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Quantity Surveying Practice

Introduction-Quantity Surveying Practice

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A quantity surveyor is a responsible specialist for a construction company as they help to identify costs for constructing a business in the case of a construction company. This paper aims to identify the construction cost of student accommodation. For this purpose, the assignment considered a comparative analysis methodology between proposed project plan and existing project plan. An estimated cost-plan method was adopted for the comparative analysis. Firstly, the task has identified responses to requirements and challenges. Secondly, a particular issue regarding estimation of stages, order of cost estimation, and many others will be analysed in this study. Third, a few advantages and challenges regarding adopting BIM will be presented in this paper as well. Lastly, this paper will implement an analysis of the whole life cycle.

Pre-contract financial control and management

Reviewing current pre-contract financial control and management

For the construction industry, there is a need to control costs to avoid overrun of budget. Pre-contact control of cost is considered as a systematic process in order to ensure that the sum of the contract remains within the approved budget of the client, which helps to control the cost of construction throughout the completion of the construction project. According to Lello, there are different factors that there are different factors which makes an implication on cost of a construction project, such as characteristics of projects and clients, inaccurate estimation of cost, characteristics of contractors, design, consultant, and tender, and factors and external factors (Researchgate.net, 2018).

In the context of student accommodation, there is a need to implement a few processes that help to control costs before constructing the building. Such processes include pre-design, inception of feasibility, establishment of budget, appraisal of options, briefing strategy, preparing planning for cost, checking cost and designing against cost plan helps control cost at the stage of pre-construction. Therefore, it can be stated that an adequate accommodation of school requires a significant process to control costs. It will help them to avoid overrun of budget and can access more profit from this project. In addition to this, the research study of Rajaratnam et al. (2021) represents that the communication process plays a vital role in the pre-construction process. Through effective communication with stakeholders can help to control costs or manage of budget. In the context of student accommodation, there is a need to communicate with the owner of the school and the manager of the project in order to identify the appropriate process for controlling costs.

Future pre-contract financial control and management

The primary purpose of planning regarding cost and control of cost is ensuring that a successful tender of the contractor does not exceed the budget of the client (Arrow.tudublin.ie, 2021). In the context of student accommodation, there is a need to control costs in order to ensure that the cost of the project does not exceed the budget of constructing this school. Estimation of cost is critical as it determines the budget of the project and provides groundwork for the planning process of cost, which is used for future cost or future management of budget. Different sources are used for estimation of cost required to establish this school, such as location, inflation, and date of establishment. There are different sources of functional unit approach such as price books, BCIS, and the library of this school that helps identify the cost of this project based on a method regarding rate of a single price. Through this way, this project will be able to determine cost using a method of single price rate. In addition to this, there is a need to get confirmation from the design team of this project by identifying assumptions provided by the consultant about the soundness of the technique.

Identification of requirements and challenges

Figure 1: Resource requirements

(Source: Researchgate.net, 2018)

This figure represents a few requirements for optimisation of cost includes sustainability, scarcity of resources, innovation, increased pace of development, and coordination with the requirements of the client (Researchgate.net, 2018). In the context of student accommodation, it can be stated that there is a need to identify such requirements that will help them to optimise costs. There is a need to split work into a few manageable tasks, evaluation of tasks, and measurement of combinations, which helps to identify costs, required for each stage of work. In addition to this, there are a few steps, which can estimate costs, such as screening, study or feasibility, authorisation of budget, control, and check estimation (Cost management.eu, 2021). Therefore, it can be stated that there is a requirement of this factor, which will help the project manager to control the cost of building student accommodation.

However, a quantity surveyor can face a few challenges during estimation of cost of this project, such as poor performance of a project, overrun of project cost, overrun of time, and poor quality as well (Shabani et al. 2018). Therefore, it can be stated that there is a requirement to monitor the performance of team members in order to build student accommodation. In addition to this, a few factors can make an impact on the cost price of a project, which can be the primary reason for an increased budget of a project. Cost of material, financial ability of clients, cost of labour, type of construction, and many others are there, which makes an implication on the cost price of this project.

