaknesses ranged from a lack of business and managerial skills through
poor attitude towards CPD, to inaccuracies/ inconsistencies in cost estimates and inability to properly
plan for and control construction expenditure to minimise the prevailing cost overruns in the industry.
Further improvements needed in the QS services to enhance their value delivery and long-term
viability included engaging in lifelong learning, having a diversified portfolio of services, engaging in
joint ventures, and partnering with foreign firms to explore foreign markets.
Using the desktop survey findings as starting point, the next stage empirical study will explore NZ-
specific perspectives on the issues. Views of the NZIQS members will be compared with those of
other key industry stakeholders. The findings will be reported in the final report for the overarching
study.
National Research Committee
2
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................................................................... 1
1. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 3
2. RESEARCH QUESTIONS & OBJECTIVES ................................................................................ 3
4. RESEARCH METHOD .................................................................................................................. 4
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS ................................................................................................... 4
5.1. Quantity surveyors‟ services in the project development process .......................................... 4
5.1.1 QS obligations in relation to express and implied contractual service ...................................... 7
5.1.2 QS service obligations in relation to professional ethics ......................................................... 10
5.1.3 Scope of QS services: Implications for research ...................................................................... 11
5.1.4 Differentiating between the services of consultant and contractor QSs ................................ 11
5.2. QSs‟ strengths and weaknesses ............................................................................................. 12
5.3. Areas for improvement in the QS services ........................................................................... 16
CONCLUSIONS AND FURTHER ACTION ............................................................................................. 18
REFERENCES ...................................................................................................................................... 19
National Research Committee
3
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
1. INTRODUCTION
There is a general understanding that one of the key responsibilities of a QS at the construction phase
of a project is to help keep costs on track (NZIQS, 2014). There is also a general understanding that
majority of construction projects are over-budget at completion (Mbachu and Frei, 2010). Even
though QSs are not to blame in majority of the cases, the prevalence of cost overruns may have
spurred doubts as to the real difference a QS can make in terms of value-addition in project delivery.
Few studies have looked into this issue; there is a lack of evidence-based research upon which clients
and other stakeholders could depend on to assess the real value of engaging or employing a QS in a
project. There is increasing demand for QSs in New Zealand and overseas. For instance, the NZ
Immigration Service (NZIS, 2015) puts Quantity Surveying high on the Long Term Skill Shortage
List. High demand for QSs is evidence that construction clients appreciate the value they add in their
capacity as financial and contractual managers of construction projects. What is lacking is an
evidence-based knowledge of the extent of the value and difference they could make in a project. It is
therefore apt to investigate stakeholders‟ perceptions of the value of QSs‟ services. For a holistic view
on the issues, strengths and weaknesses of the QS profession, and areas for improvement are also
included in the investigations.
2. RESEARCH QUESTIONS & OBJECTIVES
The drive for the overarching research is to provide evidence-based responses to the following
questions:
1. What are the various areas of the quantity surveyors‟ services in the project development
process, which are most recurring and what level of importance do stakeholders attach to each
of these service areas?
2. How do stakeholders rate QSs‟ performance of the identified service areas?
3. On the basis of the importance-performance ratings, how are the identified QSs‟ service areas
positioned on a 3x3 Importance-Performance matrix map?
4. In general, what do stakeholders perceive as the key strengths and weaknesses of quantity
surveyors?
5. What improvements are needed in the QSs‟ services to enhance their value delivery in the
project development process?
The key objective of the desktop study is to explore the extent to which the above research questions
have been resolved in part or in whole by previous studies. The desktop survey findings will therefore
provide a starting point for the second stage empirical study. The latter will focus on New Zealand
specific perspectives on the issues and how they compare with the findings from the desktop survey.
.
