Did you know that a quantity surveyor can give you independent building cost advice on your house plans and ideas, and help you decide whether to renovate or sell?

Welcome to the Renovation Collaborative ‘On the tools’ podcast, where I interview industry experts to find out practical information to help you renovate smarter. My name is Stephanie Skyring. I’m an Australian architect with 20+ years of experience helping people create better, more environmental homes on any budget.

In the previous episode, I spoke to a building cost estimator. In today’s episode, you’ll find out how a quantity surveyor can also provide you with independent building cost advice. You’ll get further insights into building costing that will add value to your residential project, whether you’re an owner, an architect, a building designer or a builder.

I’ll be talking to highly respected quantity surveyor, Flavio Costanzo from Flavio Costanzo and Associates building cost consultants, in Brisbane.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

00:00 Introduction

01:16 What is the difference between a quantity surveyor and a building cost estimator?

06:42 At what stages of the design process would a quantity surveyor provide costing advice?

11:13 Do you provide cost estimates at the tender stage for builders?

19:06 When you are putting together an estimate, where do the material and labour prices come from?

20:01 What are the benefits of obtaining independent building cost advice from a quantity surveyor?

20:39 Can a quantity surveyor give advice for the whole of Australia or are they more locally based?

21:17 Key Points Summary

KEY POINTS SUMMARY

We cover so much useful information in this interview, however there are three critical points that came out of the discussion:

1. The first point was that quantity surveyors (QS) and building cost estimators come from different backgrounds, but when it comes to residential costing they work in very similar ways.

  • Either one can provide the cost education you need. You just need to find someone local.
  • Although I did not cover it in this episode, the costs for a quantity surveyor’s services are very similar to those of building cost estimator. I covered a building cost estimator’s services and costs in the previous episode.

2. The second point was again about the critical importance of obtaining costing advice early in the design phase, to ensure your budget and design brief are aligned, before you go too far. Ideally this should happen at two stages:

  • First at the concept design stage when you have just got rough floor plans, to confirm your ideas are even feasible.
  • The second stage, if you proceed that far is at the detailed (developed) design stage, when you have floor plans and elevations and a bit more information. But you haven’t gone to Town Planning and you haven’t gone as far as getting full engineering done. You may have partial engineering if you need that information based on your design. This is so important, I just can’t stress this enough.

3. The third interesting point is that both quantity surveyors and cost estimators provide costings for builders at tender stage. Many builders don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own tender estimates. It’s important to note that all builders will have their own suppliers and buying power, and this will lead to a different final tender price outcome. 

WANT TO READ MORE?

Download the written version of the entire interview as a PDF. It’s edited into clear Q&A so it’s easy to follow:

S1:E3 On the Tools with a Quantity Surveyor – Transcript

Find more information on the Renovation Collaborative website podcast page:

www.renovationcollaborative.com.au/podcast

IN THE NEXT EPISODE

You’ll find out all about square metre rates – What they are, how they are calculated, and why building cost professionals hate them! 

I’ll be talking again to Quantity Surveyor Flavio Costanzo from Flavio Costanzo and Associates, Building Cost Consultants, in Brisbane.

RESOURCE LINKS

Flavio Costanzo and Associates. Quantity Surveyors and Building Cost Consultants

https://au.linkedin.com/in/flavio-costanzo-6165b22a

www.renovationcollaborative.com.au

Renovation Collaborative Social Media

https://www.instagram.com/renovationcollaborative/

https://www.facebook.com/renovationcollaborative

https://www.linkedin.com/company/renovation-collaborative

Transcript
Stephanie:

Do you need to know more information about the cost of house

Stephanie:

construction to help you decide whether to renovate or sell?

Stephanie:

Did you know that you can get.

Stephanie:

Independent cost advice from a quantity surveyor?

Stephanie:

Welcome to the Renovation Collaborative on the Tools podcast, where I interview industry

Stephanie:

experts to find out practical information to help you renovate smarter.

Stephanie:

My name is Stephanie Skyring.

Stephanie:

I'm an australian architect with 20 plus years

Stephanie:

of experience helping people create better, more environmental homes on any budget.

Stephanie:

In the previous episode, I spoke to a building cost estimator.

Stephanie:

In today's episode, you'll find out how a quantity surveyor can also provide you with

Stephanie:

independent building cost advice.

