Decoding QS Cost Consultant Fees: An Essential Guide for UK Architects


Understanding “QS Cost Consultant Fees” is critical for managing your project’s budget in the most effective way. This article sheds light on the factors contributing to these fees, how they’re determined, and the typical charges for various services. Equipped with this knowledge, directors of architectural practices in the UK will be better positioned to make informed decisions and ensure maximum value for their projects.

Unpacking QS Cost Consultant Fees: What Contributes?

A variety of factors contribute to the fees of cost consultants and quantity surveyors, beginning with the existing market conditions in the UK. Currently, there’s a distinct shortage of qualified and experienced quantity surveyors in the country, a trend which naturally inflates QS cost consultant fees.

Professionals in this industry command significant salaries. For instance, a senior Quantity Surveyor (QS) on even a smaller project can anticipate earning more than £60k annually. This personnel cost is considered alongside the costs of maintaining the position, including training, provisions for annual leave, sick days, and the reality that not all employee time is spent on billable projects.

Besides direct employee costs, company overheads also influence QS cost consultant fees. These overheads cover a broad range of expenses including office space, utilities, professional licensing, insurance, marketing, administration, and more. Profit margin is another key consideration, which varies according to the size and operational efficiency of the firm.

Starting rates for less experienced consultants hover around £80 per hour, rising to over £120 per hour for seasoned professionals or those associated with larger firms. While these QS cost consultant fees might seem high initially, they reflect the value these professionals bring to your construction projects through effective cost management and precise budgeting.

Decoding QS Cost Consultant Fees: Key Variables

QS cost consultant fees largely depend on the defined scope of service, which can differ considerably between projects and even between different tasks within the same project. Specific services, such as cost plans, writing Bills of Quantities (BoQ), or assembling tender packages, are usually limited in their delivery time. Regular services, on the other hand, are more ongoing and comprehensive, including progress meetings, reporting, and project delivery planning.

The size and complexity of the project, any non-standard design and procurement requirements, and the ratio of senior to junior staff required also influence the QS cost consultant fees. In regular services, the duration of the project and its various stages play a crucial role in determining fees.

Understanding these components and how they contribute to fee calculations can provide valuable insight into the value you are receiving for the services rendered.

QS Cost Consultant Fee Structures: An In-depth Look

Cost consultants and quantity surveyors typically use three main types of fee structures: hourly fees, percentage of project value, and fixed fees.

Hourly Fees: This structure charges for the actual time spent working on a project, in line with their agreed rates. It is mainly used for assignments where accurately estimating the required time for completion is challenging.

Percentage of Project Value: Many consultants operate on a percentage of the project value basis, a traditional form of fee agreement. However, this model is not preferred by Multiproject due to the potential conflict of interest it can create.

Fixed Fee: This is our preferred model at Multiproject, used in 95% of our projects where we can clearly define the scope of services, the deliverables, and therefore the amount of work and level of expertise required.

Negotiating and Understanding Your Fee Agreement: Aiding Transparency and Trust

Architects can ensure transparency and trust in fee agreements by clearly defining and agreeing upon the service scope, seeking expert guidance for necessary services, asking about the value they’re getting for the fee, remembering that the fee includes the expertise that the consultant brings, and lastly, making sure to define the scope of service and its deliverables.

QS Cost Consultant Fees: Typical Charges for Services

QS & cost consultant fees at Multiproject typically look something like this for projects valued between £2.5m and £15m:

Specific Services:

  • Budget Estimate: £300
  • Elemental Cost Plan: From £900 to £3,000
  • Bill of Quantities and Benchmark Pricing: From £3,500 to £25,000+
  • Preliminaries Writing: From £1,500
  • Tender Package Preparation: From £1,250 to £3,000
  • Tendering and Returns Assessment: £750 to £2,000 for the process and £500 to £5,000 for a return assessment
  • Contract Preparation: £1,500 to £5,000 (for projects we are already working on)
  • Final Account Analysis and Settlement: Minimum £5,000

Regular Services:

  • Cost Consultancy (Design Stages 1 to 4): £2,500 to £10,000 per month
  • Contract Administration / Employers Agent (Stage 5): £3,500 to £10,000 per month
  • Project QS (Stage 5): £3,500 to £15,000 per month

Our QS cost consultant fees stem from our extensive industry experience, reflecting the in-depth expertise and commitment we infuse into each project. Recognising that every project carries unique needs, we consistently strive to present a clear, fair fee structure tailored to align with each client’s specific requirements.

In conclusion, decoding the structure of QS cost consultant fees is paramount to effective budgeting and successful planning for your architectural projects. By taking into account all the factors influencing these fees, engaging in transparent negotiations, and grasping the typical costs for varied services, you can guarantee a seamless project process and the ultimate value. Remember, understanding the cost ensures not only budget efficiency but also the successful fruition of your vision.