If you attend an interview as a Quantity Surveyor, it’s important you know if the role you’re applying for is a contractor QS or a consultant QS (also known as PQS which stands for Professional or Private Quantity Surveyor). In this article we’re going to be exploring the key differences between the two, helping you to better understand which role best suites you for your career as a QS.
We’ll start off by looking at the lifecycle of a construction project and where each type of Quantity Surveyor enters the project.
1. The first step is a client deciding they would like a construction project carried out. They’ll decide what their requirements are for a project, how much they are willing to spend, and if necessary, when the project will need to be completed by
2. The Client will then employ consultancies who will advise on the design and cost of a project. This is where the PQS will come in, who will work with the design team to produce a project budget based on the clients requirements
3. Once a suitable design is complete, the PQS will start to prepare a tender enquiry package. This will include all the relevant documents required for contractors to submit their tender for the works. It’s likely this enquiry package will include a Bill of Quantities which the PQS will produce by carrying out a construction takeoff
4. Once the tender enquiries have been sent out, contractors who would like to tender for the works, will review the enquiry documents, state their intent to tender and formalise a bid with their price for the works. Typically this is carried out by a bid team with estimators. However, the contractor QS maybe get involved at this stage to help with the pricing element
5. The PQS will then need to review all tenders, ensuring each price is reasonable and give their recommendation to the client which contractor will provide the best value for money
6. Once a contractor has been appointed they will usually then appoint their own QS who will aim to maximise profit and cashflow
So now we know when the QS’s are introduced to a project life cycle let’s directly compare some of the differences between the two.
A PQS or Consultant QS is concerned with the control of cost on a project. Activities range from cost planning, value engineering, feasibility studies, cost benefit analysis, valuation and cost estimation. During the construction phase, the PQS will be responsible for assessing the monthly valuation carried out by the contractor. Ensuring acceptable value due to the contractor is paid and unacceptable value is withheld. They will also be responsible for assessing any variations submitted by the contractor, ensuring the claims are reasonable.
A contractor QS will be responsible for maximising cash flow and ensuring the project stays within budget. This will be accomplished by successful management of subcontractors, timely notification of issues on site and subsequently variations, accurate valuations of work and keeping on top of the project financials through monthly Cost Value Reconciliation (CVR).
Why not check out our video on the subject: