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The construction market in the UK is currently undergoing somewhat of a revolution. Since the dip of the recession, an incessant demand for housing is encouraging growth within the market. At the same time, the advent of new technologies and new building methods has the potential to transform construction, from the way in which buildings are designed to the materials used to build them.
One of those areas is Quantity Surveying. In an industry where pricing and efficiency is rapidly becoming a hot topic- especially given the government’s pledge to deliver one million affordable homes - the role of a Quantity Surveyor is arguably becoming more important than ever. Responsible for analysing and setting the cost of any building project, the role involves everything from preparing contracts to conducting site visits and analysing the ongoing cost of maintenance.
However, this is also in flux. With the advent of ever-smarter new forms of technology, Quantity Surveyors are having to adapt to keep up - and many are now taking advantage of these new inventions to work smarter and more flexibly than ever before. Below, we discuss how technology is transforming Quantity Surveying.
The digital take-off has arrived, and one of the key ways in which it is doing so is through BIM, or Building Information Modelling. Essentially, BIM is an intelligent 3-D modelling system which allows architects and building experts to plan, design, construct and even maintain buildings much more efficiently than before, as well as manage costs. In addition, the nature of BIM allows all parties in a construction project to access and upload data immediately. BIM also makes lifecycle data available at an earlier stage in the project, which in turn affects the materials, build and cost predictions used. This new smart system can even create an optimal build using the data it has at hand.
What does this mean for Quantity Surveyors? Many Quantity Surveyors are apprehensive about the way in which BIM is going to impact their careers and their role; however, any effective use of BIM requires a level of understanding, analysis and interrogation in order for users to extrapolate accurate costing data.
This means that they may well take on somewhat of an advisory role: the complex nature of BIM means that surveyors will likely be required to take vast amounts of data, before analysing and then presenting it in a way that will allow clients to make better judgements. Indeed, there is an opportunity for Quantity Surveyors to create a niche for themselves in the market as the best people to manage the models and analyse the vast amounts of data generated by that new modelling process.
Another benefit of the increasing influence of IT in the role of the Quantity Surveyor means that surveyors are able to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently than ever before. Hours spent hand-drawing designs and calculating costs can now be done at the touch of a button, thus leaving more time free to concentrate on other areas, like advising on procurement measures or suggesting the best building materials to use.
As with BIM, Quantity Surveyors are now being called upon to act as advisors in a growing number of areas, including risk and value management, project financing, sustainability and even legal services. Given that an increasing number of businesses are acting as business advisors as well as Quantity Surveyors to their clients, it seems clear that the increase of data, and smarter technology, is going to make for a much more involved role in the future.
One of the most remarkable changes brought about by the rise of new technologies in the workplace has been on working practices. With 71% of British workers in favour of flexible working, many companies have been able to deliver, thanks to lightning-fast wi-fi and the creation of data hubs like The Cloud. This has huge potential for Quantity Surveyors as it makes the building site your potential office, too: with instant Internet access, surveyors can update Cost Plans remotely from their clients’ offices, and create BOQs whilst on-site. Not only will this make for a faster costing process, but it will also make for a more accurate final model.
New technologies have brought with them massive leaps forward in the area of sustainable development. Whilst the cost of ‘greener’ constructions were estimated to cost around 60% more than traditional models in the past, new inventions like smart appliances, coupled with processes like renewable energies and 3-D printing mean it’s now cheaper than ever before to create a custom, cheap ‘green’ building using a relatively low budget. Furthermore, given the vastly-improved technologies used to design and model a building, it’s much easier for Quantity Surveyors to choose suitable, durable and more eco-friendly materials to build with, which in turn chimes with the increasing need to develop sustainable building practices.
At PSR Solutions, we’re proud to connect the best talent in Quantity Surveying to jobs that will make a difference. We're a leading recruiter, specialising in the construction industry. Our consultants have a deep knowledge of the built environment and are able to provide the best construction recruitment solutions to our clients and candidates. Contact us today for more information and browse our blog for more insights, or take the next step in your career with our range of Quantity Surveying jobs.
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