The Differences Between the Qs estimate and others

As usual I am prompted to write this article because of the fear of seeing a qs estimates concerning your building and for the disregard of the services of a quantity surveyor in Nigeria.

Advantages of QS estimate over others

1)A qs estimate gives you close to exact quantity though in area or volume of materials to be used, though the cost attached to the units may be high.

2)It helps to control and monitor the progress of work on your project.

3)No estimate can be as comprehensive as a qs estimate

4)Additional costs if there are any can be minimal

5)The estimate accommodates intangible costs/unexpected costs which can be as high as 10% of total cost of project.

6)It helps in control and gives room for you to question your contractor  based on what is stated on black and white when you suspect any foul play.

7)Specifications, quality and type of materials to use is clearly stated out unlike others.

The problem we have in this part of the world is lack of patience to find the substance in any information if  it didn’t conform with our expectations before throwing the entire information out.

A Qs estimates saves you money to any estimates you get from other building professionals like builder,architect,structural engr etc

These are the differences-

When a builder/architect/engr/contractor wants to give you an estimate, he will state the material to use quite alright and apportion the respective prices,  however none of these professionals will state anything about the quality of the material, but a qs will state the type, the maker, the country of production, the quality etc of the material you as the contractor is supposed to use, so there is no mistaking regarding the quality of the material to use and as you know a qs will always quote for the standard quality to use. For example as an architect I can quote for an estimate where I will state that I need to use twenty doors for a particular building at the rate of N45,000 per piece, now the issue is that I can have a door of N15,000 from China installed for you yet I can take you to a shop where you have doors sold for N45,000 and in same Lagos I can also take you to a place where a door is sold for N200,000, now imagine you knows nothing about the price of a door or you have no idea about building construction and you are far away abroad with a lot of cash to throw around. If I quote for a N200,000 door and you paid for it and you requested I take you to where they get such doors I will gladly do but the fact remains that since it wasn’t stated on my estimates where and the quality to buy, I may simply go for a N45,000 door. Now imagine what you’ve lost because there was no qs estimate to guide you.

Running away from qs estimate is foolishness, yes I agree it may discourage a prospective landlord but it can also help you to plan and sort for cheaper materials to substitute whatever is written on the estimate. For the above sample , if the qs had quoted for a N200,000 door and I quote for N45,000 door you won’t expect my estimate to be higher to the qs, now I can make money and work on your weakness because you are just after the lowest quote, I can raise the numbers or quantity of the material higher (for other unquantifiable materials) but of lower quality and simply pocket the money for the difference, since  you are looking for the cheap estimate but I can easily shortchanged you far worst than the guy that wants to buy a N200,000 door, of course you’ll always get what you paid for, you won’t expect the two doors to have same lifespan, would you?

Another one, if I am quoting for iron rod, I will only state the iron rods with the cost obviously the cost will be of the imported one which can be up to N30,000 difference per tonne to the local. However if the local can do the job and I am interested in making money I will simply buy the local despite that I quoted for the imported especially when you know nothing about this. But with a qs estimate it is hard because the yield strength of the iron rods will be stated which will affect the type and the price.

A qs estimate actually saves you cost because the quantity of materials difference can easily be questioned by you if the actual on site is becoming outrageously higher to what is on paper.

Omoonile, preliminaries and other estimates that will affect greatly the cost of your project will most likely be overlooked by any other professional.

The estimates generated by other professionals has a lot of ways usually related to their calling, for instance an architect estimate will contain more of finishes in the house, the frame of the building and others may be based on experience, a structural engineer  will most likely get only the iron rods or reinforcements accurate others will be more on experience. The builder will also concentrate on the frame of the building and costs of labour while others will also be based on experience.

For God’s sake a qs studied for 4-5 years the business of estimation in higher institution, he must have an edge over others.

Use the qs estimate get advice from him to help reduce the cost and he will know the best way to go about it.

An architect with decades of experience


  1. Emma,
    What you observed concerning involvement of other professionals in estimation is nothing by responding to our time.
    You now have more information concerning building materials from specified firms that are published in professional magazines, manufacturers brochure, newspapers and the internet.
    Today’s structural, mechanical and electrical engineers are so empowered by the computer that they do not need a QS to give them the quantities of materials in their design or specify for them what material to use or not to use.
    Emma please note that design can only be a good design if it takes into consideration “cost”, so the engineers can no longer wait for the QS to give cost advice.
    You have beautifully captured the strength of each of the professionals. What a QS needs to do is to convince all (Professionals and Clients) that he can collate from all these professional what they produce and put them together to give the bigger picture of the project. That is to say he (QS) should sharpen his skills and concentrate in Project Management which is keenly contested by all professionals today.

  2. Thanks could you asist in calculating dry ingredient for concrete work using 1:2:4 quantity 3 cubic metre

  3. my friend are you sure you are an architect, what you wrote here is rubbish, as an architect you suppose to know what you are doing how can you say qs is better than you?

    1. Bayo, is either I am not good at expressing myself or you don’t understand simple English. An architect work is different from a qs work a qs is trained in the art of estimation while an architect is for designs, others are based on experience.

  4. I ve been reading ur article and am really impressed with them most especially the one on Qs estimate. As a Quantity Surveyor i do appreciate ur effort to educate d public and it ll definitely makes prospective client to patronize professionals. Keep it up.

  5. very interesting and enlightening article . . .and to lend my voice as an architect . the qs is the best professional equipped to be a project manager by virtue of his training

  6. Hello keep on the good work information is simplified and self explanatory please to sort my curiosity how much will cost to build a 5bed averaged finished bungalow and also 3units of terrace houses of 4bed each thanks a lot

  7. With people like u,we quantity surveyors will be given back wat is rightly ours,keep up d good work.

  8. God bless u for this article, am a QS becos of this pressure and fear that other professionals wants to take the job of estimation most of my friend are now developing their self on the knowledge they have on other professions. PM is what a QS should not joke with. As for me I have a masters in construction management.

  9. Hello Emmanuel,
    Kindly advise on the best building Plan for commercial residential purpose in area like Ikotun.
    I have a plot of land i intend to develop.
    Will appreciate if you can introduce me to an architect.


  10. Qs profession is not what one can just toy play with,it deals with all construction aspect of life,starting from the inception to complection.

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