Quantity SurveyorOnline Estimators or Quantity Surveyors: Understanding the Similarities & Differences

September 25, 2020rahulkumar

Both online estimators and quantity surveyors have a unique skill-set and expertise. However, there are a few important differences, and this blog will help you understand those and choose the most relevant one for your exact needs. 


In the context of today’s economic scenario concerning the economic implications of COVID-19, the fundamental dynamics of the construction industry might change permanently. The importance of factors like financial expertise, efficient resource allocation, effective fund management, financial de-risking techniques, etc. will be much more relevant. And estimating services are at the core of all these factors. When we talk about estimating services, two of the most crucial roles are that of an online estimator and a quantity surveyor


While both these roles have some basic similarities, there are also a few intricate differences – that raises a question for a builder or constructor – Should I hire a quantity surveyor or a cost estimator? 


In this blog, we will break down the differences between an online estimator and a quantity surveyor. But first, it is important to have a look at their roles, and why are they relevant to any construction project. 


Roles of an Online Estimator


Online cost estimators play a significant role in the construction planning process. This includes initial cost estimation – labour cost, resource cost, materials cost, etc. 


Their initial objective is to accurately predict and estimate the potential costs that might be involved in a construction project, and help the contractor to win the tender. 


Apart from this, they are also responsible for looking after customer requirements, analyse time delivery times, and most importantly, minimise the difference between the estimated cost and actual cost. 


All in all, construction estimation services provided by an online estimator revolves around helping the contractor to win the tender through the accurate estimation, and then keep a close eye on the progress of the project, so that it gets delivered within the initially estimated time and budget. 


What Does a Quantity Surveyor Do? 


A Quantity surveyor is involved in detailed preparation of initial contracts, which involve strategic planning, cost estimation, resource allocation, etc. They also help in Tender negotiation for builders. Once the project starts, a quantity surveyor is deeply engaged in the following aspects:


  • Cost analysis for on-going maintenance, repair work, potential inflation, etc. 
  • Evaluate subcontractor applications
  • Procure subcontractors 
  • Prepare bill of quantities for the end client
  • Create a manage the contract between contractors, subcontractors, and clients
  • Regular on-site assessments – Resource allocation, quality control, etc. 
  • Ensure timely payments for stakeholders involved. 


It is fair to say that an online estimator and a quantity surveyor have predominantly similar roles with a common objective – Smooth operation of a construction project, ensuring minimum financial risks, and getting the work done within the estimated budget & time. 


However, there are a few intricate differences that will answer the question – Should I hire a quantity surveyor or a cost estimator? 


  1. A quantity surveyor has a broader set of skills that helps them to offer expertise in multiple areas of a construction project. To put it simply, their skill set is a combination of engineering, construction, finance, and management. A Quantity surveyor is usually involved in more extensive and more complex projects. The crux of the matter is – you ought to decide if you need a specific service related to cost estimation, or you need someone who can handle the A-Z of your project. Online estimators can handle the former with utmost precision, while the latter is more like a ‘jack of all trades’. 


  1. Online estimators are primarily focused on developing an accurate cost and time estimation, that will help the contractor to win a tender. On the other hand, a quantity surveyor provides details regarding material requirements, labour requirements, Bill of Quantities, contract management between contractors and subcontractors, etc.


  1. Online estimators are specifically important during the tendering phase before starting a project. They do assist in the case of additional requirements or cost changes during the project as well. However, a quantity surveyor is involved, before, during, and after the project, even for tax depreciation, replacement cost schedules, etc.  A Quantity surveyor has more applications.


Hence, it is fair to conclude that despite their share of similarities and differences, both a cost estimator and a quantity surveyor plays a significant role in the construction industry. As mentioned earlier, the importance of construction estimation services is more so relevant in today’s real estate space. 


Conclusions – Quantity Surveyor

The Estimating Group Ltd. provides pro estimating services, especially to players in the construction industry. We are known to provide accurate estimating services through our proprietary estimating software. Our team of professional online estimators and quantity surveyor team are looking forward to helping you in all ways possible. Contact us at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation.


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