Chartered Surveyors and Construction Projects

November 8, 2017 Posted by kyu7

Chartered Surveyors & the Construction Industry

In the UK, chartered surveyors are professionals with many varied roles across a wide variety of industries and specialisations. Essentially, all chartered surveyors are members of RICS; the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, based in London SW1, and are entitled use the suffix MRICS or FRICS [Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors]. To the public in general, the chartered surveyor is someone who works in the construction industry, and indeed the majority are specialists in building, property management and similar fields. However, many other areas require the services of a chartered surveyor, including fine art and antiques, mineral surveying and auctioneering.

Within the construction and property fields, chartered surveyors are involved in performing surveys for homebuyers, valuations for mortgage companies, full surveys of buildings, consultancy on construction developments, as well as land surveys, management of estates and various other areas relating to land and property. Chartered surveyors tend to specialise within these fields, and frequently form professional partnerships with those working in different areas within the same industry.

RICS & Construction Contracts

Construction contracts are at the heart of every building project undertaken in the UK, and are designed to be legally binding agreements between the building owner [developer] and the contractor(s) who will be performing the work. Labour costs, the supply of labour for the project, costs and supply of materials, and the time frame for the completion of the project are all covered in the contract, as are the specifications, design plans, and agreements regarding any potential changes during the build.

The RICS is closely involved with construction contracts, and issues both statements that outline best practice guidelines for surveyors, and mandatory practice statements that cover all aspects of the varied roles of chartered surveyors during construction projects. These roles include not just building and quantity surveyors, but also valuers and project managers. Many of the mandatory and advisory statements produced by RICS relate to the role of chartered surveyors with regard to construction contracts, and RICS members are required to follow them.

Contract Administration

Building contracts in the UK fall into a variety of subcategories. Some of the most common are as follows:

• International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC)
• Public Procurement Contract 2000 (PPC 2000)
• The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT)
• New Engineering Contract (NEC)

Chartered surveyors working on building projects are therefore called on to deal not only with contract administration, but also with areas of project management that can include material and labour costs, initial planning and feasibility studies (including site surveying and legal issues), site and building safety, preventing and resolving any disputes that may arise, and building control.

Contract administration is critical to the successful completion of a construction project, and chartered surveyors have an important role to play. As well as overseeing the fulfilment of the agreed contract, and being involved in its termination, issues arising before the contract is agreed can include insurance for both the contractor and the project owner, warranties and guarantees, and adequate provision to cover any potential time overruns, payment difficulties, and defective work. The role of surveyors in relation to building contracts can include working with and managing the use of non-standard contracts, as well as those outlined above.

The Role of the Employer’s Agent

On a design and build contract a chartered surveyor will often be engaged as an Employer’s Agent, a role which can vary greatly depending on the specific needs of the client or the project itself. The role can also be affected by the amount of time which is available, but essentially the Employer’s Agent acts for the client on any matters relating to the construction contract. Typical projects in which an Employer’s Agent might be engaged include large commercial or public property building contracts. RICS provides guidelines explaining the full range of services and activities which may be undertaken by the Employer’s Agent.

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