Surveyor Profile

Frank Arko-Tharkor MSc MRICS

Brief:

A Chartered Quantity Surveyor with 20 years professional experience, and a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Also Co-founder of the Black Professionals Network. Senior Commercial Manager for EDF working on Hinkley Point C Multi Million Project, helping Britain achieve net zero through energy generation.

I’m a board member of Bristol Museums Development Trust, and a property developer – residential properties, land, and adding value to properties.

Qualifications/Professional Accreditations:

MSc Construction Management; MSc Construction Law, Member Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS)

Best thing about being a surveyor:

The ability to foresee and the skill to calculate the final estimated price of a construction project and providing confidence to the project team to deliver. If one does this for a while, it inherently becomes their natural disposition in life: A long term outlook in life.

The diverse nature of the work mean one is not bogged down to either a specific industry or specific function of the project. I have had the privilege of working in the Building Construction sector, Rail sector, Water sector and Major Civils and also I’ve been fortunate to work across all 4 phases of the construction project from feasibility to post construction phase of the work.

Most challenging aspect of being a surveyor:

Generally, clients expect the best and innovative designs, delivered at the lowest price possible. I see that as the natural inclination of our human nature. However, the challenging part of being a quantity surveyor is managing the project team’s increased expectations of bringing cost down. The role can quickly escalate from being a cost controller to being a cost monitor if the right tools are not employed in the initial stages of the project.

The QS spends majority of their time advising clients and project team members the implication of their on and off site decisions and how that impacts on the project budget.

Things I wish I’d known as a newly qualified surveyor:

I qualified as a Quantity Surveyor (although as an Assistant / Trainee role) in late 2000, I wish I had gained as much practical experience during summer months. I found having hands on experience puts academic work in perspective.

Most innovative aspects of my practice:

Ability to work within a diverse market i.e Roads and Transport sector, Heavy civil engineering, Construction and built environment, Water sector and so forth.

The opportunity to fit into any stage of the project be it, initial feasibility study and project appraisal, construction commencement and or preparing the bill of quantities, contract administration, or project final account.

The outlook for the Built Environment in three words:

Digital-transformation; Alliances; Evolving

Final thoughts

The route to becoming a quantity surveyor (QS) are varied. Either through a university degree qualification or by experience. The QS function cuts across four (4) key areas of any construction project, although by virtue of specific project requirements, the QS may be required to perform a specific function for the successful delivery of the project. In recent times the role of Project Controls have been performed by QS’ however, this is recently evolving into specialist Project Controls expert function. The skills the QS earns through formal education or by experience is transferrable from industry to industry i.e from Civil Construction to Rail, Building Construction to Water or from Energy sector to Others. So far as a construction project is being undertaken, a QS’ input cannot be overemphasised.

The four main phases a QS’ input is required on any project in my view are these:

  • Feasibility Stage – This involves amongst other things, assessing the price of construction projects, market appraisals, cost benefit analysis and so on.
  • Pre-Construction Stage – Preparing tender documents, bills of quantities, projecting project budget (known as forecasts), selecting suitable contractors for specific work sections, awarding contract, etc
  • Construction Stage – Assessing the value of work done for a period, administering the project contract, paying contractors for the work done, liaison with other construction personnel both on and off site, writing project reports etc
  • Post Construction Stage – Measuring the value of work, recording actual cost of each work, closing out the project (Final Accounting) etc