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QS won't provide cost estimate


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So my quantity surveyor sent out the tender package a number of weeks ago.  I'm paying him several thousand pounds for his services.

Whenever I ask him for an estimate of the build cost he tells me he doesn't know and looks at me like I'm a fool for asking.  I suspect that when the tenders come back he will say the cheapest is about right, saving himself a couple of spreadsheet hours working it oout for himself.  I could have done that myself and saved a lot of cash.

 

Am I missing something here?  A cost estimate would be very useful.  Surely that's what the QS is for, to give some cost guidance so that the tenders can be assessed. 

 

Without a cost estimate from the QS then I'm struggling to see what value the QS is adding to the project. 

 

Should I insist on a cost estimate from my QS?

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I have used Estimators Online and they give a decent breakdown of estimated costs.  For a house they charge £225 plus VAT.  Handy as a sanity check and to send out to merchants etc.  I also send to contractors sometimes as a guide only.

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8 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

I have used Estimators Online and they give a decent breakdown of estimated costs.  For a house they charge £225 plus VAT.  Handy as a sanity check and to send out to merchants etc.  I also send to contractors sometimes as a guide only.

 

but if I'm paying a QS thousands already, shouldn't he be giving me a cost estimate in pounds and pence? 

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Yes.  Unless he is sending out tenders invitations, evaluating and dealing with replies and managing payments as work progresses I am not sure why it is costing you so much.

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10 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

Yes.  Unless he is sending out tenders invitations, evaluating and dealing with replies and managing payments as work progresses I am not sure why it is costing you so much.

 

Me neither.  He's doing sweet FA for me right now.

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Our house was quite complicated and we used a QS. He took the drawing package from the Architect and worked out his own cost estimate.

 

When the 3 quotes came back from the builders the QS went through each of them and adjusted them so they were all based on the same assumptions (Eg to ensure they all had same provisional sums).

 

There were also some items that differed quite a bit between the builders. The QS discussed these with the builders to understand why they were so different.  

 

We then had a three way meeting with me, the QS and the Architect to select the Builder. This included discussing the changes to the the quotes that he had agreed with the builders.

 

In the end the three quotes were within about 12% of each other. The lowest was quite close to the QS's orginal estimate as the ammendments balanced out. The cheapest builder turned out to be the one I had found rather than either of the two suggested by Architect and QS. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Mr Blobby said:

 

but if I'm paying a QS thousands already, shouldn't he be giving me a cost estimate in pounds and pence? 


thats actually really shocking. I understand the climate is unpredictable, but he seems like a total scrounger if he isn’t being pro-active. 
 

I’ve only used QS when actually building to keep track of funds, I send out tenders myself. I think you are within your rights to ask for your money back and get someone better.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

So just to finish this off....

 

At the start of the year the M and E tender package was really late (and still is wrong) and I was explicit in my requirement to build in May.  The QS insisted I wait until the M and E was ready. 

No suggestion of excluding the M and E to tender to watertight instead.  Which would have been perfect.

 

When I told the architect in April to exclude the M and E from the tender he said the QS didn't want to do two tenders so we should continue to delay the tender and build.  (ie serve the QS interests over mine)

When I insisted in May the tenders go out, the QS insisted on inserting M and E that was wrong so the responses would be pretty useless.

When I insisted again to request quotes to watertight the architect said the builders wouldnt like that.

When I said a watertight approach would be best because I wouldnt accept 30% mark ups on M and E from builders for inflation the QS said a phased approach is not possible and builders are entitled to price in inflation risk.

 

Just before the tenders came back I asked the QS in a zoom meeting with he and architect how much he thought the build would cost me and if he would give me the estimeate he promised in the engagement email.  He refused and after some prodding he totally lost his shit.  The architect is suspiscousy supportive of the QS 🤔

 

When the tenders came back the prices were ridiculous as expected with the M and E way overpriced and the specification wrong anyway.  So a completely useless exercise.

 

I asked the QS if he was going to provide some guidance on the wether the tenders were reasonable and offered good value.  He said no.  He said I should accept the lowest offer without scrutiny or question, which is conveniently from his local builder that he introduced to the tendering process.  A builder that became available after the delay the QS created.

 

So, the QS gave no cost quidance or estimate.  He caused six months of delay.  The tenders went out with incorrect M and E specification instead of build to watertight.  His only guidance is to accept the lowest offer from his preferred bidder.  He put no price to anything.  He provided no value at all, just advised me to accept the lowest tender without any cost analysis or estimate of builder's profit margin.

