Hong Kong Quantity Surveyors and Mainland Cost Engineers 香港工料測量師及內地造價工程師

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18/2/2023: Updated.

11/3/2020: Updated.

20/12/2014: Moved from wiki.

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Quantity Surveyor

  • Is a construction cost and contract consultant.
  • Originated in Britain as a profession.
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Nicknames of Quantity Surveyor

  • cost engineer” as used in the mainland China and the USA.
  • construction cost manager” to recognize his expertise in managing construction costs.
  • construction contract specialist” to recognize his expertise in understanding the law of contracts, the standard forms of construction contracts, and giving advice accordingly to other project team members.
  • construction economist” to recognize his expertise in understanding construction cost factors, variables, and impacts.
  • risks manager” to recognize his ability to draft contract and cost clauses to present the risks clearly to help tenderers submit adequate prices, and reduce post contract surprise claims and disputes.
  • lubricant” (my own invention) to recognize his skill in providing fair and reasonable cost and contractual advice to resolve deadlocks which may exist between other project team members on opposite sides of the table.
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Professional Bodies which include Quantity Surveyors and Cost Engineers (or their Professional Bodies) as Professional Members (not exhaustive)

  1. The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS)
  2. Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS)
  3. Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACE)
  4. Association of Cost Engineers (ACostE)
  5. Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS)
  6. Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)
  7. Brazilian Institute of Cost Engineers (IBEC)
  8. Building Surveyors Institute of Japan (BSIJ)
  9. Canadian Association of Consulting Quantity Surveyors (CACQS)
  10. Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS)
  11. Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  12. Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)
  13. China Cost Engineering Association (CCEA)
  14. Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE)
  15. Conseil Européen des Economistes de la Construction (CEEC)
  16. Consejo General de la Arquitectura Técnica de España (CGATE)
  17. Dutch Association of Quantity Surveyors (NVBK)
  18. European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA)
  19. Fédération Internationale des Géomètres (FIG)
  20. Fiji Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FIQS)
  21. Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS)
  22. Ikatan Quantity Surveyor Indonesia (IQSI)
  23. Indian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (IIQS)
  24. Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  25. Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK)
  26. Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka (IQSSL)
  27. Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  28. Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK)
  29. Institution of Surveyors of Uganda (ISU)
  30. International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC)
  31. Italian Association for Total Cost Management (AICE)
  32. Korean Institution of Quantity Surveyors (KIQS)
  33. Fachverein für Management und Ökonomie im Bauwesen (maneco)
  34. New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS)
  35. Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS)
  36. Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS)
  37. Philippine Institute of Certified Quantity Surveyors (PICQS)
  38. Property Institute of New Zealand (PINZ)
  39. Real Estate Institute of Botswana (REIB) Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  40. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  41. Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM)
  42. Singapore Institute of Building Limited (SIBL)
  43. Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV)
  44. Sociedad Mexicana de Ingeniería Económica, Financiera y de Costos (SMIEFC)
  45. Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)
  46. Union Nationale des Economistes de la Construction (UNTEC)
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Major Types of Employers of Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong香港顧問工料測量師的主要僱主類別

  • Consultant quantity surveying practices工料測量顧問公司(as directors, partners, or quantity surveyors of different grades).
  • Contractors 承建商(as directors, commercial managers, contract managers, quantity surveying managers, or quantity surveyors of different grades).
  • Government, quasi-government organizations, and tertiary educational institutions 政府、半官方機構、大專院校(as directors, project managers, or quantity surveyors of different grades).
  • Developers 發展商(as directors, project managers, and monitoring quantity surveyors of different grades).
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Major Scope of Services of Consultant Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong香港顧問工料測量師的主要服務範圍

  • Preparation of pre-construction cost estimates.
  • Cost planning during the design stage.
  • Preparation of tender documents.
  • Pre-qualification of tenderers.
  • Tender analysis.
  • Tender negotiation.
  • Contract award.
  • Preparation of contract documents.
  • Checking of insurance policies and performance bonds.
  • Valuation of progress payment applications.
  • Cost monitoring during the construction stage.
  • Valuation of amounts of variations and claims.
  • Negotiation and agreement of final accounts.
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Specialized Services of Some Consultant Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong香港某些顧問工料測量師的特別服務範圍

  • Claims consultancy.
  • Dispute resolution advisory, mediation and arbitration.
  • Insurance loss adjustments.
  • Facilities management.
  • Value management.
  • Partnering facilitation.
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Areas of Specialization as written by HKIS

