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Differences between Quantity Surveying & Cost



 Copyright 2009, CMS Inc. All rights reserved

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Differences between Quantity Surveying & Cost


Author: Brian Melick, PQS

Project Principle
Phone: (519) 336-4672
Fax: (519) 336-4774
Email: brianmelick@cms-inc.ca

Copyright 2009 CMS Inc. 2 Quantity Surveying vs. Cost Engineering

Differences between Quantity Surveying & Cost Engineering

This paper discusses the fundamental differences between the role and activities of cost engineers and
quantity surveyors. It is broken down into sub sections as follows:

• Primary Skills - what are the primary skills that professionals in each of these basis and for which
they have become most recognized as providing.

• Fields of Specialization - The specific fields that each of these professionals is typically hired to

• Level of Involvement in Projects - Looks at what details and what stage of the project life cycle that
a PQS (Professional Quantity Surveyor) or Cost Engineer will involve themselves with.

• Types of Projects - What projects do each of these professions get involved with.

Primary Skills

Each of these professions carries a wide variety of skills and skill levels. There are however, specific
primary areas which each of these professions tends to participate in. Listed below are the various primary
skills each uses within there scope of a project.

Quantity Surveyor

• Cost Estimating

• Feasibility Studies

• Advise on Construction cost planning

• Preparing Tender documents

• Develop / Manage Cost Control Systems

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Cost Engineer

• Cost Estimating

• Cost Analysis

• Cost & Schedule Control

• Constructability Planning

Fields of Specialization
Each of these professions tends to have individuals or groups that specialize in a particular area of interest.
The following are the areas of specialization most common.

Quantity Surveying

• Preparing Cost Estimates

• Project Monitoring Services

• Mediation & Arbitration

• Life Cycle Costing

Cost Engineering

• Cost Estimating & Control

• Profitability Analysis

• Planning & Scheduling

• Mediation & Arbitration

• Life Cycle Costing

Copyright 2009 CMS Inc. 4 Quantity Surveying vs. Cost Engineering

Level of Project Involvement
Each of these professions tends to get involved at a different level and stage of a project. Listed below are
key areas or levels of involvement most commonly seen for each of the professions.

Quantity Surveying

• Preliminary Estimating

• Controlling cost through the Design stage

• Analyze cost effectiveness

• Cost checks at various stages of the project

Cost Engineering

• Estimating

• Project Planning & Scheduling

• Project Control

• Project Closeout

Types of Projects
Each of these professions deals with similar projects and deal with different projects as can be seen below.
These are the types of projects dealt with most commonly.

Quantity Surveying

• Residential projects

• Commercial Projects

• Institutional / Public projects

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Cost Engineering

• Commercial

• Institutional / Public

• Industrial / Manufacturing

• Non-Appreciable Projects

A PQS provides a comprehensive knowledge of construction and construction methods with the ability to
provide cost and financial advice at any stage of the project. A PQS rarely focuses on schedule or controls
with regard to the project. Therefore, with a profession covering such a wide field of expertise, PQS
members tend to specialize in a specific area.

Cost Engineers are proactive in providing scope and change management; therefore allowing the owner
the ability to unbiasedly monitor / manage their project. Cost Engineers incorporate all aspects of cost and
schedule control whenever required by the client in order to keep the project objectively assessed while
controlling costs and schedule.

Copyright 2009 CMS Inc. 6 Quantity Surveying vs. Cost Engineering