Stephanie:

You'll get further insights into building

Stephanie:

costing, which will add value to your renovation project.

Stephanie:

Whether you're an owner, a builder, an architect, or a building designer.

Stephanie:

I'll be talking to highly respected quantity surveyor Falavio Costanzo from Flavio Costanzo

Stephanie:

and associates, quantity surveyors and building cost consultants.

Stephanie:

Good morning, Flav, and thank you so much for joining me on the renovation

Stephanie:

collaborative on the Tools podcast.

Flavio:

My pleasure, Steph.

Stephanie:

So my first question today, understanding that we spoke to a cost

Stephanie:

estimator last week, the other specialist who can provide independent cost advice, can you

Stephanie:

tell me what a quantity surveyor or qs, what their background is to help us understand the

Stephanie:

difference?

Flavio:

Well, the background's changed significantly.

Flavio:

When I started my course at QIT, it was a six year course, part time.

Flavio:

The main thrust of quantum surveyors then was doing bills of quantities, a detailed takeoff

Flavio:

that every, you then put it out to tender and every builder prices on the scope that's in

Flavio:

that bill of quantities.

Flavio:

They don't have to reflect on the drawings

Flavio:

other than to gauge the complexity and the access issues and those.

Stephanie:

Oh, interesting.

Stephanie:

Oh, yeah.

Stephanie:

I didn't know that.

Flavio:

Yeah. Sometimes the cost can be difficult to be reflected by the sheer, just

Flavio:

the basic quantities.

Stephanie:

Yes.

Flavio:

Because one of the big issues is when an architect selects an expensive product,

Flavio:

what's the waste? How much am I going to waste of this product

Flavio:

in the design that the architect has selected for something?

Flavio:

And that's what builders get frustrated mostly about.

Flavio:

I mean, if you got a 30% wastage factor on an expensive product, because.

Stephanie:

The sheet material, hypothetically versus board.

Flavio:

Exactly.

Flavio:

Come in sheets, come in sizes, and architect

Flavio:

picks a certain size of the way he wants to define it on that project, and the waste

Flavio:

factor can be an absolute killer.

Flavio:

So doing a bit of quantities is fine for

Flavio:

commercial buildings.

Flavio:

Most of the estimators in there are pretty

Flavio:

well, look at the drawing.

Flavio:

Make a gut feeling reaction as to what the

Flavio:

wastage factor could be.

Flavio:

And that's what they tender on.

Flavio:

And everybody prices the same quantities because it's.

Stephanie:

Because it's been given to them as the quantities.

Stephanie:

Oh, wow.

Flavio:

That's it.

Stephanie:

And is that the same now in commercial construction?

Flavio:

No. Well, it's changed significantly.

Flavio:

I mean, I've also done jobs in Sydney and

Flavio:

Melbourne, and because we were running the job from Brisbane, I did a bit of quantities to

Flavio:

give me the level of comfort.

Flavio:

So when I go on site to do the progress claim,

Flavio:

I had some control as to what was being done.

Flavio:

So we prepared the bill at significant expense

Flavio:

and the builder just refused to price it.

Flavio:

He priced it on a lump sum off the drawings.

Flavio:

He didn't look at the bill at all.

Flavio:

The bills have passed.

Flavio:

They've gone into history.

Flavio:

They don't exist.

Flavio:

I'll still produce them now.

Flavio:

Occasionally.

Flavio:

I've done a job not so long ago for a job in south Brisbane.

Flavio:

But builders, the modern cost estimating office, doesn't know what to do with the bill

Flavio:

of quantities.

Flavio:

They want to engage the subcontractors to

Flavio:

price their scope from the drawing?

Stephanie:

Yes. They want to make their own assessments.

Flavio:

Make their own assessments.

Flavio:

They don't want to commit themselves to a rate

Flavio:

for a variation, which is what the premier.

Flavio:

The function of a bill of quantities is.

Flavio:

If the scope changes of a quantity, you've got a rate.

Flavio:

Builders hate giving you a rate.

Flavio:

They want to start from scratch every time and

Flavio:

get a price from their subcontractor.

Flavio:

So the subcontractor is happy.

Flavio:

He's made his assessment, he's had a good run on the job.

Flavio:

He doesn't need to be at extra profit on the job to cover what he may have underestimated

Flavio:

initially.

