BRIEF HISTORY OF QUANTITY SURVEYING AS A PROFESSION
The origin of Quantity Surveying as a profession dates way back in the 17th century during the restoration of London after the Great Fire in 1666, though the first reference to a Quantity Surveyor is found in the Bible in the book of Luke 14:28 which says “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it.
Before 1666, masons, carpenters and other craftsmen were paid by the day, but because of the large amount of labor needed to reconstruct the city after the fire, it was decided that each craftsmen be paid for the quantity of his trades work. This meant that instead of being paid a wage, the tradesmen were paid for the amount of masonry, carpentry or any other craft ship contained in the building.
In essence one had to study the drawings and measure the quantity of work of each trade contained in the building and at the same time prepare an estimate for the total cost of the building. Hence, from that humble beginning, the Quantity Surveying profession evolved.
THE SERVICES OF A QUANTITY SURVEYOR
The role of a Quantity Surveyor in connection with building contracts can be summarized as follows:-
- Prepares budgets for building projects.
- Advises on the effects of quality to the budget.
- Advises on what size and standard of structure can be constructed for a given expenditure.
- Act with other consultants to ensure that the financial provisions of the contract are properly interpreted and applied so the client’s financial interest is safeguarded and that the contractor is paid a fair price for the works.
- Advising on the cost of alternative materials
- Advising on the cost of construction method
- Advising on effect of site condition on budget
- Advising on the feasibility of different sites
- Advising on tendering procedure and contractual arrangements
- Preparation of tender documents
- Exercise cost control during construction to ensure that cost is not exceeded without authority
- Advising on matters between Clint and Consultants
- Advising on matters between Client and Contractor
- Advising on contract interpretation, payments, changes in scope of works, variations, claims, final accounts etc.
In Conclusion a Quantity Surveyor is expected to:
- Give impartial advice
- Achieve value for money
- Manage the budget and control cost
- Achieve a quality product
- Satisfy the client
TRAINING OF A QUANTITY SURVEYOR
Quantity Surveyors have to complete an appropriate university degree course ( usually 4 years Building Economics Course in the University of Nairobi) which requirements are as follows.
- KCSE applicants or equivalent: Mean Grade C+ with a mean of grade C+ in the following subject clusters: English or Kiswahili: Mathematics: physical science: geography of accounts or commerce or economics or Building construction or drawing and design.
- KACE (A Level) applicants or equivalent: Two Principal passes, A minimum principal “D” pass in either Mathematics or physics and in any one of the following subjects: Economics, Geography and Chemistry and a credit pass in English Language at KCE level or equivalent.
- Diploma holders
A minimum KCE division II or C mean grade in KCSE in addition to a credit pass or equivalent of Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Diploma or its equivalent in Building Construction, Architectural Studies, Civil Engineering and Applied Physical Sciences.
- Degree holder
A holder of University degree or its equivalent from a recognized University in the following areas, Architectural Engineering, Design or any other relevant degree.
- Post graduate
A postgraduate Masters programme (MA in construction Management) is also offered in the department. The admission requirements are as follows:
- The common regulations governing the Masters degree in all Faculties of the University of Nairobi shall apply.
- Holders of at least an upper second Class Honours Degree in Building Economics, Quantity Surveying, Architecture, Engineering, Land Economics from the University of Nairobi or an equivalent qualification from a university recognized by Senate.
- Holders of at least a Lower Second Class Honours Degree in any of the disciplines specified in above with a relevant postgraduate diploma or other equivalent qualification or at least two years relevant work experience.
Upon graduation one undergoes a 2 years practical experince which qualifies them to sit for the professional exams which upon successful completion enables a person to be registered by the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of the Republic of Kenya.
Quantity Surveyors Assistants (Technicians) are required to be ordinary Diploma holders or its equivalent in Building Construction & Civil Engineering or Quantity Surveying and Building Construction.
Quantity Surveyors are engaged in the following areas:-
- Public sector mainly with the ministry of Roads and Public works and government parastals.
- Private sector with consulting firms.
- Building and civil engineering contractors
- Financieirs and property developers
- Project management firm
- Educational Institutions as lecturers.