#WiseUpWednesday: Aggressive QS?

Our Wise Up Wednesday Guides are sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

Last week’s was “Don’t Fall Foul Of Poor QS’s”. This week I want to share a few thoughts about what to do when faced with an Aggressive QS.

Construction Enquirer recently reported that there is now a super-aggressive quantity surveyor employed by Contractors for the specific purpose of saving them money no matter what.

“Subbies under attack from new breed of aggressive QS”

Here’s a snippet from that article;

Subbies are coming under pressure on site from a new breed of “super aggressive” quantity surveyors employed by main contractors.

“We’ve had QS’s say things like ‘it’s only 50 grand.’. That’s easy to say when you work for a major contractor and it’s not your money.”

“Some firms are worse than others and a lot of suppliers are refusing to work with those with the worst reputation.”

How To Beat The Aggressive QS

Back in the day quantity surveyors made sure that the works were valued both fairly and objectively.

Most QS’s back then would be RICS qualified, and being a QS was a very respected profession. Now, even some of the RICS qualified QS’s employed by Main Contractors ignore the RICS rules of professionalism.

Nowadays, the role of a Contactor’s QS is often to get away with paying as little as possible, as late as possible and to look for any reason to set off or counterclaim whether valid or not.

Over the years, here at Streetwisesubbie and in my work at Ashmore Consulting, we have seen far too many spurious and made up claims, and  some have sadly resulted in the insolvency of the sub-contractor. So please, don’t be a guaranteed meal ticket and bonus for the Main Contractor’s QS.

What Can You Do About It?

Firstly, recognise that it’s happening. This might sound over simplistic, but you would be surprised how many subcontractors fall for the QS’s “I’m smarter than you” BS…

Secondly, in last week’s Wise Up Wednesday I talked about getting the paperwork right, and making sure all the important details are properly incorporated in the contract. So, now it’s time to refer to those documents;

1. Don’t get angry, frustrated or any other emotional response. Stay calm.

2. Don’t rush or jump at the first figure offered.

3. Don’t fall for the “it’s this or we won’t pay another penny” routine.

4. Don’t agree to anything you don’t understand and if you need to, don’t be shy about taking time out to get advice.

5. Make sure you follow the procedures set out in the contract – and make sure your view of the valuation is realistic and properly evidenced.

6. If your account is being undervalued escalate the problem to a higher level

7. Don’t waste time trying to persuade someone who doesn’t want to understand

8. Recognise when it’s time to change your approach – don’t just wait for things to change on their own – they won’t

And if you aren’t sure please call us for advice on 01773 712116 or email info@streetwisesubbie.com or checkout our web site.

It’s A Stressful Situation


Construction is a contentious business, so it’s no surprise that problems can arise, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.


This can be stressful and have a negative impact on you and your business.


So,if you find yourself in a sticky situation, the best advice is to act quickly and to take appropriate advice. We have decades of experience in contractual and commercial matters and will give you no-nonsense, practical advice that won’t blind you with legal jargon.

Please don’t hesitate to email us at info@streetwisesubbie.com, or pick up the phone and give our friendly team a call on 01773 712116.


About Barry Ashmore

Qualifications Dip Law Dip Arb FClArb MCMi Year of Birth: 1954 Specialist Contractors Champion! • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Panel Adjudicator • CEDR Accredited Mediator • Construction Contracts Consultant • M&E Specialist QS An experienced professional with an extensive range of commercial managerial and contractual expertise. Been in the construction industry all my working life. Started as am apprentice electrician at 16, worked my way up, estimator, engineer, contracts manager, general manager. Moved into dispute resolution in 1990! Worked for the biggest and then the best James R Knowles. Now heads up Ashmore Consulting, and most importantly StreetwiseSubbie.com Ltd. Extensive experience working at Director level, project managing, advising and acting on behalf of clients in matters relating to the resolution of disputes by way of negotiation, mediation, adjudication, arbitration and litigation. Straightforward advice given to clients, and wherever possible assisting clients to resolve disputes by negotiation, and avoid formal process. Style; can be as forceful as necessary when advocating, can use mediation skills to create the best possible prospects of a successful deal in an atmosphere of calm, positive determination - either way I'm focused on achieving the best possible solution for you. Barry can be contacted on 01773 715062 or 07815 193718 Email: barry@streetwisesubbie.com Web: streetwisesubbie.com

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