3. WHAT IS A QUANTITY SURVEYOR?
National Research Committee
4
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
The New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS, 2014) defines Quantity Surveyors (QSs)
as the construction cost professionals who measure and estimate the cost of resources for construction
projects, and whose role, among others, is to keep projects on budget. This definition can only be seen
as the primary role of the QS since the 21st Century QS has evolved to take on wider responsibilities
in all stages of the building life cycle from project conception, through design and consenting to
procurement, construction and commissioning of the finished building, and to the retrofitting or
upgrade of the building in the use phase. The role of the quantity surveyor has therefore widened
beyond measuring and estimating of the quantities and costs of the building project to include
emerging roles such as project management, contract administration, dispute resolution, and insurance
valuation. For instance, O‟Brien et al. (2014) observed that QS role includes overseeing the financial
and contractual administration of construction projects. Currently, QSs offer wider roles such as loss
adjustment, auditing, dispute resolution and expert witnessing (Ashworth, 2011), project management
and value management (Baloyi & Price, 2003; Elhag et al., 2005). These wider roles bring to question
whether or not it is still needful to maintain the designation of „quantity surveying‟ since it limits the
capabilities of modern day QS. Perhaps, this may have informed the various descriptors currently
associated with this role such as building economist, construction economists, cost manager,
commercial manager, and construction cost engineer. Arguably, some of these descriptors are meant
to indicate specialist areas for the QS rather than attempting to capture holistic role of the modern day
QS. In this study, QS role is considered from the perspective of being a client representative as a cost
consultant, and a main contractor‟s or specialist trade contractor‟s representative as a commercial or
cost manager.
4. RESEARCH METHOD
As the title implies, this desktop survey relies on publicly available information or secondary data
sources for building up evidence in responding to the research questions. The structured approach
adopted for this purpose is modelled in Figure 1. First, local (NZ) secondary data sources are
consulted. Wider evidence from overseas sources is also surveyed in order to gain a holistic or
comparative perspective on the issues. Content and thematic analysis (Cooper and Emory, 2006) is
used to explore the recurring themes, which are subsequently aggregated as answers to the research
questions.
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
5.1. Quantity surveyors’ services in the project development process
A review of extant literature reveals that there are clear expectations of the unique role of the quantity
surveyor in the procurement process. Ashworth (2011) observed that the key functions of the quantity
surveyor (QS) in the construction project delivery process could be subsumed into two staged
categories as follows:
Pre-contract role of the QS
This comprises preliminary cost and procurement advice as follows:
National Research Committee
5
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
1) Preliminary cost advice: As a cost adviser to the building owner, the QS‟ role includes
forecasting the initial and life-cycle costs of the project and evaluating the evolving design on
the basis of this cost advice.
2) Procurement advice: Within this role, the QS prepares much of the tendering documents to be
used by contractors in competitive tendering, managing and adjudicating the tenders and
ultimately advising on award.
Post-contract role of the QS
Post contract role of the QS focuses mainly on contractual administration and financial management/
cost control and reporting as follows.
1) Project cost accounting: In an accounting role during the construction period, the QS prepares
and reports on interim payments and financial progress and also prepares and controls the
financial expenditure for the project.
2) Work progress payments and claim management
3) Preparation of loss adjustment
4) Cost audit.
From a related perspective, the Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) standard form of contract lists the
following duties of the QS:
Pre-contract role of the QS
- Initial cost advice
- Approximate estimating
- Cost planning, value engineering, life cycle costing
- Bills of quantities, tender documentation
- Specification writing (where bills are not required)
- Procurement
- Tender evaluation.
Post-contract role of the QS
- Valuation of interim certificates
- Preparation of final accounts
- Remeasurement of the whole or part of the works
- Measuring and valuing variations
- Daywork accounts
- Adjustment to prime cost sums
- Increased cost assessment
- Evaluation of contractual claims
- Cost analysis.
National Research Committee
6
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
O‟Brien et al. (2014) add the following as part of QS role at the post-construction stage:
- Retentions release.
- Cost analysis/ cost modelling.
- Liquidated & ascertained damages.
NZIQS Conditions of Engagement
Without any intention to belittle the QS services provided in the wider literature, this study will focus
on the scope of QS services in New Zealand as provided in the NZIQS Conditions of Engagement.
Section C2 of the NZIQS Conditions of Engagement spells out service obligations of the QS to the
construction project client. Though the scope of services outlined in the document is meant for
consultant QS, the information is also applicable to a QS working for a contracting company which
has active involvement in the design, procurement and construction phases of the project development
such as design and build contractor. The contractor QS role may be limited to the procurement,
construction and post-construction stages of the project development process, with focus on the
contractor‟s financial and contractual interests in the project.
