Particularly in Europe, many countries such as Spain and Ireland have undergone quite severe corrections to their property markets. As a result, precautions taken during the assessment phase of a construction project to adequately determine an accurate budget and schedule are extremely important. This has meant the role of quantity surveying companies has taken on an even greater responsibility.
The accuracy with which a quantity surveying company can determine the cost of materials required for a construction project directly affects how successful a project is. In times where credit flows are limited and the true value of property is unclear, margins on building projects are far more constrained. Any oversight in the budget and schedule projection phase can result in those margins being squeezed even further. Such an oversight could mean that a developer has to wait longer to recoup enough of their investment before they can begin a new development.
Government austerity programs and reduced tax takings mean that local and national authority projects have even less flexibility in terms of accommodating overlooked cost or materials factors. The responsibility of quantity surveying companies is greatly increased.
Beyond the primary task of determining material quantities and costs for a construction project there are a range of further responsibilities and services covered by quantity surveying companies. Mechanical and electrical cost management is an area that many quantity surveyors chose to specialise in. The fluctuating cost of the materials involved such as copper means that electrical and mechanical components of a construction project need particular attention to ensure they stay under control, in budget and on time.
Factors such as elevators and sprinkler systems require a degree of specialist knowledge in order to understand how they will impact the cost of a construction project.
Comprehensive health and safety legislation also means that quantity surveying companies can have a greater role in determining the cost of compliance with such legislation. Their comprehensive knowledge of health and safety law means they can also advise clients on measures to take in order to reduce costs and liability. In countries like Ireland recent property bubble collapses have resulted in a large number of ghost estates and other unfinished construction projects. The nature of these sites means they are difficult to manage, have little oversight and as such have the potential to be an enormous health and safety liability. Quantity surveying companies can evaluate these sites and advise clients managing them on potential costs of securing them and appropriate steps to be taken.
The knowledge and expertise gained by quantity surveyors in the organisation of construction projects put them in an ideal situation to operate highly effectively as managers of construction projects. The contacts and partners they work with and the networks they operate in mean that quantity surveyors can efficiently bring together the resources required to see a construction project through to completion.
The current economic climate has also contributed to an increase in the number of distressed construction projects. The expertise that quantity surveying companies develop in assessing the cost of construction projects provides them with the requisite knowledge and skills to bring a distressed project back within a reasonable budget and time frame or very quickly determine if the project should be halted and assets liquidated.