Quantity surveyor pros and cons

A Quantity Surveyor is a person who estimates the cost of the materials and labour necessary for a construction project. Quantity surveyors manage the costs and help to ensure that the project is completed within its projected budget.  They are mostly associated with large scale construction projects, however, appointing a quantity surveyor or estimator for your self-build project can be extremely beneficial.


Having a Bill of Quantities gives you a solid and reliable starting point. You will have realistic and achievable budgets before you start. Any loans taken out on the project will reflect the true cost as well as the project’s value. If you decide to go to tender, you can ask the building contractors to price against the schedule of works for comparison.

Although not routinely used in domestic projects, a quantity surveyor can save you money. If a design goes into planning and out to tender with out that extra layer of cost checking, there is more chance of going over budget. Having a report from the beginning reduces that risk significantly. Client aspirations are matched to the budget early on, and changes can be made to the specification if necessary.


Nevertheless, traditional quantity surveyors can be difficult to work with. A self-builder with little or no experience of construction could find themselves baffled by the terminology and language used in a typical BOQ. When terminology or phrases are misunderstood, there can be mix ups on orders as a result.

As mentioned above, Quantity Surveyors are more commonly used on large scale commercial projects. They can carry this large-scale mentality over onto a small-scale domestic project. They can overestimate wastage, labour rates and the specification of certain materials.

And finally, whilst a Quantity Surveyor can offer a wide range of cost planning services, they do demand a significant fee. Most will base costs on the value of the project and ask for a percentage. For instance, a 2% fee on a £300,000 new build equates to £6000. Which might just be the difference between the kitchen you love or an ‘off the shelf’ one!

In conclusion, its best to shop around and look for alternative options to a typical QS. There are other companies out there, like ourselves, that don’t base fees on a percentage of the build cost. Take a look at our packages and rates or get in contact for a Free No Obligation quote of your plans!

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