If you don’t think hiring a quantity surveyor to carry out on-site valuations is important, simply Imagine the following scenario:
Having reached a critical point in your latest construction project, the building contractor you hired decides to pick up their tools and head to another job, leaving the work unfinished.
The worst part?
You’ve already paid them in advance for work that isn’t yet completed.
It sounds like a nightmare situation doesn’t it?
It is, but for many of my previous clients, that nightmare was all too real.
I kid you not, throughout the many years that I’ve been running my construction consultancy, I’ve lost count of the number of phone calls I’ve taken from clients who are facing this exact dilemma.
To help those clients, I’d visit the site and assess the value of the work already completed, including any variations from the original tender document, and then serve as a sort of mediator, helping both client and contractor negotiate a solution that works for both parties.
Sure, that’s one way to make sure the work gets done and everyone’s happy, but it’s far from the most effective and is normally a tactic I only rely on as a last resort.
In fact, this precise scenario is exactly the reason why I recommend hiring a quantity surveyor right at the start of a project and tasking them with providing regular, ongoing valuations.
After all, most clients simply can’t afford to pay over the odds for project variations, nor can they -or should they- pay for work that isn’t completed.
For you as a contractor, site valuations are equally as important.
Ongoing payments often form your main source of income, so it’s as vital that you’re paid accurately and fairly for each stage of the project that is actually completed.
In case it still isn’t entirely clear, let’s take a closer look at what a quantity surveyor actually does.
What is Involved in an On-Site Valuation?
A qualified quantity surveyor visits your site on a regular basis (often monthly) to evaluate the work in progress.
Typically, this involves taking physical measurements of the development itself. They also make a record of all the materials that have been delivered to the site so far, including the size and quantity of those materials.
They will use these measurements to determine the cost of the completed work and arrange for the appropriate stage payment to be made to the contractor.
This ensures that clients pay only for the work that has already been completed whilst contractors are guaranteed timely and accurate payments for their work.
What About Variations?
Variations are frequently an inevitable part of the construction process and can occur for so many different reasons that it would be impossible to list them all here.
To keep costs manageable, it is essential that all variations are assessed as they arise, and that both client and contractor agree on a fixed price for carrying out the work required in advance.
An experienced quantity surveyor will also help with this.
They’ll be able to evaluate what work needs to be done and how much that work is going to cost before adding the agreed fee to a contractor’s monthly stage payment.
The end result, of course, is satisfied parties on all sides:
The contractor gets paid for the work completed whilst having plenty of incentive to see the job through to the end, whilst the client receives a finished project, minimal disputes, and maximum value for money.