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What is QS Estimating?

qs estimating

Qs estimating is the process of preparing a cost estimate for a construction project. It involves reading and interpreting architectural and engineering plans, designs, and specifications to determine the costs of the project.

Quantity surveyors also perform other tasks that help ensure a successful construction project. They are experts in uncovering opportunities to minimize costs and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Estimating Methods

A QS can estimate the cost of any project by using a variety of techniques. Estimating methods vary based on the needs of the project and the available data. Choosing the best estimation method for your situation can help you plan for the success of your project.

Top-down estimation is one of the most common project estimating techniques. It involves a broad look at your project and then breaking it down into smaller tasks. This method is ideal when there are many unknowns or if you want to provide a rough projection of the cost or timeline of your project.

Expert Judgment is another technique that allows a team of experts to make an estimate. This process takes into account the skills of the team members and the amount of experience they have with similar projects.

Analogous estimation is another type of project estimating method that compares similar projects to yours. This method can be useful if you have historical information on your current project or if you have a clear idea of how much time a similar project took to complete.

Bottom-up estimation is another method that can be used when you have more detailed information on the project’s scope. This method is more precise than the top-down estimate and can be helpful for mature projects.

However, this method can be more time-consuming than other techniques and may not work well for immature projects. Also, this method can be difficult to use if there are any changes to the project’s scope during the estimation.

Having an estimated budget is critical to the success of any project. This way, you can determine whether or not the project is feasible and profitable. It can also help you decide if it is worth pursuing.

In addition to a budget, it is important to include a buffer in your estimations. This way, you can handle any delays that may occur throughout the project. For example, if a member of your team takes a long leave or the testing doesn’t take as long as you expected it to, you can adjust your estimates accordingly.

Requirements for an Estimate

A well-researched estimate can be a crucial part of the success of a construction project. It will help the client and contractor decide whether or not to proceed with the project and provide them with a reasonable budget for the work.

A Quantity Surveyor (QS) is an expert in assessing the costs of building projects and will often be involved from the earliest stages of design. Their expertise can be particularly useful when a client is seeking an unusual design which may have a significant cost risk.

The estimate should be prepared using the correct estimating methods and include all key elements of the project. These include the drawings, materials, equipment, labor, and any additional requirements.

An estimator should also be aware of the different types of estimates that are available. This includes a preliminary cost estimate, a historical estimate, an elemental estimate, and a revised cost estimate.

Preliminary cost estimate – This is the most common type of estimate, and it is generally prepared in the early stages to help determine the cost of the project. It is usually based on a previous project. It can be a quick way to get a rough idea of the costs of a project without investing a lot of time or money.

Elemental Estimate – This method uses a more detailed set of drawings than the other estimates mentioned above. It requires more information, including wall elevations, structural frame, roof structure, ceilings, foundation cross sections, floor construction, and external works.

A QS will often be able to produce an accurate, detailed elemental estimating guide with measurement rules. This will save them a lot of time and effort and make it easier for them to prepare an accurate estimate.

A qs will also be able to find a cost-effective solution to any problems that may arise, working closely with the client and their architect. They will be able to ensure that the overall budget is still in line with the clients’ expectations, whilst striving to maintain the highest standards of finish possible.

Preparing the Estimate

Preparing an estimate is a process that requires a lot of time and attention. It includes preparing the project plan, preparing and allocating the cost of different parts of the project, making sure that the allocated cost is within the budget, and more.

Estimating is a very important part of any construction project. It enables the contractor to know the costs of their project before they actually start. It also helps in ensuring that the estimated cost is accurate and can be compared to the actual costs once the construction begins.

Quantity survey (QS) estimating involves the process of measuring and recording the cost of materials, equipment, and labor for a specific project. It can be a time-consuming and tedious process that requires the estimator to use spreadsheets or other costing applications to calculate quantities.

Traditionally, cost estimation starts with quantification – tallying components from printed drawings or 2D CAD drawings. These numbers are then converted into a price tag by using a variety of methods.

It is a time-intensive process that can be prone to human error and tends to propagate inaccuracies. It is therefore critical to verify the accuracy of your estimates and recheck them periodically to ensure they are valid.

For a better result, it is best to prepare an estimate for each phase of the project as this can help you in avoiding costly errors and delays. It can also improve your ability to make informed decisions about pricing, and it can increase your profitability.

In addition, it can help you in establishing realistic expectations and clear up contradictory assumptions, thereby saving your team and your clients time. It can also provide a basis for tracking performance and evaluating potential corrections to your estimating models.

It is essential to validate and review your estimate regularly, especially after significant changes have occurred in the work. This step ensures that your estimate remains true to its initial purpose, is not biased by any current or past issues, and that it remains relevant to future projects. It also allows you to identify potential risks and control them, thereby preventing unnecessary costs or delays.

Finalizing the Estimate

The final estimate should be an accurate and complete representation of all costs that are necessary to deliver the project. This means that it should contain the cost of the main contract or material, labour and supervision, land, engineering fees, miscellaneous and all other costs associated with the work.

It should also include a breakdown of the costs involved in each task or section. This is essential to make sure that the client has a clear and comprehensive picture of how you arrived at each figure.

This will ensure that they are aware of what is included in the cost and if they are not, it will provide them with a good opportunity to ask questions before the job starts. It will also help to improve communication with the client and keep them informed of progress during the build.

As a project is underway, it is essential that all changes and additions to the scope of work are noted and recorded in the basis of estimate (BOE). This will allow you to identify any discrepancies, clarify areas where you may have made a mistake, and enable you to identify opportunities to reduce costs or avoid them altogether.

If any items are not covered within the BOE, a revised estimate should be prepared which will incorporate the new information and will be presented to the client. This will then be signed and approved before moving onto the next phase of the project.

The final estimate should also be accompanied by a comparative statement which will indicate any price fluctuation that has taken place. This will also allow you to identify any costs that have risen above the original estimate that may need to be recalculated and re-estimated.

A QS should always be involved from the earliest stages of any building project, ensuring that the budget is kept within reach whilst striving to achieve the highest quality possible for the project. As a result, if any issues arise during the project, they are able to swiftly and cost effectively solve them, liaising with the architect as needed to ensure that they can be minimised or avoided entirely.