The idea for writing a quantity surveyor’s pocket book came to me while reading The Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal Iggulden. For those who are unfamiliar with this book, it is a compendium of everything a boy should know, from how to tie a Staffordshire knot to the discoverer of the planet Pluto. In other words, the basic skills that every self-respecting 6–60-year-old boy needs to know under a single cover.
The quantity surveyor is a uniquely British profession, although during the 160 years or so since the fi rst quantity surveyor trod the planet they have managed to convince other countries and construction industries that they are an indispensable part of the development process. Much maligned and often misunderstood quantity surveyors have demonstrated an ability to shrug off the attempts to consign them to the past and have instead reinvented themselves many times over. In 2008, the UK government took the step of lifting immigration restrictions on non-UK quantity surveyors as the demand for their skills outstripped supply by almost 5:1.
I have in the past written books that concentrate on the new and emerging skills that quantity surveyors are now being required to provide for ever more demanding clients. And yet under the headline services of value management, risk management, the Private Finance Initiative, etc., there is still a great need for the quantity surveyor to be able to provide traditional quantity surveying services. Therefore, this pocket book concentrates on traditional quantity surveyor skills, still so much in demand by clients and contractors alike, but which have, during the past 20 years or so, not had the emphasis in training and education that perhaps they warrant.