Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Architecture engineering, Construction engineering


Cost overruns are commonplace at all stages of the construction development process. This study discusses the practice and procedure employed by consultant quantity surveyors in controlling costs during the construction stage of traditionally procured building contracts. The discussion outlines generic cost planning and control procedures and advises practitioners to focus on the main areas of cost risk, - these typically arise as a result of incomplete design development. Particular emphasis is placed on the need to control expenditure under PC sums and provisional sums. The study outlines procedures regarding the administration of variations, claims for increased costs of labour and materials, and claims relating to delays and disruption of the contractor’s progress. The discussion also identifies the need for an appropriate contingency based on realistic risk assessments be retained to cover possible shocks during construction.

The QS as lead cost advisor must persuade the consultants to ‘design to cost’ and must be aware of the day-to-day developments on site in order to advise his/her colleagues promptly of any emerging cost issues in order that effective corrective action may be taken in good time. The QS also reports regularly on the financial position of the contract and is involved in proposing initiatives and solutions to resolve cost issues.

Controlling costs during the post contract phase is a challenging task and requires the QS to provide timely and accurate cost advice. He/she must also be able to work with the client, the contract administrator, the design team, and the contractor in order to meet this challenge. This study is addressed to Irish students undertaking studies on undergraduate and conversion masters courses in quantity surveying and construction management related disciplines.