Quantity surveyors are construction professionals with expert knowledge in construction costs and contracts. They estimate and monitor building costs, from the feasibility stage of a project right through to completion. Perhaps more importantly, quantity surveyors prepare tax depreciation schedules and provide cost estimates for insurance purposes.
While you may not have come across a quantity surveyor in your journey as a property investor, the values used to calculate your depreciation deductions and replacement costs for insurance purposes all come from their work.
To continue to get the most out of your investments, it’s important to understand the role of quantity surveying and how engaging a quantity surveyor could help improve your investment bottom line.
What is Quantity Surveying?
Quantity surveying is a highly specialised field involved in estimating and monitoring construction costs. Quantity surveyors specialise in building measurement and estimating the value of costs to ascertain the value of building work, including new construction, refurbishment, additions and renovations.
Quantity surveyors are also one of only a few professions with the necessary skills to calculate the cost of items for the purposes of depreciation. They can prepare tax depreciation schedules, provide replacement cost estimates for insurance purposes and, if necessary, serve as expert witnesses in mediation and arbitration cases.
Whether you are looking to invest in a new construction or purchase an existing property, quantity surveyors can provide valuable advice to help maximise the return on your investment.
What Do Quantity Surveyors Do?
Quantity Surveyors have a number of roles during the construction, renovation or refurbishment process. They utilise techniques such as cost planning, estimating, cost analysis, cost-in-use studies and value management to establish project budgets, estimate values and monitor costs.
- Feasibility – quantity surveyors use their knowledge of construction methods and costs to advise on the most economical approach for property owners and help set budgets.
- Design – quantity surveyors keep an eye on the overall project budget, ensuring additions are offset by savings and set out the expected cost of items and labour during the build.
- Construction – quantity surveyors value progress payments at regular intervals and also adjust the value of any changes made to the project.
- Depreciation – quantity surveyors produce depreciation schedules of the various project components and advise on realistic insurance replacement costs.
Regardless of the age of your investment property, quantity surveyors can be called upon to provide updated depreciation valuations to ensure you are claiming everything you are entitled to.
What Should Property Investors Look for in a Quantity Surveyor?
Quantity surveyors can provide a range of different services so it’s important to be clear on what you are looking for when engaging their services. It’s also crucial to check their qualifications and professional memberships to ensure you receive the services you require.
- Understand what you require from a quantity surveyor. Are you investigating the feasibility of a construction project or looking for an updated depreciation valuation? Quantity surveyors may specialise in one particular area so make sure they can deliver the services you require.
- Check their membership of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS). The AIQS is an industry body that assists its members to maintain compliance with industry regulations and Australian Standards, upholding the highest standards of professional excellence.
- To complete tax depreciation tables, quantity surveyors need to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). The TPB is the national body responsible for the registration and regulation of tax agents, ensuring compliance with the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 (TASA).
When Should Property Investors Use a Quantity Surveyor?
A quantity surveyor is not a professional you’ll need to see every year. You should engage a quantity surveyor when embarking on a new construction or major renovation of a residential property to achieve maximum value from your investment.
Quantity surveyors should also be engaged when you first purchase an investment property, to assess the value of the building itself and the claimable assets inside. They will be able to provide an updated depreciation schedule you can use in calculating your deductions.
Claiming maximum depreciation deductions can make a big difference to your cash flow as a property investor. To get the most out of your investments, it’s vital to have a comprehensive and up-to-date depreciation schedule for each property.
That’s why it makes sense for property investors to consult a quantity surveyor every time you purchase a new investment property or when you make substantial changes to an existing property in your portfolio. Don’t leave things to chance. Engage a quantity surveyor to ensure you have all the information you need to claim the deductions you are entitled to.
For more information on quantity surveying and when to use the services of a qualified quantity surveyor, contact Vision Property & Finance. We are here to help you make the most of your investments. Give us a call on 02 8354 3000 to reach Sydney’s office or 02 4014 1999 to talk to someone in Newcastle’s office. You can also contact us here.