24 Quantity Surveyor Terms You Need To Know

When starting Quantity Surveying it can feel like everyone is speaking a different language. With lots of new terms and acronyms, you may struggle to talk confidently in your job without feeling that you’re saying something silly like “what does an AFP stand for”? Of course, this question isn’t silly at all, everyone must learn these words somewhere. For that reason, we’ve created this article to act as a concise glossary containing the most common QS terms & acronyms, we’ve heard throughout our QS career. Here’s 24 Quantity Surveying terms you need to know.

We’ve tried to keep the definitions in this article as concise as possible. Therefore, you may want to carry out additional research. You’ll find that some of these terms have dedicated videos on our channel. We’ve highlighted each term red, which has a corresponding video and left a link at the bottom of this blog.

CVR – Cost Value Reconciliation – Gives you an ongoing account of a contract’s profitability by measuring cost against value at different points in a contract’s lifecycle, right through to completion

AFP – Application for Payment – refers to a request for interim payment, or complete payment, by a contractor or a subcontractor in the construction industry

VOWD – Value of work to date – a project management technique for measuring and estimating the project cost at a point in time

Variation – An alteration to the scope of work originally specified in the contract, whether by way of an addition, omission, or substitution to the works, or through a change to the manner in which the works are to be carried out

Notification – Official form of communication used between parties to notify the other of items such as payment, queries, warnings, change, defects, extension of time & final accounts

Final Account – The conclusion of the contract sum (including all necessary adjustments) and signifies the agreed amount that the employer will pay the contractor

Tender – A submission made by a prospective supplier in response to an invitation to tender. It makes an offer for the supply of goods or services

Scope/ Works Information – a general description of the work that is expected to be performed under a particular contract

Detailed Design –the phase where the design is refined and plans, specifications and estimates are created

Liability – In its broadest sense, the word ‘liability’ refers to a responsibility placed on someone, or something that places them at a disadvantage. For example, responsibility for the design or responsibility to pay a company money

Credit note – Reduces the amount owed on the invoice document

Vesting Certificate – An agreement for construction goods, plant or materials, in letter form, used to confirm that ownership of the goods, plant or materials will transfer from one party to another on payment

Retention – A percentage (usually up to 5% of the contract sum) of each payment made under a construction contract which is withheld in order to try and ensure that works under the construction contract are completed to the required standard

Take Off – The term ‘taking off’ refers to the process of identifying elements of construction works that can be measured and priced

Float – The total extra time, beyond what the contractor actually needs, which is typically included at the end of its construction programme

Forecast – Anticipated future spend on a project based on evidence and/or assumptions

Accrual – Value of work completed but not yet charged

ECI – Early Contractor Involvement – act of involving the principal contractor during early stages of design for professional input

NEC, JCT & FIDIC – These are different types of construction contract providers. See our playlists for more details

RICS, CICES & CIOB – These are different types of chartership institutions

BoQ – Bill of Quantities – A document used in tendering in the construction industry in which materials, parts, and labour are itemised

Specification – A well-structured, detailed description of the quality, standards, workmanship, materials, and completion of work to be done which evolves across a project

BCIS – Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – described by RICS as ‘the leading provider of cost and price information to the construction industry and anyone else who needs comprehensive, accurate and independent data

Cost Code – used to separate cost into specific categories

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