Discussion and analysis

There are several advantages of constructing student accommodation as it delivers the sense of belonging to students and encourages them to take challenges and risks of higher education. In many cases, students become unable to continue their education and especially for those who take education from a foreign university and live there for this purpose as well (Al Amri and Marey-Pérez, 2020). In this regard, many students attend online classes to continue their education. Therefore, it can be stated that there is a need to build accommodation for those students in the UK, as it is an essential requirement for the students who are close to finishing their education. Therefore, it can be stated that there is a need to construct an accommodation in the South West of the UK as it is associated with academic and life growth of students.

The proposed project is student accommodation that will be constructed in the South West of the UK, and the similar project includes the same design. However, the comparable project has extra bedrooms. The comparison between a similar project and a proposed project helps to identify an effective cost control and profitable project. The contract price of a comparable project stands for £1.63 million, and the contract sum stands for £1.56 million. On the other hand, a similar project has £2.54 million as contract price and £2.38 million as contract sum. This data represents that the contractor will not undertake the proposed project as its contract sum is less than the contract price. Similarly, the contract sum of a comparable project is less than its contract price; however, the contractor should choose this project as it includes an increased contract sum than the proposed project.

[Refer to Appendix 1]

Comparable Project


Proposed Project


Tender Price Adjustment


Comparable Project


Proposed Project


Location Factor Adjustment


Overall Adjustment



Table 1: Adjustments of tender price and location factor

This table represents that tender price adjustments stand for £816943.40 and location factor assignment stands for £457488.30. Through this data and consideration, the above discussion states that contract cost and sum of contract of proposed project are made to adjust for the changes in location and factors of tenders. Therefore, after adjustment of location factor and tender factor, the sum of the proposed project will be £1.76 million pounds.

Impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry

Supply chain management

The sudden breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain of the construction industry. The smaller construction companies experienced more difficulties in maintaining their supply chain compared to the larger companies. The supply of raw materials required for the construction industry, such as sand, cement, bricks, and come under pressure due to the multinational lockdowns. It has been found that the UK imports most of the construction materials from countries like China, Germany and so on (figure 2) (Statista, 2021). Therefore, worldwide lockdown made it difficult to continue international logistics, which resulted in shutting down operations in the construction industry. It has been found that raw materials like copper, stone, aluminium, steel and many other materials required for construction originate from China. As a result, the logistics of the construction industry were hugely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figure 2: Important countries for building materials import in the UK

(Source: Statista, 2021)

BIM in enhancing pre contract and financial management

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process that is supported by different tools and technologies and derived by increased efficiency and sustainability. BIM is considered as an integrated information management method in construction industry and foundation for digital transformation in architecture. Pre-contract in construction industry include planning and coordinating for materials, cutinisation, review of tender drawing and so on. BIM works on representing functional and physical characteristics of building process that delivers every minute details of the project and ensures success of pre-contract stage (Sanhudo et al. 2018). As it is the preparation phase for the construction project therefore digital representation through BIM delivers better decision making, visibility which further leads to cost savings and financial management. Besides that, BIM works on delivering greater improvements and higher productivity in the construction projects progression periods which help in cutting construction costs. Many work disciplines are associated with BIM which make stakeholder collaboration easier. By using a fully integrated BIM approach customers may also benefit from lifetime asset management. Linking the model with estimating databases, costs for projects can be predicted.

Structuring and collaboration

Collaboration is an important aspect in construction industry which makes sure that all the team members are working toward achieving one project goal. It is a highly competitive industry and nearly all the stakeholders struggle to achieve success in this industry. It has been found that team members working in one construction project sometime are more ambitious to achieve short term individual goals rather than focusing on overall project goals that produce collaboration issues among team members (Oraee et al. 2019). On the other hand, lack of proper structure also adversely affects the construction industry. It is important to have clear goals in order to do things in an efficient manner. Nevertheless, lack of clear target among team members led to the easy fall of construction project behind. Performance management has been identified as a key aspect of project management in construction. Therefore, to implement these aspects within a construction project it is necessary to have clarity about tasks that have to be performed, make daily targets, break down big tasks into smaller one and employ individuals to complete tasks (Tugaj et al. 2019). Structuring construction projects in this way can help in gaining success and mitigating failure.

