A good QS will make you their salary back and some!

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Paul Heming

July 8th, 2022
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I feel fortunate that we have built a fantastic network of construction professionals in our community in the last few years. We have almost 20,000 architects, project managers, quantity surveyors and subcontractors, and a few months back, we thought we’d use this to do some research.

My first boss always said to me, “a good QS will make back their salary and some on a project”, and this is something that stuck with me, and I always agreed with. I believe that a good Quantity Surveyor adds major value to a project and should be able to procure intelligently, value engineer and agree variations, among many other things.

In doing so, they will deliver their salary and some in return – what’s not to like?

During my career, I managed a large team of Quantity Surveyors and I found my team was often too busy spending time on unnecessary low-value tasks rather than delivering maximum value.

Everything being very paper-based and repetitive, excel and word documents, copy and pasting etc. Instead of value engineering and agreeing new variations, they were doing data input and other menial tasks which held them back.

I mainly saw this with procurement which is one of the reasons we created our product at C-Link.

Speaking to more and more main contractors and companies who do subcontract procurement, it became apparent that it wasn’t just my team and me; the whole industry was spending lots of time doing low-value tasks.

I therefore wanted to leverage our community to understand exactly how much time tasks took and showcase this to the sector.

We surveyed how long it takes to complete the subcontract tendering process on one package.

The results are pretty shocking.

We asked Quantity Surveyors how long it took them to do the following tasks for a single subcontract package:

  • Build a procurement schedule and pre-qualify subcontractors. Answer: 3.5 hours
  • Allocate the correct drawings and documents to the specific package. Answer: 2.5 hours
  • Produce a scope of works: Answer: 1.5 hours
  • Produce a measured BoQ. Answer: 6 hours
  • Complete a full tender analysis. Answer: 5 hours
  • Complete mid-tender interviews: Answer: 8 hours
  • Draft the subcontract. Answer: 4 hours

The results of our research show that, on average, construction professionals think they spend circa 30 hours taking a single subcontract package “from the cradle of identifying the best supply chain to the grave of placing a subcontract order. That is four working days for a single person.

Now multiply that by, let’s say, 20 subcontractors on a standard project, and you have nearly 600 hours or the equivalent of 15 weeks to procure a project for one individual.

Can you believe it?

I was a QS, and I can.

That is one of the reasons I founded C-Link, as I felt so much of that process was unnecessary and could be automated. I believe the 30 hours per package can be automated and improved to bring it down to closer to 10 hours per project, which is what we do at C-Link.

I am a firm believer in what my first boss told me about how as Quantity Surveyors, we should be able to earn my salary back and some on a project.

But imagine if we had 10 extra weeks (reducing the 15 weeks to 5 weeks) in a year to do it.  How much more intelligent procurement could we do?

C-Link is the future of subcontract procurement. Trust me.

The software will create contracts, match you with vetted subbies and automate your procurement process. If you manage subbies, check out our tool to see how much time we can save you.

If you want to free up your Quantity Surveyors time, learn how much time you could save by trying our free calculator tool by clicking here.

About Paul Heming

Paul was a Quantity Surveyor who gained 10 years experience of managing £200 million worth of flagship UK projects, including 20 Fenchurch Street and Battersea Power Station. In 2015, Paul founded C-Link with the intention of sharing his expertise of managing major projects with the SME market.

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