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
I particularly like the above quote by the well known social critic John Ruskin. It’s something a surveyor should always remember, so you embrace quality and value, rather than always lowest cost. I’ll keep it here as a reminder should I forget.
If you are looking for someone to manage your construction finances or carry out a building survey? you are in the right place. In my previous working life I owned a building contractor carrying out new build, extensions and conversions, and managed a separate subsidence & structural repair business, both for 25 years. The specialist repair business led me to working as a subcontractor to main contractors. Having surveyed hundreds of properties with subsidence related defects gave me a thorough understanding of the practicalities of dealing with them. Working for myself has instilled in me a financial discipline that is difficult to achieve, and I can help you to improve profits and have better financial control of the construction process.
Stephen Hodgson BSc MRICS
Builders Estimating & Bills of Quantities
I can provide a building budget, a detailed and resourced estimate, or just a Bill of Quantities. I use any technology that will speed these tasks up and provide more accuracy. The more detail I am provided with, the better the estimate or Bill of Quantities. Many problems with clients going over budget are due to the lack of time spent on the initial specification, resulting in lots of extra costs by way of variations to the initial drawings. Some of the services that I can provide include development feasibility studies, individual new build estimates, bills of quantities for builders to price from and an estimating service for builders.
Subcontractors Quantity Surveyor
I work for firms such as steel fabricators, groundworker and decorators. I help these companies with taking off, bills of quantities, estimating, settling disputes, applications for payment, cash flow forecasting and profitability and help with other financial aspects of the business management.
The “Construction Act”, as it is known, can be quite complicated, so it’s useful to have it entrenched in your systems. Know your default legal payment rights, when your applications become due, when they should be certified, when a payless notice must be issued by, and the last date you can expect payment. Remember to read your contract, what you have agreed to because those are your actual payment terms.
Handy tips on how to avoid a dispute
- Know your Contract with your client
- Issue notices of delay, disruption, commencement, variations, completion, and potential costs at the time, and never wait until the end of the contract
- Obtain written instructions for variations prior to commencing them if you want to get paid promptly
- Obtain agreement to costs prior to commencing, where possible
- Build up a final account from day one and keep the client updated with a projected final account
- Keep a daily updated programme with delay comments and regularly resubmit to the client
- Formally give notice of delays if you want to be paid for them
- Keep records such as detailed timesheets, dated progress photographs, quality control photographs of up covered work, numbered events, variations in a methodical and sequential order
- Never allow an unpaid account to go unresolved
- Speak to a senior manager if you are getting nowhere with the on-site staff
- If the above still fails, never be afraid to refer the matter to Adjudication.
Builders Quantity Surveyor
On a freelance basis I provide you with all the services provided by a contractors quantity surveyor including Bills of Quantities, Estimating, Taking off, Resourcing, Subcontractor payments, Project management, Monthly valuations, Pricing variations and Final accounts, Contract correspondence and Resolving claims and disputes.
I equally work on small and larger projects at all levels.
Dispute Resolution and Adjudication
Agreeing accounts with main contractors and end customers is something I used to. Management of a construction project is also about preventing disputes, keeping everyone informed, not getting into arguments. You may need to have an OCD type attitude to project control if you want to get the best financial result from your project. Working with your customers is key and not against them. Make sure you perform diligently and build a quality product. Failure to do this will not only cost you your customer but may cost you financially in many directions. Finally, if you do get embroiled in a dispute, ask yourself did you manage the situation properly in the 1st place?
If you have got into a dispute, or are being heavily penalised, then a new face can liberate the problem and provide relief from the trapped feeling you get in these situations. You can lose sight of what’s right and wrong. Detachment may find a way for a solution. I have resolved many difficult situations, digging into the reality of the claims being made and breaking the deadlock.
Homeowners Quantity Surveyor – VAT free
A Quantity Surveyor can help a homeowner in ways often not realised.
Have your building work properly valued before making payment to your builder, making sure you don’t overpay. What happens if you over pay and the builder goes bust or refuses to continue the project?
One of the biggest complaints from homeowners is that they have already received wildly varying quotes from builders. It becomes virtually impossible for them to make an objective decision about which builder to choose. The principal idea in quantity surveying is to give all the builders a level playing field to price from. A priced schedule of works prevents many arguments over what is and is not included in the price. A proper contract will require a builder to justify his costs in a fair manner.
If you need help with a dispute or sending out an enquiry to builders’ I can check you are getting good value for money and a fair deal.
Building & Condition Surveys – VAT free
Have your property surveyed with an experienced eye, and report to you all the defects for every component that makes up the property, including an estimate of the cost of remedial work. My report is bespoke for the property and potential subsidence and structural issues discussed.
I carry out different types of surveys from tenants’ condition survey, repair schedules, dilapidations survey and full building surveys.
“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 £400. Multiple conditions surveys can start at £75 for a flat, but please send me your property details for a quote.
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.
- Bills of Quantities
- Pricing Variations
- Interim and Final Accounts
- Project Management
- Tendering & Procurement
- Take Off & Resource Listing
- Financial Control
- Cost Value Reconciliation
- Dispute Resolution
- Claims Calculations
- Property Surveys
- Condition Reports
- Building Surveying
- Subsidence Reports
- 25 years with Builders, Subcontractors and Main Contractors
- Property developments
- Private homes
- New builds and homes
- Barn conversions
- Subsided Properties
- Structural, Specilaist & Concrete Repair
- Steel Fabricators
TOOLS & Software utilised
- Access Conquest Bills of Quantity & Estimating Programme
- Sage Accounting
- Plan Swift Take Off
- Building Works & Price a Job estimating
- MS Project Planning
- Painting Estimator
- Building Cost Information Service
- SMM7, NRM2, ROCK methods of measurement
- Laser Level and Plumb
- Borescope Cavity Inspection
- Thermal Camera Cold and Moisture Detection
- Metal Detection
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,…