Liquidity and balance sheet

Cash flow and liquidity in the construction industry play a vital role as the constructors who enter the market with a large amount get the opportunity to continue business recovering from all difficulties. It has been found that contractors were aware of costs, and after the crisis, it became a most significant consideration. Major construction industries all over the world suffered from a sharp value drop that led to creating a challenging environment in the industry (figure 3).

Figure 3: Impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry

(Source: Marketsandmarkets, 2021)

Market trend changes

The market trend for student accommodation in the UK has changed over the past few years, and the price of accommodation has increased, although the revenue of the industry grew only 0.4% (Ibisworld, 2021). It has been found that the year 2020 was a turbulent year for the student accommodation sector in the UK. The largest student accommodation providers in the UK, such as Empiric Student Property PLC, Unite Group PLC and GCP Student Living PLC, have observed occupancy of 70%, 88% and 69%, respectively, in 2020 (McElroy, 2020). It has been found that the student accommodation providers market of the UK consists of 20% of the world student population that observe situations like empty beds during the pandemic. Approximately, 29% of booking from international students reduced during this pandemic in the accommodations centres (McElroy, 2020). As universities closed their physical doors and virtual education became a new norm, therefore, students left accommodations, and several student accommodation providers businesses got cancelled.

Nevertheless, many operators are waiting for the return of the international students, which may again flourish the accommodation providers market. Apart from that, many of the Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has completed a deal of £280 million, and another investment of £750 has been expected, which may raise the demand for student accommodation (McElroy, 2020).

Risks factors

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the Universities are opening physical doors of education for their students. However, the several waves of the pandemic have created a dilemma among the student accommodation whether to invest in accommodation or not. In this context, the negative impact that COVID-19 created on the economy has become one of the most significant risk factors for student accommodation. Besides that, as online teaching platforms have flourished with new technologies, applications, video conferencing; therefore it may be challenging for the student accommodation providers to attract international students who are enjoying education at a whole new level (Ons, 2020). Moreover, as the people become concerned about concepts like social distancing and quarantine, therefore, while presenting in the accommodation, the demand for adequate spaces may be demanded among students. Apart from that, gaining education over video conferencing is much cheaper than living in accommodation; hence, the possibility of less expenditure may be developed among international students who were previously taking services from student accommodation. Based on this, it can be said that lesser enrolment of students, less interest of them in living in the accommodation and several demands from accommodation providers may be risk factors in UK student accommodation.

Advantages and challenges of BIM

The research study of Hasan and Rasheed (2019) represents that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the information of each element required for building a construction and it is based on technology. It helps to plan, design, and manage the project in order to collaborate with the environment. In addition to this, this research study shows the most important advantage of BIM, which include accurate presentation of geography of the project with an integrated information environment in presence of cost control and financial management. Therefore, it can be stated that the proposed project regarding student accommodation can adopt BIM, which will help the constructor to identify an appropriate graphical presentation and help this project to get accurate information regarding cost and financial requirements. On the other hand, the research study of Zima et al. (2020) shows that the key benefit of BIM is that it helps to collect data in one place together and create new methods for data visualisation. It helps to improve communication between constructors as well as helps to provide information about construction sites. Therefore, it can be stated that through this adoption, this project will be able to gather data and get information about construction sites in an easier process.

