Quantity Surveying & Building Surveys
‘When you buy on price, you can never be sure. It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little.
When you pay too much you lose a little money — that’s all. But when you pay too little you sometimes will lose everything, because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is as well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do this, you will have enough to buy quality.’
Ruskin. Circa: 1895
Dear Builder or Property Owner,
the above quote by the social critic John Ruskin is a quote that is worth remembering when making a choice based on price. I’ll keep this here as a reminder should I forget. So, what does a Quantity Surveyor do? well basically saves you money, not by buying the cheapest but by managing the financial costs of a construction project in detail.
If are you are looking for a Quantity Surveyor or a Building Surveyor? my experience is extensive, with over 40 years in the construction industry, over 30 years as a Chartered Surveyor, 25 years owning my own building and renovation construction company carrying out new builds, extensions, conversions, and structural repairs. I have also surveyed, specified, and managed repairs to hundreds of defective properties, often for insurance companies and with subsidence and other problems. I keep fully up to-date and maintain my continuing professional development with the RICS.
Stephen Hodgson BSc, MRICS
Quantity Surveyor & Estimator
I prepare Bills of Quantities and Building Estimates for construction projects for clients/ property owners and builders/ developers. This involves describing and taking-off (measuring) from drawings the work content of the project and presenting the information into a priceable contract document called a Bill of Quantities. I use the latest digitised software. Clients can take the lead in what they want to be priced. Builders can quote for the work exactly to the client’s requirements. Developers and self-builders must have a Bill of Quantities for budgeting and loan applications. A Bill of Quantities comprises hundreds of work items which can be priced in detail. This enables detailed comparison when in receipt of multiple quotes. After awarding a project, variations can be compared with the Bill of Quantities. Increases or decreases in the quantities can be measured and rates can be used to price variations.
Having a Bill of Quantities is vital for any builder or developer. It allows for building up prices containing labour, materials and plant calculations. My system can analyse and filter every aspect of the job and create enquiries for sending out to suppliers.
I also price the items in the Bill, either to provide target costings for budgeting, actual tendering, or this can be done by the builder. The pricing has detailed calculations for labour, plant, material, subcontractors, PC and provisional sums. The client may need a predicted cost for the project. Clients can then make better informed comparisons of tenders and flag up pricing errors. The estimating information produced is perfect for project management, it is invaluable for programming and resource management. Amendments and Variations to the Bill of Quantities can be made and the project cost forecast to the end with certainty. A Bill of Quantities makes agreeing monthly progress payments straight forward and prevents any overpayment.
A main cause of clients going over budget and builders losing money is the lack of a proper Bill and Estimate. Builders often provide “one line” quotes to the client. The result is lots of financial risk and uncertainty for both the client and the builder and the inevitable cost overrun. Every job has variations, so it is vital to know how much all the individual work items cost, otherwise how can you agree the cost variation of that change to the project? Clients usually have a limited budget, and to find the budget being overrun can be traumatic and have serious implications for completing the project.
- Clients Unpriced or Priced Bills of Quantities for Tendering
- Builders Bills of Quantities Unpriced for Own Estimating or with Analytical Estimating
- Design and Build Budgets
- Self-Build Cost Estimates and for Loan Applications
- Project Cost Forecasting
- Supplier Enquiries
- Project Programming
RICS Building & Structural Surveys
Have your new property surveyed with an experienced eye. I can flag up important issues that should be a concern to a home buyer and that may affect the value. My reports are in depth, technical and easy to understand. They focus on defects that will require repair and defects that are relatively benign that may concern you and it is bespoke and not just a box ticking exercise. The report will not state the obvious, e.g. the window frames need painting. I spend time at the property looking at any potential or current issues that are critical, and I am available for help on the phone or by email at all times. I include many annotated photograph’s. I will survey the property using a problem checker list, and you will get a copy.
I uniquely work with plans for new build and refurbishment of old properties and therefore have a current working knowledge of how they can be upgraded and extended to modern standards. I can also help with your plans for structural alterations or extensions,
As a Quantity Surveyor I can provide cost estimates for repairs or work that have some substance. Should you need a more detailed cost breakdown to help with any negotiations I can supply that also, not just a rounded total,
I also have a keen interest in the protection of historic buildings and a member of SPAB. My speciality is subsidence and structural movement, an industry I previously worked in for 25 years.
