Mash Halai on the role of the Quantity Surveyor

Over the next two decades I would like to see a greater importance being placed on the role of the Quantity Surveyor. In the first instance I think this will be driven by factors such as compliance, the management of information and security of funding. We are already seeing an increase in client focus on compliance, especially in the housing sector. I have no doubt we will see funding from major housing bodies being refocused on the compliance of their housing stock in the very near future.

Along with compliance, we may see an increase in demand for Quantity Surveyors to undertake forensic reviews of historic projects, identifying overspend and areas in which a contract hasn’t been fulfilled properly. This is an area where Quantity Surveyors are underused at present, but one where I believe the role has the greatest potential to add value.

Following the collapse of Carillion and the questions surrounding its failure it is likely that the future will see a rise in the demand for bank monitoring. A role which sits perfectly with us, as Quantity Surveyors bridge the gap between funding institutions and construction projects – translating a projects progress and clearly identifying future issues.

Like any sector, technology will play a huge role in the development of the Quantity Surveyor, with communication platforms like Skype continuing to reduce the need for travel, while improving international working and onsite communication. We are already using systems with digital plans and automated measurement which saves time, improves accuracy and provides compliance and change control. These systems will continue to get more sophisticated over the next decades linking in directly with the contractor and client to increase pricing accuracy.

From a personal perspective, I would like to think that we will be brought in earlier on projects in the future. Helping to drive value for money within the design process and setting the ground rules for a project’s return on investment at the outset. In 25 years I would like to think that BIM will be fully embraced on all projects creating significant time savings across the board.

One area that has yet to be solved in the last 25 years, is the issue surrounding recruitment. We seem to be in a cycle of graduate unemployment followed by skills shortages. Our hope is that the fantastic work being undertaken by the likes of the RICS and the Construction Youth Trust (to name but a few) is taken onboard by schools and their career advisors. This is a fantastic industry to be a part of, but we are only as good as the people it employs. Attracting and retaining the best talent will remain a critical factor for the success of the UK construction industry as we continue to compete on the global stage over the next 25 years.

Mash Chairman