Flavio:

But if you have a rate, it's locked down in

Flavio:

concrete, and then that's where the problems start.

Stephanie:

So we were talking then about commercial costings and estimates.

Stephanie:

So really, is that predominantly the background of quantity surveyor is more in the

Stephanie:

commercial sector?

Flavio:

That's where we predominantly used to flourish because of the bill of quantities

Flavio:

issue.

Flavio:

Repairing bills of quantities for the industry

Flavio:

to price to enable a client to have a more accurate assessment of what his final cost is

Flavio:

going to be.

Flavio:

Without variations, of course.

Flavio:

But that's predominantly where it came from? Yes.

Stephanie:

And so now.

Stephanie:

So now quantity surveyors, typical quantity

Stephanie:

surveying firms, still work predominantly, and you're trained predominantly for the

Stephanie:

commercial sector, is that right? More so.

Stephanie:

I mean, obviously you'll be trained for residential as well, because that's just a

Stephanie:

very small area, but there's just so much different diversity of work isn't there in qs

Stephanie:

as well.

Flavio:

It would be predominantly commercial.

Flavio:

You don't necessarily get trained for

Flavio:

residential.

Flavio:

I mean, I personally stumbled into

Flavio:

residential, as you tend to my involvement.

Flavio:

Getting into residential was probably started

Flavio:

with doing work in the building tribunal as an expert witnessed.

Flavio:

Where you get.

Flavio:

An engineer would do a structural assessment

Flavio:

of a problem, the building surveyor would do another assessment.

Flavio:

They give you.

Flavio:

This is the problem, this is how it should be

Flavio:

fixed.

Flavio:

And by doing things and itemize things in

Flavio:

great detail, you start to develop this different thinking than you do as a quantity

Flavio:

surveyor on a commercial job.

Flavio:

So doing things in minute detail led me into

Flavio:

then being recommended to do estimates on residential projects.

Stephanie:

Okay, so therefore, thinking about quantity surveyors in general, I mean, that's

Stephanie:

an unusual path that you've been down, being expert witness.

Stephanie:

Not really.

Stephanie:

I mean, people do it, but not everyone would.

Stephanie:

You've got to have a certain level of knowledge.

Stephanie:

So therefore, thinking about quantity surveyors, would many work, would many work in

Stephanie:

residential or nothing? I mean, if people were to look for a quantity

Stephanie:

surveyor, they would have to ask about to find one.

Flavio:

They would struggle.

Stephanie:

So, for a typical renovation or new house project, what stages of the design

Stephanie:

process does a quantity surveyor provide costing advice?

Flavio:

Normally I've dealt mostly with architects or owners.

Flavio:

The architect, normally, most of the architects I've dealt with start me off at

Flavio:

concept stage, which is the example I brought you here.

Flavio:

And that's more or less for them to get a level of insurance that when they talk to

Flavio:

their client, being a renovation project, which I find myself doing more of, more often,

Flavio:

they want to give the client a very clear understanding of where, what the budget's

Flavio:

going to be.

Flavio:

So obviously the client confers with the

Flavio:

architect in detail.

Flavio:

The architect gets an overall picture of

Flavio:

what's there after he puts it on, it does an initial concept plan, it comes to me and says,

Flavio:

what's it going to cost to do an estimate? Depending upon the way the architect wants to

Flavio:

come across to his client that he's being thorough and he's not going off on square

Flavio:

metre rights, which are the dread.

Flavio:

I hate square meter rights.

Flavio:

Personally.

Flavio:

As I mentioned to you before, unless you've

Flavio:

got a good collaborative relationship with an architect and they know what they're thinking

Flavio:

and what they're likely to do, and we all then talk about the same level of gross flow area,

Flavio:

people get confused what the gross floor area is.

Flavio:

So unless you've got that understanding, nobody can give you fare through accurate cost

Flavio:

per square meter.

Flavio:

So concept stage, very sketchy drawings,

Flavio:

sometimes not even a scale on them.

Flavio:

But you got to find out what the scale is.

Flavio:

And I take off the quantities as if I was doing a semi detailed estimate.

Flavio:

So it's not broken down in great detail because the detail isn't there to reflect it.

Flavio:

But you use your knowledge of what you know should be there as a quantity surveyor.

Flavio:

It's not what's necessarily on the drawing, only it's what you know is going to be there.

