Quantity Surveying: The Differences Between The UK & USA
Quantity surveying is a specialized field that is essential in construction projects, from estimating and managing costs to securing financing and negotiating contracts. However, there are significant differences between the way this profession is practiced in the UK and USA. In this expert blog, we will examine the key differences between the two countries and discuss the factors that influence the variations in their approach to quantity surveying.
The Education and Training Path One of the most significant differences between the UK and USA is the education and training path required to become a quantity surveyor. In the UK, quantity surveying is considered a profession and requires a degree in Quantity Surveying or a related field. This degree is typically followed by several years of professional development, which includes a combination of on-the-job experience and further education.
In contrast, in the USA, there is no specific degree in quantity surveying, and many quantity surveyors come from backgrounds in construction, engineering, or architecture. In the USA, there is no specific licensing or certification required to work as a quantity surveyor, although some states may have specific requirements for working on public projects.
The Role of Quantity Surveyors In the UK, quantity surveyors play a central role in the construction process. They are responsible for managing costs from the initial stages of a project through to completion, including negotiating contracts, estimating costs, and monitoring budgets. Quantity surveyors in the UK also have a significant role in the dispute resolution process, and are often called upon to provide expert witness testimony.
In the USA, the role of quantity surveyors is more limited, with a focus on cost estimation and budget management. In the USA, there is often less interaction between the quantity surveyor and other professionals in the construction process, such as architects, engineers, and contractors. Quantity surveyors in the USA may also have a less significant role in the dispute resolution process, with other professionals, such as lawyers, typically taking a leading role.
Liability and Insurance In the UK, quantity surveyors are typically required to have professional indemnity insurance to protect against errors and omissions. This insurance is intended to provide financial protection in the event of a dispute and to help ensure that the quantity surveyor is held accountable for their work.
In the USA, liability insurance is not typically required for quantity surveyors, although some may choose to take out insurance to protect against errors and omissions. This lack of liability insurance in the USA can have a significant impact on the role of quantity surveyors, with many not being held accountable for their work, and disputes often being resolved through the legal system.
Project Delivery Methods In the UK, the traditional method of project delivery is through the use of contracts between the client and the contractor. This approach can be very time-consuming and can lead to disputes, with quantity surveyors playing a key role in negotiating contracts and resolving disputes. In the USA, the use of project delivery methods, such as design-build and construction management, is much more common. In these delivery methods, the client contracts with a single entity to provide both design and construction services, with the quantity surveyor playing a back up role.
Quantity Surveying, also known as Construction Economics, is a critical aspect of the construction industry. It involves the measurement, estimation, and management of construction costs and contracts. Quantity Surveyors play a vital role in ensuring that construction projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard. They are responsible for providing cost advice and support to clients, contractors, and other stakeholders involved in the construction process.
Although Quantity Surveying is a global profession, there are significant differences between the UK and USA regarding the role of Quantity Surveyors and the way they carry out their duties. In this blog, we will explore the main differences between Quantity Surveying in the UK and USA.
Education and Training
In the UK, Quantity Surveying is a well-established profession, and there are several institutions that offer degree programs in Quantity Surveying, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). These programs provide students with the knowledge and skills required to work as Quantity Surveyors and offer professional accreditation upon graduation.
In the USA, the profession of Quantity Surveying is not as well established as in the UK, and there are fewer universities offering degree programs in Construction Economics or Construction Management. Nevertheless, there are several professional organizations, such as the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE), that provide training and certification to Quantity Surveyors.
Role and Responsibilities
In the UK, Quantity Surveyors are typically involved in the entire construction process, from pre-construction to post-construction. They are responsible for preparing detailed cost estimates, negotiating contracts, and managing construction budgets. They also advise clients on construction costs and provide cost control services during the construction process.
In the USA, the role of Quantity Surveyors is not as well-defined as in the UK. In the USA, Quantity Surveyors are often referred to as Construction Managers or Cost Engineers. They typically provide cost estimating and cost control services, but their role may not extend to contract negotiation and management.
In the UK, the standard form of construction contract is the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) contract. This form of contract is used in most construction projects in the UK, and it outlines the responsibilities of the client, contractor, and Quantity Surveyor.
In the USA, there are several standard forms of construction contract, such as the AIA (American Institute of Architects) contract and the Consensus Docs contract. These contracts outline the responsibilities of the client, contractor, and any other parties involved in the construction process.
Cost Management and Control
In the UK, Quantity Surveyors play a key role in cost management and control. They are responsible for preparing detailed cost estimates, negotiating contracts, and managing construction budgets. They also provide cost control services during the construction process to ensure that the project stays on budget.
In the USA, the role of Quantity Surveyors in cost management and control is not as well-defined as in the UK. In the USA, Quantity Surveyors may provide cost estimating and cost control services, but their role may not extend to contract negotiation and budget management.
In conclusion, while Quantity Surveying is a global profession, there are significant differences between the UK and USA regarding the role of Quantity Surveyors and the way they carry out their duties. The education and training of Quantity Surveyors, the role and responsibilities, the construction contracts, and the cost management and control practices all differ between the two countries. Nevertheless, both the UK and USA recognize the importance of Quantity Surveying in the construction industry and the role.