However, this process has a few disadvantages for the construction industry as well. According to the research study of Olsen and Taylor (2017), this method requires trained employees. Therefore, to construct a building, it will require more time to provide training, costs required for up-gradation of customers, and fundamental changes in processes of work. These are the primary disadvantages for a construction industry. Therefore, it can be stated that adoption of BIM can have a negative implication on the cost price of the proposed project. On the other hand, the research study of Zima et al. (2020) shows that a company has to bear a high implementation cost of BIM, which is a disadvantage of this method. Therefore, it can be stated that student accommodation projects might include increased cost of construction in case of implementing BIM.

Implementation and application of whole lifecycle analysis

Figure 4: Stages of Lifecycle Analysis

(Source: Harter et al. 2020)

Life Cycle analysis in the construction industry helps to identify the total environmental implication of the supply chain of products. However, the proposed project required implementation of LCA in their construction to identify the environmental impact. Therefore, there is a need to follow six stages included in LCA, such as extraction of material, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, use of life, and end of life (Harter et al. 2020). By following these stages, the proposed project will be able to implement LCA in its construction.


In conclusion, the paper aims to identify the role of QS in the construction of student accommodation. A quantity surveyor has a responsibility to examine the budget of a project that helps to control the cost of this project. This paper identifies that covid-19 is the primary reason that strikes the education process of students who are at the last stage of finishing their studies. Pre-contract control of cost is the present concept for financial control in large projects. However, pre-design processes, feasibility inception and cost planning are some few strategies that need to be implemented for future financial control and management processes in projects. Cost overrun in projects, poor project performance and poor quality of projects can be few more challenges that a surveyor can face in financial control processes. Therefore, in this situation, project manager can split the project into various parts and then can make an estimate of financial costs and control aspects. Building Information System of BIM gives the advantage of plan, design, and manages a project and its financials easily along with its graphical representations. On the other hand, lack of training and knowledge of respective employees can be the major challenge of implementing BIM in projects. Finally, the report recommended to use the six-stage based LCA process to manage the financial outcome and control issues.

 Reference list

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Harter, H., Singh, M.M., Schneider-Marin, P., Lang, W. and Geyer, P., 2020. Uncertainty analysis of life cycle energy assessment in early stages of design. Energy and Buildings208, p.109635.

Hasan, A.N. and Rasheed, S.M., 2019. The benefits of and challenges to implement 5D BIM in construction industry. Civil Engineering Journal5(2), p.412.

Ibisworld., (2021). Student Accommodation in the UK - Market Research Report. Available at: https://www.ibisworld.com/united-kingdom/market-research-reports/student-accommodation-industry/ [Accessed on: 25 November, 2021]

Marketsandmarkets., (2021).Covid-19-impact-on-construction-market. Available at: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/covid-19-impact-on-construction-market-65270035.html [Accessed on: 25 November, 2021]

McElroy, C., (2020). UK student accommodation sector could see distress in 2021. Available at: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/uk-student-accommodation-sector-could-see-distress-in-2021-61754965 [Accessed on: 25 November, 2021]

Olsen, D. and Taylor, J.M., 2017. Quantity take-off using building information modeling (BIM), and its limiting factors. Procedia engineering196, pp.1098-1105.

Ons., (2020). Coronavirus and the impact on students in higher education in England: September to December 2020. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/educationandchildcare/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonstudentsinhighereducationinenglandseptembertodecember2020/2020-12-21 [Accessed on: 25 November, 2021]

Oraee, M., Hosseini, M.R., Edwards, D.J., Li, H., Papadonikolaki, E. and Cao, D., 2019. Collaboration barriers in BIM-based construction networks: A conceptual model. International Journal of Project Management37(6), pp.839-854.

Rajaratnam, D., Weerasinghe, D.M.L.P., Abeynayake, M., Perera, B.A.K.S. and Ochoa, J.J., 2021. Potential use of Augmented Reality in pre-contract design communication in construction projects. Intelligent Buildings International, pp.1-18.

Researchgate.net, 2018. Pre-contract cost control. Viewed on: 29/11/2021 from <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331677700_An_Evaluation_of_Pre-Contract_Cost_Planning_Process_for_Building_Projects_in_Tanzania>

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