Flavio:

You know from previous work, you get previous work and from then on, questions start to

Flavio:

develop in my mind.

Flavio:

What else hasn't he thought of?

Flavio:

So I collaborate with him.

Flavio:

He's giving me a very brief indication of what

Flavio:

he thinks his client wants.

Flavio:

But then I flesh out what he maybe may have

Flavio:

thought about, but hadn't necessarily committed to paper.

Flavio:

So then I build up a cost of more, probably more reflective of what.

Flavio:

It's not what's on the drawing, it's more what should be on the drawing, even at that

Flavio:

preliminary stage, so that the cost is accurately cut.

Stephanie:

That concept design stage, it could be hand drawn or floor plans.

Stephanie:

As long as they're to scale.

Stephanie:

Everything's to scale.

Stephanie:

So you can basically scale off it?

Flavio:

That's correct.

Flavio:

I mean, I can still work off freehand drawings

Flavio:

as long as they are drawn approximately to scale.

Flavio:

But most architects don't go to that stage.

Flavio:

There's a couple of dinosaurs around.

Stephanie:

Like, God, I still do freehand concert.

Stephanie:

Because it's quick.

Flavio:

I know it's quick.

Stephanie:

Would that be like a floor plan? No elevations?

Stephanie:

Would that work? Or would you prefer to have elevations?

Stephanie:

It's sort of trying to work out that renovate or sell scenario.

Flavio:

A floor plan is the basic.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Flavio:

And then a series of photos.

Stephanie:

Yep. And a rough section maybe so, you know, your ceiling height or even.

Flavio:

Just, even just asking the question, what are we talking about ceiling heights?

Flavio:

What are we putting? Extending the roof?

Flavio:

You know, what's the pitch and all that sort of stuff.

Flavio:

The basic roof, the basic information, have we got trusses?

Flavio:

We're going to have a raking ceiling and all that sort of stuff.

Flavio:

That has a significant impact.

Stephanie:

It does.

Flavio:

You would know.

Stephanie:

Okay, so that's concept design.

Stephanie:

So then what was the next stage that you would

Stephanie:

get involved?

Flavio:

The next stage to confirm what was come up with at concept stage is to go through

Flavio:

the detailed design stage where there's a bit of engineering input to make sure that the

Flavio:

structural allowances that I may have made in the correct order, that I've made the right

Flavio:

assumptions.

Flavio:

I tend to take the liberty of deciding on

Flavio:

behalf of the engineer what he's going to need.

Flavio:

So I put in a beam, but I don't, naturally, I put in a know it's going to cost me dollar 100

Flavio:

a metre for a beam to span that distance, because he's taking away the two garage doors

Flavio:

and putting in a single garage door.

Flavio:

So not a great deal of rocket science

Flavio:

involved.

Flavio:

We can have a beam and a couple of columns, so

Flavio:

I can take the initiative of that at concept stage.

Flavio:

But when you get to the detailed design stage and then engineers get involved, you can fine

Flavio:

tune that to a more accurate figure.

Stephanie:

Okay, so we started with concept, which was the floor plans.

Stephanie:

No elevations, but understanding the form of the building.

Stephanie:

And then we've done more detailed plans, which was floor plans, elevations, etcetera.

Stephanie:

And then the final stage, when you've got everything together, do you ever cost at that

Stephanie:

stage? Because that would be not so much.

Stephanie:

Well, I still suppose it's still an estimate, isn't it?

Stephanie:

But it's more the same, at the same stage as a builder would price.

Stephanie:

If you're working for a builder, though, the builder, he would be potentially using your

Stephanie:

price as a tender price.

Stephanie:

Is that right?

Flavio:

Absolutely. And I do quite a few of those on the larger home, 2,000,003 $4 million

Flavio:

homes.

Flavio:

But the other interesting point is that a lot

Flavio:

of even small building contractors who do residential don't like doing measuring,

Flavio:

measuring off drawings.

Flavio:

Normally, most of them are still people that

Flavio:

are on the tools and they're on the tools all day, and then they've got to come home to

Flavio:

price the next job.

Flavio:

And so they're working 16 1780 nowadays and

Flavio:

measuring up drawings in the dark at night and all that will the variety of software packages

Flavio:

out there.

Flavio:

So there are a number of smaller builders who

Flavio:

do rely on quantity surveyors to repair the basic estimate for them.

Flavio:

And that's a true collaboration.

