Built Intelligence

RICS APC Hot Topic - Quantity Surveying & Construction Core Competencies - by Jen Lemen

RICS APC Hot Topic - Quantity Surveying & Construction Core Competencies - by Jen Lemen

In this blog, we look at the core competencies for the QS&C pathway. Essential reading for AssocRICS and RICS APC candidates. 

What competencies do I need to satisfy?

For the QS&C pathway, you need to satisfy a range of mandatory and technical (core and optional competencies).

Below we will outline the core competencies which all QS&C candidates must meet at level 3. In future articles, we will look at the mandatory and various other optional competencies.

What core competencies do I need to satisfy?

  • Commercial management of construction or Design economics and cost planning
  • Contract practice
  • Construction technology and environmental services
  • Procurement and tendering
  • Project financial control and reporting
  • Quantification and costing of construction works
We will look at these in further detail below, including guidance from the RICS pathway guide (pre-August 2018). We will look at the post-August 2018 guidance in a future article.

What is Commercial management of construction?

"This competency covers the commercial management of construction works. Candidates should have an awareness of how commercial competitiveness balances against profitability. They must have a thorough understanding of the financial processes used to achieve profitability and how these integrate with the overall delivery of the project" (RICS, 2017).

Candidates have a choice of choosing either this competency of Design economics and cost planning. This is more suitable for surveyors working in a commercial or contracting environment, rather than a public or private sector consulting environment.

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Creating construction budgets
  • Financial management of the supply chain
  • Agreement of final accounts
  • Administering supplier agreements
  • Cost evaluation
  • Risk management

What is Design economics and cost planning?

"This competency covers the impact of design and other factors on cost throughout the life of the building and the control of cost during the pre-contract stage. Candidates should have an awareness of how design decisions and construction processes impact on construction and operational costs. They must have a thorough understanding of techniques used to manage and control costs pre-contract" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Estimating - types, basis, components, use of data, benchmarking, reporting
  • Calculating unit rates
  • Dealing with inflation, location factors and site-specific conditions
  • Cost planning - preparing and preparing cost plans, setting budgets, components
  • Measurement rules
  • Value management and engineering
  • Application of RICS Life Cycle Costing guidance
  • RIBA design stages

What is Contract practice?

"This competency covers the various forms of contract used in the construction industry. Candidates should have an awareness of all of the main standard forms of contract and a thorough understanding of contract law, legislation and the specific forms that they have used" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Establishing a contract - basic contract law, legislation, forms of contract, third party rights
  • Contract mechanisms - retention, conflict avoidance, payment provisions, change procedures and liquidated damages
  • Contract implementation
  • Advising on contract form
  • Pricing options
  • Risk allocation

What is Construction technology and environmental services?

"This competency covers the design and construction of buildings and other structures. Candidates should have a clear understanding of the design and construction processes commonly used in the industry. They should have detailed knowledge of construction solutions relevant to their projects" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Foundations
  • Superstructures
  • Internal structures
  • Specification
  • External landscaping
  • Services
  • Building Regulations
  • Sustainability

What is Procurement and tendering?

"This competency covers how a project is structured and delivered in terms of risk allocation and contractual relationships and how tendering processes are used to establish a contract price. Candidates should have a clear understanding of the different types of procurement and tendering commonly used and the advantages and disadvantages of each to the parties involved. They should have a detailed working knowledge of the procurement routes and tendering procedures used on their projects" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Procurement - types of route, contractual relationships, time and cost certainty, quality management
  • Tendering - establishing the contract basis, types of tenders, pre-qualification, management of the tender process, tender documents
  • Regulations and rules
What is Project financial control and reporting?

"This competency covers the effective cost control of construction projects during the construction phase. Candidates should be aware of the principles of controlling and reporting costs on any construction project. They should have a detailed understanding of the control and reporting processes used on their projects" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:
  • Forecasting
  • Managing change control procedures
  • Valuing change
  • Contingencies
  • Interim valuations
  • Claims
  • Final accounts
What is Quantification and costing of construction works?
"This competency covers the measurement and definition of construction works in order to value and control costs. Candidates should have an awareness of the various methods of quantifying and pricing construction works used throughout a project. They must have a thorough understanding of the specific methods used on their projects" (RICS, 2017).

Typical examples you could use include:

  • Preparing estimates
  • Cost plans
  • Valuing works
  • Measurement rules and application
  • Quantification of risk allowance, overheads and profit

About the author - Jen Lemen BSc (Hons) FRICS 

Jen has extensive experience in providing training services to students, RICS AssocRICS, APC and FRICS candidates and corporate clients, together with academic experience as a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Lecture at the University of Portsmouth and Associate Tutor at the University College of Estate Management. Her RICS assessment experience includes sitting on final APC interview panels, APC appeal panels and being a lead APC preliminary review assessor.

She has also written published articles in Property Week, ACES Terrier, RICS Modus and the RICS Property Journal. She also writes a regular APC column in Estates Gazette Brick & Mortar podcast series with Sarah Jackman and is a contributing author to the Health & Safety section on RICS iSurv.

Jen works as a trainer and consultant with Built Intelligence on the APC Structured Learning programme - more details and to book on module two - Written Submission can be found here

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