The scope of QS service obligations as modelled in Figure 1 comprises two value streams: The first is
service obligation as expressed or implied in the terms and conditions of the contract for service
(involving the consultant QS) or contract of service (involving the contractor QS). The second is
service obligations in relation to professional ethics. The two value streams form the basis for
benchmarking the quality of service performance by the consultant or contractor QS in the project
delivery process.
Poor service performance in relation to the first set of service obligations could be ground for
professional negligence litigation if there is sufficient evidence of breach of the express or implied
terms of the contract for service/ conditions of engagement. Poor service performance in relation to
the second set of service obligations if proven to be in violation of the Membership Rules could be
ground for disciplinary action by the professional council vested with the authority to self-regulate QS
practice. Further details about the two streams of service obligations as gleaned from public sources
are discussed in the following subsections.
National Research Committee
7
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
Figure 1: QS's service obligations in the project development process
5.1.1 QS obligations in relation to express and implied contractual service
Scope of QS service obligations is provided by the express and implied terms of the contractual
service agreement. These are mainly duty of care to the client or the employer. The duty of care
obligation requires that, in providing the commissioned services, the QS will use reasonable skill, care
and diligence normally expected of a competent professional (NZIQS, 2013). The duties and other
service obligations of a QS working as an employee of a firm are spelt out in the employment
agreement. For the purpose of this study, emphasis will be placed on the scope of the core QS services
as outlined in the NZIQS Conditions of Engagement.
Scope of consultant QS services NZIQS Conditions of Engagement
Section E of the Conditions of Engagement for the QS services (NZIQS, 2013) lists the scope of QS
services to a client as comprising duties at the following stages of the project development process:
a) Pre-design
Quantity Surveyor’s service obligations in the project development process
Express and implied
*contractual service
obligations
Ethical obligations:
Independent judgment in
relation to third parties
Duty of care to client/ employer:
Use of reasonable skill, care and
diligence of a competent
professional in service provision:
a) Pre-contract QS role.
b) Post-contract QS role
c) Other services.
Act independently
and with professional
skills and judgement
in accordance with
the terms of contract
between third party
and client.
Conflict of interest:
Declare any conflict
of interest; ensure
that decisions, advice
and opinions are
evidence-based and
free of bias.
Value stream 1
Value stream 2
National Research Committee
8
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
b) Concept design
c) Preliminary design
d) Developed design
e) Detailed design
f) Construction
g) Post-construction
h) Other services.
The 7-stage approach adopted in the NZIQS Conditions of Engagement for delineating sequence of
project development process closely resembles the 8 stage approach taken in the New Zealand
Institute of Architect‟s (NZIA) standard form of agreement (NZIA AAS 2007); the key difference
being that the NZIA‟s stage 6 (procurement) is subsumed under the NZIQS stage 5 Detailed design.
Perhaps, the NZIQS stage 5 should be renamed „Detailed Design, Documentation and Tendering‟ to
more appropriately portray the key service components embodied at this stage. Typical QS services
at each stage are outlined in the following subsections.
Pre-design stage services
QS pre-design services as commissioned by the client are itemised in Section E1 of the Conditions of
Engagement. Examples of the pre-design services are:
- pre-design estimate,
- coordinating consultants‟ appointments and
- provision of feasibility cost studies.
Concept design stage services
Scope of QS‟s services during the concept design stage is itemised in Section E2 of the Conditions of
Engagement. Examples given in this section include
- preliminary budget estimate,
- giving economic advice,
- preliminary contract advice and
- providing update on feasibility cost studies.
Preliminary design stage services
Section E3 of the Conditions of Engagement itemises QS‟s scope of services during the preliminary
design stage. Examples given in this section include:
- Cost studies.
- Elemental estimate / cost plan.
- Budgetary restraint recommendations.
- Cost projections and cash flow forecasts.
- Design modification advice.
- Budgetary cost checks; and
National Research Committee
9
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
- Co-ordination of specialist estimates.
Developed design stage services
In Section E4 of the Conditions of Engagement, typical QS‟s services at the developed design stage
include the following:
- Cost studies.
- Monitoring cost plan.
- Budgetary cost checks.
- Value management.
Detailed design stage services
Section E5 of the Conditions of Engagement outlines the following as typical QS‟s services at the
detailed design stage:
- Schedules of quantities (NZS 4202 or equivalent).
- Provisional / remeasured schedules of quantities.