Flavio:

You're working with the builder, you're not

Flavio:

spending a lot of time on those things.

Flavio:

Where he's going to get a lump sum price for

Flavio:

the specialist stuff.

Flavio:

Windows is a classic timber or aluminium

Flavio:

windows.

Flavio:

There's no point wasting quantity.

Flavio:

Save's time in figuring out what the cost is, because you can go straight to a supplier and

Flavio:

he'll get a supply cost.

Flavio:

That's when I approach things differently,

Flavio:

because a builder normally approaches things from how much labor am I going to have on

Flavio:

site? I'm going to take 40 weeks, I'm going to have

Flavio:

two carpenters, I'm going to have a junior etcetera.

Flavio:

So you then spend most of the time sourcing material costs only for the carpentry side of

Flavio:

the home.

Flavio:

When it comes to concrete and all those

Flavio:

things, that's a fairly fixed approach.

Flavio:

It doesn't matter whether it's commercial,

Flavio:

residential, concrete supplied at a rate, it's laid at a rate, reinforcement supplied at a

Flavio:

rate, et cetera, et cetera.

Flavio:

But the carpentry side, all the linings and

Flavio:

that sort of stuff, it tends to work out the material costs.

Flavio:

And you normally get that from a builder to build a basis.

Flavio:

They don't try and tell them what the price of a piece of timber is.

Flavio:

Each one has their own buying power.

Stephanie:

That's right.

Stephanie:

They all have their own suppliers that they go

Stephanie:

to don't.

Flavio:

And buying power, there's a price that you might have, the price that your builder a

Flavio:

might get something for and build a b. It could be totally different.

Stephanie:

Oh, how interesting.

Flavio:

It's not the same.

Flavio:

It's not the same at all.

Flavio:

So you got to be careful about, you know, is it mechanically graded?

Flavio:

PI in class 1012 or 15.

Flavio:

And sometimes you got to knock that out.

Flavio:

Sometimes it's not clear.

Flavio:

And you're going to make sure that the builder

Flavio:

gets you the rate that he can buy it for, not me telling him what it's worth to buy.

Flavio:

And so you work out all the material costs and then in the collaboration again, you work out

Flavio:

that you're going to have two senior carpenters who's on their team, who's on the

Flavio:

team, and you price that in as a lump sum of labor.

Flavio:

A labor lump sum excluding things like specialist things like plasterboard.

Flavio:

A lot of carpenters, a lot of builders tend to fix their own plasterboard and then they get

Flavio:

somebody in to set it and finish it.

Flavio:

They separate some of those costs in

Flavio:

Queensland, I might add, not in most other places.

Flavio:

So you tend to those things can become priced as a labor and material cost.

Flavio:

But the carpentry side, the stud work, the bracing and all that sort of things that you

Flavio:

and I both know have to go into a project are done by the builders, carpenters and those

Flavio:

things.

Flavio:

You just got to work out the material cost and

Flavio:

make sure you've covered all your material costs accurately.

Flavio:

And then the labor cost is something.

Flavio:

You stand back and you talk it.

Flavio:

I talk it through, yeah.

Flavio:

Two guys, three guys for 630 weeks, 40 weeks.

Flavio:

This guy be here for four weeks after that, etcetera.

Stephanie:

Oh, that's interesting.

Stephanie:

So I understand now how that's different.

Stephanie:

And that is interesting because I remember talking to a builder about a particular job,

Stephanie:

because I know these days a lot of builders won't tender.

Stephanie:

There's just work around.

Stephanie:

And so they so often you could be going into a

Stephanie:

job with just one builder.

Stephanie:

And so I suppose that's why I was interested

Stephanie:

about how could a person get peace of mind if they've just got one builder?

Stephanie:

They want to know that they're paying market rate, and they also want to get some education

Stephanie:

about what they're actually getting, because some builders will give you a very

Stephanie:

comprehensive breakdown, but often some will almost give you a bottom line.

Stephanie:

And it's like, it's a bottom line of $2 million.

Stephanie:

Like, what's in there? What's not in there?

Stephanie:

Like, how do I know? So it is very much about education, isn't it,

Stephanie:

that you would get that price? But where I was going to with.

Stephanie:

That was, I remember talking to this.

Stephanie:

Builder, and I said to him, well, he said he wouldn't tender.

