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Surveyors key to successful construction projects

Surveyors play a critical role in the delivery of building project, from inception to construction and beyond

Quantity surveyors play a critical role in cost- and programme-management right the way through the project until the point when the building is ready for handover to the client. Photograph: iStock

Quantity surveyors play a critical role in cost- and programme-management right the way through the project until the point when the building is ready for handover to the client. Photograph: iStock

 

Think of any point in the lifespan of a building and a chartered surveyor is likely to be involved in some way. Indeed, they are involved long before construction or even design begins. “There is a wide range of disciplines from the quantity surveying side on construction projects to facilities management on finished building which involve professional surveyors,” explains Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) director general Áine Myler.

“Surveyors really are involved from one end to the other and everything in between, including project management, building surveying, valuation and so on. Geomatic surveyors are involved at the very beginning. They are among the most technologically advanced cohorts in the profession. They use drones, satellite imaging, and advanced modelling software to image why you could try to put on a site. They do a huge amount of what is scenario work to see what could be built on a site.”

Once design goes ahead, quantity surveyors play a critical role in cost- and programme-management right the way through the project until the point when the building is ready for handover to the client.

“That’s where valuation surveyors come in,” Myler points out. “If the building is to be sold or let out, the services of a surveyor are required. After that comes property management. Any kind of major building has to be managed by facilities managers who are chartered surveyors. Professional facilities management has advanced considerably in Ireland over the past 20 years as a result of the huge amount of new stock that was delivered. We may not look back on the Celtic tiger with an awful lot of fondness, but it did produce a lot of much-needed development.”

Changes in the market have also brought the discipline to the fore. “Strategic facilities management is now very important to the institutions and major international groups who are investing in Irish property. The Googles and the Facebooks also recognise the expertise required to run and manage major buildings.”

The links between surveying and facilities management have always been strong and this led to a merger between SCSI and the Irish Property and Facilities Managers Association in 2014.

Building surveyors get involved when a property has been in operation for a number of years. “They will draw up schedules of dilapidation at the end of leases and so on,” says Myler. “This is quite a wide area of practice. They are also registered professionals under the Building Control Act.”

Project management

Project management is another facet of professional surveying which has come to the fore in recent years. “It’s now almost a prerequisite of a funder that you put a project manager in place to report on all milestones of a project as they are reached,” she continues. “Project management is a natural progression for surveyors as they have the right mix of on-the-ground experience and professional and business skills.”

These are just a few of the professional groups covered by SCSI. Others include commercial agency surveying, minerals surveying, planning and development, residential agency, rural agency, and arts and antiques surveying.

“We see our role as setting and maintaining the highest standards of competence and integrity among the profession and acting in the public interest to produce research and advice on areas such as building costs and so on,” says Myler. “The Government and its agencies need data to make informed decisions on areas such as housing policy and part of our role is to provide it.”

The organisation also has a regulatory role. “We develop policies, standards and guidelines for our members and we work closely with other professional bodies and educational institutions like DIT on educational and continuing professional development programmes,” Myler adds. “We are also the body statutorily responsible for the regulation of quantity surveyors and building surveyors under the Building Control Act. People can be confident that they will get the highest professional standards when they retain the services of an SCSI member.”