- Specified schedules of quantities.
- Trade package schedules of quantities.
- Final project estimate.
- Evaluation of tenders / offers.
- Report on tenders.
- Checking priced schedules.
Construction stage services
Typical QS services at the construction stage as outlined in Section E6 of the Conditions of
Engagement include the following:
- Financial administration of changes.
- Adjustment of monetary allowances.
- Progress payment valuations.
- Financial statements.
- Cash flow forecasts. Cost to complete.
- Evaluation of claims.
Post-construction stage services
National Research Committee
10
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
Typical QS services at the post-construction stage as outlined in Section E7 of the Conditions of
Engagement include preparation of final accounts.
Other services
A number of core QS services at the post-construction stage are outlined in the „Other Services‟
category (section E8). Some of the services under this section are repetitions of those listed in
preceding sections E1-E7, which indicates that these services are not entirely outside of the QS key
competency areas. For instance, a sub-category named „Quantity Surveying‟ (8.1) is listed under
„Other Services‟.
With the focus of this study being on core QS services, the „Other Services‟ sub-categories which are
not primarily core QS duties will not be included in the investigations. This is largely because the QS,
while performing these other services assumes a different professional role and so falls outside of the
scope of this study. However, components of the „Quantity Surveying‟ subcategory 8.1 which have
not been included in the sections E1- E7 will be included in the investigations. These include the
following services:
- Replacement cost estimate.
- Cost audit.
- Tax depreciation schedules.
- Design / Build evaluation.
- Insurance valuations.
- Maintenance schedules / life cycle costs.
- Dispute resolution services, including serving as Expert Witness, mediator, adjudicator or
assisting with litigation or arbitration processes in matters of dispute arising from construction
contracts.
5.1.2 QS service obligations in relation to professional ethics
As modelled in Figure 1, complying with professional ethics requires a two-fold service obligation
from the QS. The first is the duty of independent judgement in dealings with third parties, while the
second relates to managing conflicts of interest.
The duty of independent judgement obligation provides that where the commissioned services require
the QS to certify, decide or use discretion under a contract between the client and a third party, the QS
must act independently and with professional skills and judgement according to the terms of contract
between the client and the third party.
The obligation relating to conflicts of interest requires the QS to ensure that decisions, advice and
opinions are evidence-based and free of bias.
National Research Committee
11
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
The clauses in the Conditions of Engagement which require the QS to act independently with
professional skills and judgment and without bias nullifies any implied fiduciary relationship between
the client and the QS, and therefore frees the QS from a duty of loyalty which would have required
him or her to act solely in the best interest of the client even at the risk of trading-off fairness to third
parties whose interests are in conflict with those of the client.
5.1.3 Scope of QS services: Implications for research
The above information on the scope of QS services in New Zealand will be starting point for second-
stage empirical investigations to be carried out in this study. Confirmation of the key pre-contract and
post-contract services will be made during the pilot interview stage, with prospective interviewees
advising on the services they offer at both stages and for specialist/ supplementary roles. As earlier
stated, the latter stage roles are not part of the scope of this study.
5.1.4 Differentiating between the services of consultant and contractor QSs
A number of authors had differentiated between the services of a consultant and a contractor QS
based on the phase of their operation in the project development process. For instance, Ashworth
(2011) sees the consultant QS as one that can perform at the pre-contract and post-contract phases,
while the contractor QS performs at the post-contract phase. Authors such as Elhag (2005) and
Crafford and Smallwood (2007), while limiting the services of the contractor QS to construction
phase duties, have extended the role of the consultant QS to the entire building lifecycle, with duties
extending beyond the capital development phase into the operation, maintenance, upgrade and
disposal phases.