Stephanie:

So I said, that's fine.

Stephanie:

I said, can I get a. On behalf of my client,

Stephanie:

can I get an estimate for that as well? And he said, yes, but I want you to use my

Stephanie:

estimator, my quantity surveyor.

Stephanie:

And I didn't really understand why that was.

Stephanie:

But now you're telling me that's because whoever he was using as a cost estimate, as a

Stephanie:

quantity surveyor, estimator would have been getting his, using all that knowledge that.

Stephanie:

The way that he prices.

Flavio:

Yes.

Stephanie:

So that sort of makes sense, doesn't it?

Stephanie:

Because I didn't understand that.

Stephanie:

But it does make sense, because if I went off

Stephanie:

to someone else and got a separate estimate of the job, how would.

Stephanie:

I mean, it would have been different.

Flavio:

You'll never be able to compare two builders estimates.

Flavio:

One, as you say, one will give you a bottom line and the other will give you a breakup.

Flavio:

The one.

Flavio:

The other breakup, no rates, no prices, just a

Flavio:

series of quantities in the bottom line.

Stephanie:

Yes.

Flavio:

So that's how you know what's in the job.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I know when I. Because when I call prices in and they all come back and it's

Stephanie:

just a nightmare.

Stephanie:

Yeah, it's a nightmare.

Stephanie:

And you're sort of trying to read between the lines, and just as you're saying

Stephanie:

experience of what you're expecting and looking for variations and then asking them

Stephanie:

what they've grouped this with, that, or different things have been put together in

Stephanie:

different ways.

Stephanie:

So there's.

Stephanie:

And talking about that, then, is there any way to get around that?

Stephanie:

Because the cost estimator, in the previous interview, he said, if you could possibly get

Stephanie:

the estimate first and get the builder to price along the same lines as the estimate if

Stephanie:

you were doing one.

Stephanie:

But that won't necessarily work because I

Stephanie:

certainly know, talking to builders, that they say they put their jobs together in a certain

Stephanie:

way and that's what they always have done.

Stephanie:

They're not going to change it because their

Stephanie:

head wouldn't work to make sure everything's in there.

Stephanie:

Everyone sort of has to do it the way they do it that they do it, because it's such a lot of

Stephanie:

money and it's, you know, all goes pear shaped if they've missed things.

Flavio:

Correct.

Stephanie:

So I don't know what you do.

Stephanie:

So what is the outcome?

Flavio:

I can't give you an answer on that one.

Flavio:

I do my things elementally because it's a sanity check.

Flavio:

I know that if I do, if I put down, if I do a strip footing, have an excavation, the

Flavio:

concrete, the Rio, and I know it's enough.

Flavio:

It's a checklist.

Flavio:

I've done.

Flavio:

Yes, I've covered that.

Stephanie:

That's right.

Flavio:

Whereas a builder will go.

Flavio:

A lot of builders don't like pricing.

Flavio:

They hate it.

Stephanie:

Oh, no, they hate it.

Stephanie:

Yeah, no, I get it and it's not their gig.

Stephanie:

It's fine.

Stephanie:

But it's like, how do you.

Flavio:

Yeah, how do you balance at all?

Stephanie:

I don't know.

Flavio:

I know.

Flavio:

That's the mystery of all time, though.

Stephanie:

Yeah, okay.

Stephanie:

No worries.

Flavio:

I can't give you an insight.

Stephanie:

There's just no way to deal with that, is there?

Stephanie:

Like, I get why that builder that, you know, that said get it from my estimator

Stephanie:

to put it together.

Stephanie:

I can understand that now suddenly, after all

Stephanie:

these years, I was like, was that a really shady thing to say?

Stephanie:

But now when you say that it's because of his suppliers.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stephanie:

I totally didn't get that.

Stephanie:

So other than that, other than getting a builder and using his.

Stephanie:

But sometimes builders would put their own prices together so they wouldn't even be able

Stephanie:

to say, use my, use the estimator or quantity surveyor that I use.

Stephanie:

I don't know.

Stephanie:

Okay.

Stephanie:

We've just left people hanging there and they'll just have to stay that way.

Stephanie:

So how do you, when you're putting an estimate together, where do the materials and labor

Stephanie:

prices come from? You've touched on that a little bit.

Stephanie:

When you were talking about putting together the builder's price at the tender stage.