 

... and that pile of zero value shit and months of delay to my build cost me £3,750. 

 

My advice is don't get a QS.  Mine was a charlatan.  A waste of money that has delayed my build start from May to August. 

 

Edited by Mr Blobby
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16 minutes ago, Mr Blobby said:

My advice is don't get a QS. 


I think your advice is don’t get your QS… a good one is worth their weight in gold, a bad one as you have found is useless. 

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49 minutes ago, PeterW said:


I think your advice is don’t get your QS… a good one is worth their weight in gold, a bad one as you have found is useless. 

 

but the RICS code of practice should stop this and doesn't, so its a lottery. 

I'll be complaining to RICS of course, not that it will do any good.

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Complain but what will it achieve? You want to concentrate your energy on building the house. 
 

i’ve spoken with a QS recommended by the timber kit supplier and he’s sent me his fees. I am a bit shocked at the cost. £775 to visit the site and report on any possible issues, £850 for the order of costs, £2040 to manage the tender process, £850 to analyse the tender responses, £775 pre start meet with builder, £1050 post contract and work valuation, £2040 to prepare final account, £340 per month for the duration of the build, hotel and travel expenses at cost, printing and admin at cost. 

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18 minutes ago, Kelvin said:

Complain but what will it achieve? You want to concentrate your energy on building the house. 
 

i’ve spoken with a QS recommended by the timber kit supplier and he’s sent me his fees. I am a bit shocked at the cost. £775 to visit the site and report on any possible issues, £850 for the order of costs, £2040 to manage the tender process, £850 to analyse the tender responses, £775 pre start meet with builder, £1050 post contract and work valuation, £2040 to prepare final account, £340 per month for the duration of the build, hotel and travel expenses at cost, printing and admin at cost. 

He clearly doesn’t want the job. Keep looking for a QS  and try showing a couple of them the ridiculous quote and observe their reaction. 

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1 minute ago, Canski said:

He clearly doesn’t want the job. Keep looking for a QS  and try showing a couple of them the ridiculous quote and observe their reaction. 

He’s apparently done the QS on most of the houses the kit company have built. I can’t believe folk have paid this. 
 

He sent me a spreadsheet to complete to spec the house and he’ll go and get quotes etc. I already have quotes for 80% of the stuff on his spreadsheet 😂 so I’d be paying him to send me back the order of costs much of which I’ve provided. Anyway, I’ll sack him off and use the online folk for the order of costs. 

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He could be waiting for 2 other really expensive quotes so he can give his mate a nod, and that price wins and he gets a kick back….

 

but that never hapoens

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7 hours ago, Kelvin said:

He sent me a spreadsheet to complete to spec the house and he’ll go and get quotes etc. I already have quotes for 80% of the stuff on his spreadsheet 😂 so I’d be paying him to send me back the order of costs much of which I’ve provided. Anyway, I’ll sack him off and use the online folk for the order of costs. 

 

What online service are you planning to use?

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A detailed client brief and scope of services upon which you were engaging the QS, prior to appointment, would've saved all this hassle.

 

IMHO any appointment of any professional without a clear definition of what they are being appointed to provide is destined to fail, unless you're v. v. lucky and each parties expectations magically align.

Edited by Jlaw
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Jlaw said:

A detailed client brief and scope of services upon which you were engaging the QS, prior to appointment, would've saved all this hassle.

 

IMHO any appointment of any professional without a clear definition of what they are being appointed to provide is destined to fail, unless you're v. v. lucky and each parties expectations magically align.

 

My QS emailed me with scope of services, prior to engagement, to include cost estimates. 

He then refused to supply any cost estimate when asked to do so.

I will be asking him to return some of my fee (fat chance) and referring him to RICS.  Legally this would be either misrepresentation or breach of contract, take your pick!

Edited by Mr Blobby
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2 minutes ago, Mr Blobby said:

 

My QS emailed me with scope of services, prior to engagement, to include cost estimates. 

He then refused to supply any cost estimate when asked to do so.

I will be asking him to return some of my fee (fat chance) and referring him to RICS.  Legally this would be either misrepresentation or breach of contract, take your pick!

 

In that case he doesn't have a leg to stand on

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On the cost of a QS...

 

I've seen several quote around 9-11% of the build cost but that did include a lot, not all of which you might need..

 

Initial cost estimate.

Managing and adjusting bids to ensure they are on the same basis to allow fair comparison. Meetings to present and discuss.

Site visits and valuations of the work done at multiple stages and advising on how much to pay the builder for that stage.  

Checking the cost of changes, either those you request or the builder requests.

 

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