However, it is not entirely correct to use a phase-approach in distinguishing between the services of
both QS categories. This is because a contractor QS who works for a design-and-build contractor
would be expected to perform the full spectrum of pre-contract and post-contract roles. A QS who
works for contractor employed to assist with design development of project to be let under the two-
staged tendering process will be expected to perform the design stage QS services. So in effect, the
key point of distinction is who the QS has a service contract agreement with, and by implication to
whom he or she is an agent of the client or the contractor. The consultant QS‟ services therefore
comprise the scope of services commissioned by the client as clearly specified in the Conditions of
Engagement and service contract agreement. The contractor QS‟ services will be those outlined in
employment contract conditions and agreement entered into with the contractor. In either case, the
scope of services could be pitched at any phase of the project development or building lifecycle as
dictated by their client or employer. Having said this, it is generally known that consultant QS will
perform the full spectrum of pre-contract, contract, post-contract and wider specialist quantity
surveying services, while the contractor QS will normally be involved with the contract and post-
contract quantity surveying services. Ideally, the consultant QS goes by the title, „cost engineer‟,
„construction economist‟, „quantity surveyor‟ or „cost-advisor‟, while the contractor Qs goes by the
title „estimator‟, „cost manager‟ or „commercial manager‟.
National Research Committee
12
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
5.2. QSs’ strengths and weaknesses
Like any other professionals, QSs have their strengths and weaknesses. This study aims to explore the
key strengths and weaknesses of NZIQS members with a view to ascertaining the opportunities they
could leverage with their strengths and the threats they should not expose their weaknesses to.
A number of studies have investigated strengths and weaknesses of the professions using strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis framework. Tables 1-4 1 summarises key
outcomes of a review of literature in relation to the subject.
Table 1: Strengths of the quantity surveying profession
Code
Strengths of the QS profession
Sources
Link to
opportunities
S1
Negotiation skills
O4
S2
Communication skills
O4,
S3
Team working/ interpersonal skills
O4
S4
Data management/ record keeping
O1-O10, O14
S5
Client relationship management
O1-O10
S6
Conflict management/ dispute resolution
O4
S7
Attention to details
O3,O5
S8
Measurement/ quantification
Nkado and Meyer
(2001)
O3,O5
S9
Self-confidence, can-do attitude
O10
S10
Cost accounting and financial management
O3,O5
S11
Construction law and contract management
O4
S12
Analytical and problem-solving
Dada and Jagboro
(2012)
O10
S13
Budgeting and cash flow forecasting
Leveson (1996)
O1-O2
S14
Value management/ construction economics
PAQS (2001)
O5
S15
Estimating and pricing
Leonard (2000)
O1-O2
S16
Networking
Githaiga (2004)
O13
S17
Political skills
O4
S18
Good knowledge of construction technology
O7
S19
Maintenance management schedule of condition
and dilapidation
Dada and Jagboro
(2012)
O7
S20
Lifecycle costing
O7,O14
S21
Industry knowledge
Dada and Jagboro
(2012)
O4,O13
S22
Feasibility studies/ development appraisal
O1-O2
S23
Design economics and cost planning
O1-O2
National Research Committee
13
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
S24
Dynamic and evolving nature of the profession
from traditional role of „measure and value‟ to
wider specialist services and managerial roles
Nkado and Meyer
(2011)
O10
S25
Well organised mentoring scheme for trainees
Voxy (2014);
NZIQS (2005)
O11-O12
Table 2: Weaknesses of the QS profession
Code
Weaknesses of the QS profession
Sources
Link to
threats
W1
Lack of business and management skills
T1,T3
W2
Lack of IT/ computing skills
Nkado and Meyer
(2001); White and
Fortune (2002)
T1,T2,T8
W3
Inability to adapt readily to change at individual practitioner
level
Crafford and
Smallwood (2007)
T1
W4
Inability to keep up with changing regulations and laws
impacting on construction operations and costs.
T19,T22
W5
Poor attitude towards continuous professional development
AIQS (2004)
T1,T8
W6
Lack of broad range of skills/ competencies
T7
W7
Lack of skills in civils/ heavy engineering and other
infrastructure construction technology
Dada and Jagboro
(2012)
T4
W8
Lack of skills in sustainable construction/ greenbuilding
Hiew and Ng
(2007)
T5
W9
Lack of skills in building services such as electrical &
HVAC
T5,T7
W10
Lack of skills in automation in construction/ smart building
T6
W11
Poor management of conflict of interest, especially in
relation to assumption of fiduciary duty of loyalty to client
contrary to professional relationship provided in the
Conditions of Engagement
NZ Law
Commission, 2002
T13
W12
Lack of awareness of the profession as a career and the
difference it could make in the construction industry
Frei et al. (2013)
T10
W13
Lack of legislative backing for the profession (legislative
backing may speed up the adoption of certification in New
Zealand and hence enable NZIQS practitioners and firms to
compete with a higher degree of credibility in the local and
global markets and hence stem the tide of encroachment into
the profession‟s core areas of expertise).
