Survey shows QS fees rose just 6% over five years, but hourly rates for project managers are increasing

Growth in fees for quantity surveying services has fallen behind those of other branches of consultancy in the construction sector, a survey has revealed.

Over the past five years, QS fees have increased by 6%, less than any other professional area, according to the survey by research consultant Mirza & Nacey. Pay for architects and engineers rose 8%.

A RICS spokesperson said one explanation for the small rise was the increasing diversification of the profession over the past five years. Many QSs no longer ally themselves solely with the discipline and work in project management or consultancy, where they can make more money.

The survey shows that the average hourly charge-out rate is higher for project management duties than for quantity surveying. An average premium of 10% has been charged over the past year by principals (£70 an hour for project management duties compared with £65 for QS services). The figures for senior surveyors are £55 an hour for project management work compared with £50 an hour for quantity surveying, while surveyors charge £45 compared with £42.

Meanwhile, the architecture profession is becoming more lucrative. The report shows that the average charge-out rates for architects have increased 34% over the past eight years.

Architects are working more and more at the value-added end

Richard Brindley, RICS

Richard Brindley, director of the RIBA’s practice department, said: “This is good news. There are two possible reasons. First, the market is buoyant and the law of supply and demand is coming into effect. Second, architects are working more and more at the front, value-added end of projects because of different procurement routes.”

The engineering profession has also become more profitable, especially over the past year. Hourly rates have gone up an average of 4%, compared with just 1% for architects, between 2004 and 2005. Taking a long-term view, the average charge-out rate has increased 18% over the past five years.

Engineer principals and partners can now demand £80 an hour compared with £65 in 2000.