Stephanie:

When you were working for a builder to enable him to, he would be using your price and you

Stephanie:

were getting the rates from him.

Stephanie:

When you're potentially putting those other

Stephanie:

estimates together, which was the concept stage one and the more developed design stage

Stephanie:

one.

Stephanie:

Where are those figures coming from?

Flavio:

I normally rely on contacts that I have in the building industry.

Flavio:

I do rely on builders and I keep in touch with a number of builders, particularly when it

Flavio:

comes to odd products that I haven't come across before, and to make sure that the

Flavio:

figure that I put into the estimate reflects approximately what it should be.

Stephanie:

So I know with most jobs, often people will think of using a builder to get

Stephanie:

cost advice for smaller jobs.

Stephanie:

Through to larger jobs.

Stephanie:

And what do you see as the benefits of obtaining independent cost advice from a

Stephanie:

quantity surveyor?

Flavio:

Well, I have no. A quantity survivor would have no vested interest in the project.

Flavio:

Whether he's going to get it or nothing.

Flavio:

I would tend to suspect that builders will try

Flavio:

and, to win a job, produce a favourable price.

Flavio:

I don't approach it as a favourable price.

Flavio:

It's got to be an accurate price to make sure that it's reflective of all the changes

Flavio:

occurring in the industry at any particular time.

Stephanie:

So can a quantity surveyor give advice for the whole of Australia or are they

Stephanie:

more locally based?

Flavio:

I've found there's a great variation.

Flavio:

I've done work in Sydney and Melbourne on

Flavio:

commercial projects and that's been an education to find out how things are done so

Flavio:

differently down south.

Flavio:

And there's no way in the world that you could

Flavio:

price anything in another state without being embedded in there for a while or picking a lot

Flavio:

of brains for over a period of time.

Flavio:

You will not get the answer right.

Flavio:

It's just not possible.

Stephanie:

Thank you so much love for all of your incredible information today.

Stephanie:

That's been really informative.

Flavio:

My pleasure.

Stephanie:

Wow, what a fantastic interview.

Stephanie:

We covered so much information.

Stephanie:

To conclude, I just want to draw your attention again to three really important

Stephanie:

points from today.

Stephanie:

The first was that quantity surveyors and cost

Stephanie:

estimators come from different backgrounds, but when it comes to residential, they work in

Stephanie:

very similar ways.

Stephanie:

Either one can provide the cost education that

Stephanie:

you need.

Stephanie:

You just have to find someone local.

Stephanie:

Although I didn't cover it in this episode, the costs for a quantity surveyor's services

Stephanie:

are very similar to those of a cost estimator, and I covered a cost estimator's services and

Stephanie:

their costs in the previous episode.

Stephanie:

The second point was about the absolute

Stephanie:

importance of getting your design ideas costed early in the design phase to make sure that

Stephanie:

your brief and your budget are aligned before you go too far.

Stephanie:

Ideally, this should happen at two stages.

Stephanie:

First, at the concept stage, when you've just

Stephanie:

got rough floor plans to work out if your project is even feasible again.

Stephanie:

The second stage, if you proceed that far, is at the detailed design stage, where you've got

Stephanie:

floor plans, you've got elevations, you've got a bit more information, but you haven't gone

Stephanie:

to town planning and you haven't gone as far as getting full engineering.

Stephanie:

You may have partial engineering if you need that information based on your design.

Stephanie:

This is so important, I just can't stress this enough.

Stephanie:

The third very interesting point is that both cost estimators and quantity surveyors provide

Stephanie:

costings for builders at tender stage.

Stephanie:

It's important to note that all builders will

Stephanie:

have their own suppliers, which will lead to a different final cost outcome.

Stephanie:

In the next episode, you'll find out all about square metre rates.

Stephanie:

I find out what they are, how.

Stephanie:

They'Re calculated, and why building cost professionals really don't like

Stephanie:

talking about them.

Stephanie:

I'll be talking again to quantity surveyor

Stephanie:

Flavio Costanzo.

Stephanie:

Thanks for listening to renovation

Stephanie:

collaborative.

Stephanie:

Sign up for the weekly Wrap newsletter and get

Stephanie:

the concise podcast summary delivered straight to your inbox.

Stephanie:

Also find the full transcript PDF edited into clear q and A on the renovation collaborative

Stephanie:

website renovationcollaborative.com dot au dot.