Frei et al. (2013)
T10
W14
Rapidly decline in measuring skills
Frei et al. (2013)
T9,T13
W15
Little attention to lifelong learning
Ashworth and
T7
National Research Committee
14
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
Hogg (2007)
W16
Undiversified portfolio of services
T7
W17
Lack of international connections and ability to compete in
the global market place
T1,T7
W18
Low levels of innovation
T1,T7
W19
Low level of advanced project-cost related risk management
competency
Githaiga (2004)
T13
W20
Lack of national practice standards; inconsistencies in cost
advice provided by QSs on the same project.
The Press (2013)
T18
W21
Inaccuracies in cost estimates
The Press (2013)
T13
W22
Inability of the profession to self-regulate against non-
members practising without registration and certifications
T2
W23
Low levels of education among members
T2
W24
Lack of succession plan
T14
Table 3: Opportunities for the QS profession
Code
Opportunities for the QS profession
Sources
O1
Increasing need for development appraisal/ feasibility studies
Githaiga
(2004)
O2
Clients‟ increasing need for preliminary cost estimate/ cost advice
O3
Growing need for taxation planning
O4
Increasing need for dispute resolution and adjudication
O5
Increasing need for valuation for fire insurance/ fire loss adjustment
O6
Growing market for property development
O7
Expected Warrant of Fitness regime for New Zealand houses
O8
Growing need for prudential management of investment finance at the back of the
recent global financial crisis (GFC)
O9
Boom in the residential property market
O10
Increasing need for core QS skills in emerging markets such as residential valuation,
oil and gas and mining.
RICS (1991)
O11
Shortage of QSs; Quantity Surveying high on Long Term Skill Shortage List
NZIS (2015)
O12
Total value of building and construction activity in New Zealand forecast to reach an
all-time high of more than $36 billion by 2016; greater clarity and assurance of
positive flow of construction work for the six years ending 31 December 2020.
MBIE (2015)
O13
Increasing interests in overseas investors in investing in the building and
construction sector, especially Asian investors
Stuff (2015)
National Research Committee
15
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
O14
Move to kick-start a New Zealand life cycle inventory (LCI) of publicly accessible,
preferably free, data commonly used in all life cycle cost assessments, similar to the
European Commission‟s ELCD.
CIC (2012)
Table 4: Threats of the QS profession
Code
Threats of the QS profession
Sources
T1
Ever increasing changes in the business landscape and the complexity of
the construction clients‟ demands.
T2
Incursion of accountants, lawyers, property valuers and other professions
into traditional QS practice areas
Frei et al. (2013)
T3
Clients‟ preference for one-stop service/ multi-disciplinary approach to
service provision
Ling et al.
(2009)
T4
Expected boom in infrastructure spending
T5
Growing emphasis on sustainable construction/ greenbuilding
T6
Growing investment in smart buildings
T7
Increasingly complex and competitive business landscape with blurring
of professional boundaries.
Hoxley et al.
(2007)
T8
Rapid advances in ICT and technological innovation such as BIM, cloud
computing and web-based collaboration technologies
Frei et al.
(2013);
Thayaparan et
al. (2011)
T9
Schedule of quantities losing its relevance and value as one of the
contract documents due to potential risks of variations
Mbachu and
Frei (2012)
T10
Rapid shifts in emphasis from traditional to evolving role of the QS
profession
Thayaparan et
al. (2011)
T11
Growing perception that that the traditional functions performed by the
quantity surveyor can easily be undertaken by
any person or a machine capable of performing simple arithmetic calculat
ions
Thayaparan et
al. (2011);
Wood (2008)
T12
Small size of New Zealand market and its geographical separation from
the global markets
T13
Poor image of the construction industry: Declining productivity
performance, cost overruns, poor procurement practice, low levels of
innovation
DBH (2009);
Davis (2008),
CIC (2012)
T14
Uncertainties in the global economy and property markets
Frei et al. (2013)
T15
Expected move towards paper-less documentation and processing in the
construction industry using electronic technology; use of government
electronic tendering system (GETS), a national portal for the online
application, tracking, processing and approving of building consents
national online building consenting process, BIM proficiency
requirement for public sector contracts
CIC (2012),
National Research Committee
16
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
T16
Ageing population of highly skilled QSs; career seekers showing little
interest in the profession, ostensibly due to general lack of awareness
T17
Prevailing era of inadequate design documentation, non-Code-compliant
designs and specifications; poor detailing and design errors
MBIE (2015b)
T18
Lack of national database on building and construction cost information
CIC (2012)
T19
Current liability framework which has created many dis-incentives for
the building and construction industry to optimally manage and bear risk,
especially the joint and several liability issues.