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Characteristics of Consultant Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong香港顧問工料測量師的特色

  • Full services from inception of project to completion of construction and defects rectification.
  • Now extending to post completion maintenance until redevelopment.
  • Dynamic management with constant review and updating.
  • Cost and contract management of various kinds.
  • Self-regulated by professional bodies.
  • No Government control, though there is a Surveyors Registration Ordinance.
  • Mainly handling contracts with Bills of Quantities, but also contracts without Bills of Quantities.
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Major Scope of Services of Contractor Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong香港承建商的工料測量師的主要服務範圍

  • Similar to that described for Consultant Quantity Surveyors but starting from the tender stage.
  • Essentially commercial and contract management for the contractors.
  • Dealing with upstream clients and consultants.
  • Dealing with downstream sub-contractors, suppliers and workers.
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Surveyors Registration Ordinance

  • There is a Surveyors Registration Ordinance with a Surveyors Registration Board set up to register professional surveyors.
  • Surveyors so registered are entitled to be called “Registered Professional Surveyors” such as “Registered Professional Surveyors (Quantity Surveying)”.
  • Such title is required for undertaking outsourced Government projects but is not mandatory for civil servants or working on private projects.
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Getting professionally qualified

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Training Path of a Typical Consultant Quantity Surveyor

  • Join a consultant quantity surveying practice.
  • Check the arithmetic of calculations done by others.
  • Measure quantities for approximate cost estimates, bills of quantities, variations, and remeasurement.
  • Get to know the Standard Method of Measurement better throughout the process.
  • Get to know the geometric forms and names of the components making up the whole construction.
  • Draft bills of quantities for editing by the senior.
  • Participate in counter-checking the measurement done by team members.
  • Assist in monthly valuation of contractors’ payments.
  • Visit the site for the purposes of doing the valuation.
  • Assist in preparing monthly financial reports.
  • Accompany the senior to attend pre-contract design meeting or post contract site meetings.
  • Price the variations and remeasurement.
  • Price the approximate cost estimates and the bills of quantities.
  • Agree final accounts with the contractors.
  • Assist to prepare the comparison tables attached to tender reports.
  • Assist to checking the typo corrections of tender documents drafted by the senior.
  • Assist to draft tender documents.
  • Assist to comment on insurance policies and bonds.
  • Attend meetings independently.
  • Give advice on tendering procedure, contractual arrangement and choices of contract clauses.
  • Draft tender documents independently.
  • Interview tenderers.
  • Prepare tender reports independently.
  • Supervise assistants.
  • Perform independently.
  • Continue to give advice on post contract contractual issues.
  • Help avoid and resolve disputes.
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Personal Attributes

  • Fair and reasonable – While Consultant Quantity Surveyors are engaged by their clients to protect the clients’ interest under the construction contract, they also have a duty under the construction contracts to act fairly and reasonably. Being fair and reasonable can in fact avoid unnecessary disputes under the construction contracts.
  • Integrity – Quantity Surveyors are dealing with money though no money is actually passing through him. However, any corruptive act would mean a huge sum of money lost by the clients or contractor-employers. Quantity Surveyors must serve with the highest degree of integrity.
  • Patience and persistence – Quantity Surveyors need to spend a long period of time to measure the quantities required for bills of quantities time and again. This would need patience and persistence to the task. Quantity Surveyors have to negotiate with contractors over contractual and monetary claims. Differences in opinions can lead to heated arguments. Patience is again very important.
  • Attention to details – Quantity Surveyors must be accurate in his words and cost figures. Great attention to details to ensure error free is a must. Self-checking and cross-checking are both essential.

(updated, 18/2/2023)

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Core Skill-sets Required

  • Construction technology - Good knowledge of construction technology is the foundation stone of any surveyors.
  • Building services – While traditionally cost management of building services is handled by the building services engineers, for over 3 decades in Hong Kong Quantity Surveyors have already been providing measurement and cost management services for building services. Therefore a good knowledge of building services is also required.
  • Mathematics – Daily life mathematics is enough. Use of calculus is rare.
  • 3-D visualization – Quantity Surveyors should be able to visualize the 3-dimensional geometry based on 2-dimensional drawings.
  • Measurement – Good measurement knowledge and skill are the next higher level of foundation stone of Quantity Surveyors.
  • Language – Quantity Surveyors have to read many documents ranging from Standard Method of Measurement, Specifications, Forms of Contract, legal textbooks, occasionally case laws, insurance policies and bonds. Quantity Surveyors have to draft terms and conditions into the tender documents for construction contracts and loopholes must be avoided. Consultant Quantity Surveyors have to write to advise their clients and other members of the consultant teams. Contractors’ Quantity Surveyors must also be able to write properly to put forward the Contractors’ case. The language skills of Quantity Surveyors must be high in order to rise up the career ladder.
  • Use of computers and software – Quantity Surveyors have to know how to use the usual office automation software with proficiency.
  • Site visit – Quantity Surveyors should like to go to site periodically.

