Building Projects run smoothly – thanks to our Watford office’s successful Quantity Surveying business

‘Not just brick counters’

The second of our series of blogs focusing on the stories and people behind the business spaces, we interview some of Flexspace’s unique and varied customers – this time a business based in our Watford Office.

In the second in our series of blogs focusing on the stories behind the business spaces, we highlight a flourishing Quantity Surveying business. We talked to Norman Sharp Ltd (01923 243112) , and interview the founder and owner, Kevin Baker.

First of all, what on earth is Quantity Surveying (‘QS’)?

The world of a quantity surveyor

It’s an incredibly varied and long list of services which we provide for the construction industry.

Essentially, we help manage costs and contracts within the building industry to try to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Sounds quite vital – what specifically?

We provide estimates, budgets & cost plans to clients and manage the procurement of building contractors and trade contractors on their behalf.

We also advise on the best type of contract to be drawn up and then help set up those contracts as well as running the contract administration and the project management.

Finally, we can help resolve disputes, assess variation costs and agree the final accounts if required.

Phew, that’s quite a list

Yes, that’s pretty much the whole gamut – I hope I’ve not put you off! Laughs.

It may be easier to say what QS is not, then?

We don’t provide house valuations – every time I went for a new mortgage I was asked if I could do my own house valuation!

We also don’t stand at the side of the road with a theodolite, as my dad thought I did for years. We’ve also been called ‘brick counters’ which is a very narrow understanding of what we can do.

What kind of a world then would it be without Quantity Surveying?

Clients would pay over the odds for building work, and there would be a lot more disputes, that’s for sure.

So there’s some really important benefits to clients employing your services

Absolutely. Selecting the right contractor, verifying the contractor has priced up all the elements of work (and in accordance with the right drawings and specification), checking a contract (the right contract) is in place, and ensuring the client is getting value for money are just some of the tangible benefits that we bring to the table.

And how about an average day as a QS?

To be honest, there is no typical day, it’s a very varied profession. This is one of the reasons why I studied it in the first place: I didn’t want to be stuck in an office all day.

However, let me outline an example of some typical days’ work to give you a better feel of the variety:

  • Reviewing drawings and specifications of a residential extension to provide a client with a budget of the required works.
  • Analysing and comparing three contractor’s quotes in terms of cost, programme period and compliance with drawings and specification. Then advising our client on the preferred contractor and our reasons why.
  • Visiting an ongoing residential project to review completed works, Advising a homeowner of the value of works completed to date and what he should pay the builder.
  • Assessing the costs of drawing changes when a client makes a change to his or her requirements.

Any other insights?

Well, a lot of people’s initial exposure to the subject of QS is via a Monty Python bookshop sketch where a customer asks for Ethel the Aardvark does Quantity Surveying – you can check out the sketch on You tube here:

What makes Norman Sharp unique?

Well, I’ve been going for well over a decade and like to think we provide a norman-sharp-logo-400x261bespoke service for all of our customers. We’re also a member of RICS (the Chartered QS body) which should give customers confidence that we’ll act with integrity, provide a high level of service, take responsibility and treat others with respect.

Flexspace’s Watford Office – Flexibility with extra amenities 

Any businesses looking for versatile, flexible business space in Park House (which includes an on-site gym and cafe) should click on the link below:

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From Cafes to Gyms, Galleries to Labs, we’ve seen and done it all. Choose space to fit your needs.


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