Although Chris Haley may well be right in pushing for greater QS involvement in costing services, he misses a vital point (26 November, page 38). A fundamental reason why the costing of services is so poor is that the “trade” traditionally designs a large part of the services elements in the building. Thus, whoever attempts to forecast cost, be it the engineer or QS, is denied the detailed database of component costs available to his building structure colleague.

Throughout my career as a QS, I have been puzzled by an industry in which the building envelope is fully specified before the tendering process, yet services engineers get away with preparing performance specifications, leaving it to others to decide the actual components – often after construction has started.

Perhaps Haley’s article will start the long overdue debate between the two camps?