(updated, 18/2/2023)

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Valued Added Skill-sets

  • Building Information Modelling – This is an important technology which must be learned and used by the present-day construction related professionals. Some Quantity Surveyors have developed special interest to realise the potential of BIM for Quantity Surveyors.
  • Software programming skills – While the majority of Quantity Surveyors do not have the need and therefore the aptitude to possess software programming skills, better use of BIM requires the knowledge to write scripts or programmes.
  • Digital transformation – Transforming and running the business work flow and deliverables in digital mode are the upcoming trend of all business sectors. Quantity Surveyors cannot fall behind.
  • Carbon emission reduction – Calculating carbon emissions and formulating carbon emission reduction measures will be the required upcoming skills of Quantity Surveyors.

(updated, 18/2/2023)

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Types of Projects Involved

  • Public sector works and private sector works
  • Building and civil engineering works
  • New build, maintenance, alterations and additions, and renovation
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  • Good Quantity Surveyors are always in good demand both by consultant quantity surveying practices and contractors and even big sub-contractors.
  • When the economy is booming with many new-build projects, Quantity Surveyors have to work a lot of overtime throughout the year. However, working overtime is common amongst the construction related professionals. The extent of overtime worked by Quantity Surveyors is not the worst as compared to other professions.
  • When the economy is bad, new-build projects will be less but people would spend money in maintenance, alterations and additions, and renovation. Final accounts for completed new-build projects are still to be settled. These offer a cushioning effect over the possible redundancy of Quantity Surveyors. Over the years with many recessions, Quantity Surveyors are less hard hit as compared with other construction related professionals.
  • Quantity Surveyors working for contractors will have higher pay.
  • Quantity Surveying graduates tend to choose to work for consultant quantity surveying practices first at a lower pay in order to gain training experience for the Assessment of Professional Competence. After getting qualified, they would have more choices.
  • In good times, consultant quantity surveying practices offer overtime pay. In the best time (not in recent years), the basic salary can become doubled.
  • Qualified Quantity Surveyors working for Government are on the same pay scale as other construction related professionals.
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Where is the satisfaction?

  • Winning the trust of clients, being consulted frequently.
  • Problems solved.
  • Proper monitoring of prices, without unpleasant surprises to the clients.
  • Moving projects ahead to get through tendering.
  • Considered fair and reasonable by both the clients and the contractors.
  • Seeing projects constructed successfully.
  • Closing final accounts to all parties’ satisfaction.
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Traditional Scope of Services of Cost Engineering Consultants in Mainland China (before 1990)內地造價工程咨詢單位的傳統工作範圍(1990年前)

  • Preparation of pre-construction cost estimates, tender drawing cost estimates and final accounts, and usually as separate services.
  • Pre-construction cost estimates are done one or twice only, not following through the whole design stage.
  • Not providing contract advisory services.
  • Tender drawing cost estimates are usually for the client's reference for tender negotiation, not for tendering purposes and usually are subject to remeasurement when settling the final accounts.
  • Not providing contract advisory services.
  • Not significantly involved in the tendering stage.
  • Not significantly involved in the construction stage.
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Recent Scope of Services of Cost Engineering Consultants in Mainland China內地造價工程咨詢單位的近年的工作範圍

  • Evolving progressively to provide full scope of services like Quantity Surveyors.
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  • Same profession:
    • Local
    • Other provinces
    • Foreign countries.
  • Other professions:
    • In-house employers of developers
    • Other professions within the same industry or outside.
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Measures to Compete with Others克服競爭對手的手法

  • Government policies, qualification requirements, tax - only applicable to the mainland China:
    政策、資質、稅收 - 只適用於內地
    • against: other provinces, foreign countries.
  • Customary practice, alliance, attachment - applicable to the mainland China:
    慣例、掛鈎、掛靠 - 適用於內地
    • against: local.
  • Capability, service contents, lower prices, integrity.

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