When preparing detailed and summary cost plan reports, you may hear Quantity Surveyors referring to Elements, rather than to Trades. This is part of our training and it is a system of cost planning that allows us to comprehensively measure, price and prepare a cost plan for any building at almost any stage of design.
The Elements system acts as a checklist so nothing should be missed. This system provides a consistent way of summarizing and analysing various projects and their costs (and size) for comparisons and bench-marking.
It’s a great little system and means that items (i.e. elements) such as floors, walls and roofs may be priced, or a potential price or cost allowed for, even if no trade, specification or construction information is available.
An ELEMENT may be defined as a (major) part of a building that always performs the same function or purpose.
It performs this function irrespective of its design, trade, specification or project.
- A ROOF (Element 05 RF) is always a roof, whether it is made of concrete, timber, tin or glass….
- EXTERNAL WALLS (Element 06 EW) are always the enclosing element of the building, even though they may be made of brick, concrete, timber or tin.
- The SUBSTRUCTURE (Element 01 SB) is always the lowest floor of the building, and it transmits the load of the building into the soil (i.e. the foundations)