Chartered Quantity Surveyor & Building Surveys
based in Matlock, Derbyshire
‘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
the above quote by the well-known social critic John Ruskin is a quote that everyone should always try to remember 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 I save you money, not by buying the cheapest but by analysing the work in a construction project in detail.
If are you are looking for a Quantity Surveyor or in need of a Building Survey? my experience is extensive, 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 surveyed, estimated, specified and organised repairs to hundreds of properties, often for insurance companies with subsidence and other problems. I have a thorough understanding of construction, materials and the technical issues of buildings and structures.
Stephen Hodgson BSc MRICS
Bills of Quantities and Estimating for Builders and Property Owners
I prepare Bills of Quantities and Building Estimates for construction projects for both property owners and builders. This involves describing, taking-off (measuring from drawings) the work content of the project from the drawings, and presenting the information into a priceable contract document called a Bill of Quantities. As the client you can then take the lead in what is being priced for. The builder can then quote for the work exactly to your requirements and you can gain as many quotes as you want all on the same basis. The work items can be individually priced enabling detailed comparison of all the quotes received. After accepting the quote any variations can be checked against the Bill of Quantities to see if the quantities have increased or decreased and the rates can be used as a basis to price variations.
Builders always need a Bill of Quantities even if they do it themselves. However, most builders would not give up that Bill to the client having spent a lot of free time producing it. A client providing a Bill is a blessing, saving much time and cost. It provides a builder with confidence of competing on an equal basis to the competition. Multiply that management time and cost by the 3 or 4 builders quoting, and the a client produced BQ makes the tendering process much cheaper. The downside of allowing the builder to provide the Bill, apart from the client not seeing it, is that very different quotes will be produced, each builder interpreting the work content differently. By the client paying and producing a Bill the builder’s pricing risk is significantly reduced and thereby the quote is going to be less, because the risk of Quantity errors and misjudged work content will not have been priced in.
Having a Bill of Quantities is vital for a builder. It allows for analysing every trade and material content infinitely, and my system can filter everything and create sub trade or supplier bills for sending out enquiries.
If required, I can then price the items in the Bill, usually the builder may want this. I build up the prices using a labour, plant, material, subcontractor, and provisional cost breakdown. The client may also wish to have in advance a predicted cost for the project. A client can then make a more informed comparison of tenders received and check for pricing errors. The estimate information produced is ideal for project management, programming, and resource listing for the project. Alterations to the Bill can easily be made enabling the full cost of the project to be predicted at any time throughout the build. Further an agreed Bill will make agreeing monthly progress payments relatively easy and accurately reflect the work completed, preventing any overpayment.
One of the main causes of clients going over budget or builders losing money is lack of proper time spent on the estimate and by not compiling a decent Bill of Quantities. Even builders who do not have the time or resources shortcut this process. Often, I see a “one line” quote from the builder presented to the client. This results in lots of financial uncertainty for the client, lots of provisional sums and inevitably a much larger final account for the work. Every job has variations to the original drawings, so it is important to know how much each work item costed originally so it can be adjusted properly. Most clients have a finite amount of money and to find themselves going over budget can be traumatic for them and the builder and have severe implications for completing the project.
Have your property surveyed with an experienced eye. I will report to you all the important issues that may be a concern to a home buyer and particularly any that may affect the value. My report is in depth, may include photograph’s, and I will survey the property methodically using at least a 75 point check list.
I can carry out any type of survey from a tenants’ condition survey, a commercial building or home snagging or creating a defects and repair schedule, a dilapidations report, home buyers report, structural and full building surveys. I can also comment on any proposed structural alterations or extensions and as a Quantity Surveyor I can provide estimates for repairs or work that are reliable.
“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. 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 detailed building survey and report on a small house starts at £375 rising to about £850 for a larger property. Multiple conditions surveys can start at £75 for a flat.
Disputes can arise between homeowners and builders and subcontractors. This may be due to disagreements over the cost of the work or about the contract between the parties. I do have some experience in settling disputes and arguments.
If you have got into a dispute, or being heavily penalised by a party, or just getting dispirited, then a new face can liberate the problem providing relief from the hopeless feeling you get in these situations. You can lose sight of what the real issues are. Bringing in someone independent with detachment may find a way for a solution. I can dig into the dispute, resolve valuation or technical issues, check contract terms and hopefully resolve the problem and break the previous deadlock.
From just providing advice to a report, a letter, an adjudication or expert witness, the matter could be resolved much quicker and cheaper than taking legal action. I cannot guarantee avoiding the use of a lawyer but the information I provide will be essential to the legal process.
Terms and Confidentiality
I promise that no information you provide me will be shared with anyone else. If you are a contractor, I will never use your suppliers for the benefit of another contractor, and I will never let another company benefit from your business information either during or after I have ceased working for you. All information and data created for you will be passed back to you at any time you need it. All work is triple backed up.
Please send your project details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Based in Matlock, Peak District, Derbyshire. Working in Staffordshire, Sheffield and Nottinghamshire. Remote working the rest of the UK.
- Bills of Quantities
- Resource listing
- Assessing Variation Costs
- Valuations, Interim and Final Accounts
- Tendering & Procurement
- Take-off Quantities
- Cost Forecasting
- Cost Value Reconciliation
- Dispute Adjudication and Expert Witness
- Home Buyer Surveys
- Building Surveying
- Condition & Snagging Reports
- 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
- Access Conquest Bills of Quantity & Estimating
- Plan Swift Take Off
- Building Works, Price a Job estimating software, etc
- MS Project Planning
- Building Cost Information Service
- 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…