I carry out most types of survey from condition reports, commercial building surveys, snagging surveys of new homes, building defect survey, create repair schedules with specifications, dilapidations survey, home buyers condition survey, full structural or building survey.
will carry out a visual inspection and provide a written and photographic report. A “visual” means I will not lift, move, or destructively test anything within the property. will inspect the inside and outside of the main building, grounds, trees, and all permanent outbuildings, making notes of any defects, poorly constructed work, work not in accordance with building regulations, and structural issues, which are either major or minor. will use various equipment such as a laser level, plumb level, thermo damp-meter, binoculars, inspection lamp, metal detectors and ladders to access flat roofs which are no higher than 3 metres from ground level. Lofts will also be accessed on the inspection if it is safe to do so, providing the hatch is accessible from a collapsible surveyor’s ladder. Whilst commenting on the condition of all walls, floors, ceilings and structures throughout the property, gas, electrical, plumbing, boilers, heating systems and drainage runs must be checked by the qualified body, e.g., a certified electrician and gas safe engineer. Health risks such as from Radon, local landfill and flooding should be researched separately via local agencies and your solicitors as on a practical level I will only be looking at the current condition of the property. With regards to the structure of a property, I will comment on previous alterations and areas of concern which are showing signs of distress, and if I feel that there are any serious structural problems, I may refer you to another specialist. I will particularly comment on cracks, movement, and subsidence issues and whether these warrant further investigation. I will make recommendations for any potential remedial work including the likely cost of repair. If you have further question afterwards then I will be happy to respond. If you need advice on any proposed improvements, then I will look into these for you at the time of the survey.
“BEST SURVEY I HAVE EVER HAD FROM OVER 20 HOUSE PURCHASES IN MY LIFE. It was very refreshing to get a surveyor that not only is prepared to get his hands dirty, but also to cover the property in-depth, and backed up in my case (two bedroomed bungalow) with 42 photographs. Stephen was able to produce drawings for some alternative ideas I had, and to have a thoughtful email discussion over them until I was sure I knew what I wanted to do. He was on holiday when I requested my survey and took the time to answer my initial queries and set up a survey date while still away. It’s not often that I feel I have had value for money on a survey.”
The price for a building survey comprising an onsite survey for a small property, and followed by a written report is from £375 or with no report from £250. Email your property details and l will confirm a price and availability and arrange everything. If you have specific concerns, send me a list for looking at. If you send me images of a problem I may be able to help you remotely for a small fee.
I provide a personal service so your welcome to come into my office for a discussion.
Expert Witness & Dispute Resolution
Disputes can arise between homeowners, builders and subcontractors. This may be due to disagreements over the cost of the work, workmanship or about the contract between the parties. I have considerable experience in settling disputes and arguments, offering preaction protocol advice.
If you have got into a dispute, are being penalised financially by the other party, and need some help, then an RICS construction professional can liberate the problem by finding a way forward and analysing the situation. You can often lose sight of the real issues and bringing in someone independent with detachment can better find a practical solution. I can dig into the facts of the dispute, comment on workmanship, resolve valuation or contractural and legal issues often before it goes to court.
Lawyers will often employ an expert witness, just like me, so why not start here and at much lower cost. I cannot guarantee avoiding the use of an expensive lawyer, as they can be vital to bring about the final result and argue the legalities, but you cannot lose by starting with an industry professional, as the information I provide will always be essential to any legal process.
Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality
My contract with all customers is that the information you provide will never be shared with anyone else, and their will be no conflicts of interest. I will declare to builders who else I am working for to prevent any conflicts of interest. I will not work on the same estimate for more than one builder. A copy of my freelance terms and conditions, which includes full confidentiality clauses is available on request.
Please send your project details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Based in Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 and usually working in the Peak District, Bakewell, Wirksworth, Ashbourne, Chesterfield, Alfreton and Surrounding Areas.
- Bills of Quantities
- Construction Estimating
- Construction Budgets
- Resource Requirements
- Interim Valuations & Final Accounts
- Cost Value Reconciliation
- Dispute Adjudication & Expert Witness
- Full Structural Surveys
- RICS level 3 Survey
- Home Buyer Surveys
- Building Surveying
- Prelet Condition Survey
- Building Consultancy
- 45 years with Builders, Subcontractors and Main Contractors
- Property development
- Private homes
- New builds
- Barn conversions
- Subsided Properties
- Structural & specialist works
- JCT Contracts
- SMM6 and 7, NRM2 standard Methods of Measurement
- Bills of Quantity Creation & Estimating Software
- Digital Plan Take Off Software
- Cloud based Estimating Software with Live Pricies
- MS Project Planning
- Building Cost Information Service pricing libraries
- Laser Level and Plumb
- Borescope Cavity Inspection
- Protimeter Moisture Detection
- Metal Detection
- RICS data and libraries
When negotiating a building job with a single builder you can present your builder with an unpriced bill of quantities to price from, a take off, prelims, your own…