CIC (2012)
T20
Prevailing risk-averse nature of the construction clients, and strong
preference for lowest tender rather than best-value.
T21
Increasing emphasis on sustainable construction and a move to a
mandatory whole-of-life costing approach to public sector procurement
for all government and public sector procurement needs.
CIC (2012)
T22
Significant rise in “bureaucracy cost” of increased regulatory levels in
the industry (imposed nationally or applied locally in response to
systemic issues such as leaky buildings)
CIC (2012)
5.3. Areas for improvement in the QS services
Areas for improvement in the QS services (in the context of the NZIQS members) will be known after
the second stage empirical survey. Key stakeholders will prioritise the QS services and rate the
performance of QSs on a rating scale. Highly prioritised services in which QSs perform below
average will be the focus for improvement in their services. An Importance-Performance matrix chart
will be used for this purpose.
On the basis of the desktop survey, two streams of improvement are needed in the current and
evolving roles of the QS. As shown in Figure 1, the first involves consolidating and leveraging key
strengths to exploring priority opportunities in the business landscape. The second involves managing
critical weaknesses through minimising exposure to key threats and/ or working towards converting
these into strengths.
National Research Committee
17
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
5.4 Further improvement needed in the QSs’ services
To improve in their services and enhance their value delivery in the project development process,
additional insights are gleaned from the literature on what QSs should do. These are outlined as
follows.
1. Engage in lifelong learning: Dada and Jagboro (2012) argued that QSs need to continuously
engage in lifelong learning to keep abreast with rapid advances in technology and knowledge
that have profound impact on their current and evolving service offerings. Frei et al. (2013)
concurs with this by suggesting that QSs should constantly scan the external business
landscape to discern future directions that have critical impact on their businesses, and
formulate strategies to reposition themselves to embrace the changes as opportunities rather
than sit back and face the changes as threats. To this end, the NZIQS should consider
seriously the issue of compulsory CPDs for its members.
2. Diversifying portfolio of services: Durdyev and Mbachu (2012) observed that New Zealand
is a small market; to succeed, businesses need to have broad and diversified portfolio of
service offerings so as not to be caught up by vagaries in the business landscape, which often
diminish opportunities in certain areas of business, while raising prospects in other areas.
Though it is good to specialist in areas of key strengths, but including a number of other
service lines could help the Institute members stay in business when their current specialist
areas face recession.
3. Engaging in joint ventures: Hoxley et al. (2007) identified joint ventures as an avenue for
small firms to pull their resources together to handle bigger projects which would be difficult
for them to handle on individual basis. In doing this, they complement each other‟s strengths
Areas for
improvement in QS
services
Consolidate on key strengths
Manage critical weaknesses
Optimise and leverage key strengths
to exploring priority opportunities in
the business landscape
Minimise exposure to
critical threats
Convert to strengths
Figure 1: Strategic framework for managing areas for improvement in QS services
National Research Committee
18
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
in the key competencies and financial resources needed to successfully execute the big
projects.
4. Engage in foreign partnerships to explore foreign markets: Given the small size of the New
Zealand market and its geographical isolation from the big economies (DBH, 2009), New
Zealand businesses could grow by exploring regional markets through partnership with
players in those regions that have trading agreement with New Zealand. Australia and the rest
of Asia are great prospects for this purpose. By doing this, the local businesses gain
competitive strengths to competitive in the global markets.
