Measurement is for Dummies!

Shhhh! Here’s something that we’ve kept secret over the years:

We don’t mind teaching people how to measure properly (if you’re interested that is) to SMM7 standards.

Shocking I know isn’t it!

You see the thing is the more people that know the better the standard will be in the industry for us all.

A bit of an outdated view perhaps?

Well what is the first thing anyone wants when they price a job? A set of quantities, what else would you need? And the thing is it’s getting harder and harder to find people that can do it.

So here’s the deal (I’m sure that’s a line from an advert, and this is one by the way) we recently did a training session for a contractor for his staff on groundworks. We used a sample of a current job they were looking at as the basis of the session.

Result:

They liked it

We liked it

We taught some younger folk the rudimentary elements of taking off, and they also found some mistakes in the tender they were looking at – potentially we saved them a lot of money as a result!

Everyone happy!

It’s my favourite topic at the moment, measurement or the apparent lack of it by the RICS in encouraging it to be taught. If you saw their recent training brochure dated January 2011 there’s absolutely nothing included for it. Unless of course you include (no offence guys) teaching estate agents how to measure gross or net internal floor areas for the sum of £295 per person! Now how on earth are all these new recruits going to know how to do things? Rely on the Universities? But they aren’t teaching it! It’s dreadful…

So for those of you who want a little taster of the sort of thing we can offer, have a look at this link to our website on the basics of how to measure excavation and earthworks – I hope you enjoy it!

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5 Responses to “Measurement is for Dummies!”


  1. 1 Michael Donnelly February 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Could not agree more Derek, I am often astonished at the lack of measurement knowledge shown by some surveyors particularly within contracting organisations. This is disappointing as procurement methods have evolved to a situation where the measurement is increasingly passed on to the builder, and therefore the fundamental skills of measurement methods and rules are an important asset for contractors.

  2. 2 Nollaig09 May 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Adam Smith College in Scotland teaches both the HND & BSc degree in Quantity Surveying. Colleges are where the core QS skills are being taught. Measurements is a fundamental part of the course and measurements is taught to a very high level in – substructure, drainage, basements, concrete, masonry, roofs, roof coverings, flat roofs, woodwork etc.. all as per SMM7. Quantity Surveying Practice, Estimating, Standard Forms of Contracts & Construction Technology are also core units on the course and this is were the practical QS skills are developed. The HND QS enable students to go straight into employment and measure, produce cost plans etc., right from the word go. Universities on the other hand tend to teach the more ‘academic’ side of Quantity Surveying and thus produce students who need training when they go into employment.
    I would thoroughly encourage any-one who is thinking of pursuing a career in Quantity Surveying to go the college route. It really does prepare you for what exactly the Quantity Surveying role is all about.
    Do you think that there is a gap in the markets for ‘QS master classes’ for QS currently out there who would like to develop the measurement skills which are so lacking?

    • 3 derekmynott May 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks for the comments, and the short answer to your question about ‘QS master classes’ is yes.

      I constantly have conversations with people in the industry bemoaning the lack of measurement being taught, so if something can be developed then there is a market for it for sure.

      The perception I get from the people I talk to is reinforced by your comments, the colleges are teaching in detail, and the Universities are teaching at a much higher, and particularly concerning measurement, on a more superficial level. The issue here is everyone wants (and or is being forced to) go to University, as it’s perceived as putting you in a stronger position concerning your career. Whilst going to study at college being viewed as a more second class route to take. Is that a fair assessment?

      • 4 Nollaig09 May 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

        Hi there, thanks for replying to my comment. I agree with you regarding there being a certain amount of ‘snobbery’ attached to students attending University vs. College and pushing everyone into University.
        With regards the QS ‘Masterclasses’ what elements do you think would be the most beneficial to develop? I was thinking Substructure, Drainage, Concrete, Roofs? What are your thoughts on this?

      • 5 derekmynott May 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        I think wherever you chose to start it will be of benefit. Naturally substructures, external works and drainage lend themselves to be one area. Concrete works including frames another and so on……. I’m sure there’s an appetite for it, it’s delivering it in the best medium that’s the challenge! The thing to bear in mind is whilst we’ve got good old SMM7 it’s soon to be replaced with the new rules of measurement!


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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