CONCLUSIONS AND FURTHER ACTION
The desktop survey has provided part answers to the overarching research questions as sourced from
previous studies and publicly available information on the subject. Using the desktop survey findings
as starting point, the next stage empirical study will explore NZ-specific perspectives on the issues
which will be benchmarked with the desktop survey findings. The empirical study will involve three
stages of data gathering process as follows: At the qualitative data gathering stage, pilot interviews
will be held with 21 members of the target populations for the study who will be willing to grant
requests for in-depth interviews. These comprise 3 members each of clients, architects, engineers,
construction project manager, quantity surveyors, contractors and subcontractors in New Zealand who
are registered members of their various trade and professional organisations (i.e. the study sampling
frames): PINZ, NZIA, NZIOB, NZIQS, RMBF, ACENZ, and STCFNZ. The aim of the interviews is
to generate constructs for the design of a questionnaire. Constructs will include key stakeholders‟
feedback on the specific services performed by QSs in the new and refurbished project development
process. The pre-contract, construction and post-construction phase and specialist duties framework
provided in the QS Conditions of Engagement (NZIQS, 2013) and model provided by O‟Brien et al
(2014) will be a starting point for this aspect of the investigation.
Also feedback will be sought on the perceived weaknesses, strengths and improvements needed in the
services of quantity surveyors.
An open-ended questionnaire designed with the constructs will be pre-tested with another set of 7
members of the target populations. The essence will be to improve clarity of the questions and seek
any other amendments required to improve the design and appeal of the questionnaire in order to
enhance the survey response rate.
The quantitative data gathering stage will involve administering the questionnaire to the target
populations via the secretariats of the respective trade and professional organisations. Respondents
will rate the relative levels of importance of the QSs‟ service areas and their perceptions of
performance levels of QSs in those areas. They will also rate their levels of agreement/ disagreement
of the identified strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement in the QSs‟ services. Utility multi-
variate analysis (Cooper & Schindler, 2012) will be used to analyse group mean ratings of the
attributes. Kendall‟s Coefficient of Concordance (Elhag, et al., 2005) will be used to analyse
agreement/disagreement in the opinions of the various stakeholder groupings; e.g. how QSs‟ views
compare with those of other stakeholders. The questionnaire will be hosted online on the
SurveyMonkey website. Links will be provided in the email invitations so respondents could provide
feedback online.
The findings of the study will be validated via a focus group/ workshop organised with another select
members of the target populations. The purpose is for participants to make further comments or
National Research Committee
19
Mbachu, J. (2015), “Quantity Surveyors‟ Role in the Delivery of Construction Projects: A Review”,
Research Report (#1) submitted to the National Research Committee of the New Zealand Institute of
Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS), 25 September 2015,
http://construction.massey.ac.nz/NZIQS/Mbachu(2015)_Quantity-surveyors-role-in-project-
delivery.pdf
provide additional inputs into the issues being investigated and to suggest practical approach to real-
life application of the findings for the benefit of quantity surveyors in New Zealand.
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... Cost management advice offered by the quantity surveyor during the feasibility, design and construction stages of a project is important to all stakeholders involved in development (Nkado and Meyer, 2001). Regular communication between the design team members and the quantity surveyor is imperative (Maarouf and Habib, 2011) to produce accurately measured order of cost estimates and formal elemental cost plans pertaining to project cost (Mbachu, 2015 workshop process the project progresses into the construction/post-contract stage, the role of the quantity surveyor is to value employer's change ordersalso known as variations, i.e. design changes which impact upon overall project cost (Kirkham, 2007). Further duties can include assistance with claims management, producing life cycle cost estimates and agreeing to the final account for the project (Ashworth, 2014). ...
... Role of the quantity surveyor in the value management process Cost is always a focal point in any project (Mbachu, 2015) and is an important part of the value management process (Traykova and Rangelova, 2014). Kelly and Male (2006) noted that in the absence of a cost expert in the value management exercise, the outcome will not be a financial success. ...
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... The activities identified by Herman (2016) in each phase can be mapped with the stages (up to the construction) identified by Falls et al. (2010); Finnish Transport Agency (2010) and University of Brighton (2016) as indicated in Table 2. According to Herman (2016) and Mbachu (2015), the roles of QSs can be seen in five (05) different stages of construction development as shown in Table 3. (2015); Herman (2016) Technology, common sense and common knowledge regarding technical aspects of the project is highly appreciated in the role of QSs (Lau, 2013). QSs seek to minimise the costs of a project and enhance value for money, while still achieving the required standards and quality (Olubunmi et al., 2014). ...
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