Quantity Surveying beyond the tradition: Insights from C-Quest



Quantity surveying mostly deals with managing and controlling various aspects of construction. It gives an understanding of the technical elements of construction over the life cycle of a facility or building, a necessary project controls tool to achieve the value and best quality within the client’s specifications.

How will Quantity Surveying affect current trending topics like the emergence of PPP in the region, modular construction, and sustainable development?

Learn more about how C-Quest will approach these trends in the following full interview with our new Associate Director Mohamed Moussa:



What is your opinion on evolving role of QS in the non-construction industries - i.e banking and petroleum?


Over the course of the last few decades, the role of a Quantity Surveyor has evolved thanks to varied factors like the various economic developments, countless studies, and technological growth.


When these factors were analysed, the results showed that the development trends in the building economics that happened at the end of the twentieth century had significantly impacted and shifted the role of quantity surveying.


Consequently, improved and more prominent roles of quantity surveyors have emerged in keeping up with requirements to satisfy clients. They have started to venture into areas like procurement, design cost planning, whole life costing, value management, risk analysis, and management. Before this, to construct a building, the engineering services would lead the way as the emphasis is on measurements, costs, and values of such services.


Additionally, quantity surveyors are also involved in project/construction management, facilities management, contract disputes, and litigation. Hence, it is predicted that quantity surveyors will establish more roles in the future in proportion to client focus, development and application of information/communication technologies, research and its dissemination, graduate capability, and practice size. Subsequently, the profession has begun to explore potential roles in sectors like procurement, oil and gas, green building, and banking.


The construction industry will work closely with banks for developers or project loans and technical appraisal. Thus, the roles of quantity surveyors in financial institutions are to assess the technical appraisals from the following: construction stakeholders who need the capital, developers who want to develop a new project, contractors who want to bid for a new project, suppliers who want to produce new material.


Activities in the petroleum sector can be divided into upstream and downstream; upstream activities are efforts of exploration and production while the downstream activities are refining, marketing, and distribution of the petroleum. However, the roles in the petroleum sector can be divided into technical and commercial; technical roles include geosciences, health, safety and environment, quality management, project management, and engineering, whereas commercial roles comprise of finance and accounting, cost engineering and estimating, business planning and development, marketing, and training, contracting and commercial, legal, procurement, human resource, administration, information technology, supply, and distribution.

Why do you think Facilities Management has to be under QS expertise- according to RICS?


With our broad project and FM (Facilities Management) experience we can help ensure innovation, collaboration, and integration around whole life management, is in place right from the start of a project.


We can help our clients achieve a smooth transition from initial brief through design and construction to operational phases, cost savings and efficiencies, and enhanced end user experience by:


  • Early stakeholder engagement to ensure the design meets operational requirements.

  • Advising on the effect of capital expenditure decisions on long term wellbeing and running costs.

  • Programming and managing work streams falling outside the traditional construction project scope.

  • Ensuring project handover requirements are established and met, including Employers Information Requirements if using BIM (Business Information Modelling).

  • Specifying and procuring the required FM services.


We have a proven track record in the effective auditing and monitoring of FM service delivery to ensure compliance and value for money is achieved.

As part of a multidisciplinary consultancy practice, our FM team has the benefit of drawing on in-house support from our engineering, infrastructure, and management teams.


“We are frequently called in ‘after the event’ to help organisations turnaround failing contracts, typically where the chosen FM supplier becomes unable to deliver on contractual obligations” explains Clive De Villiers. “All too often, we see holders of large property portfolios wasting time and money by firefighting poor FM outcomes. While we expertly handle these issues to take the pain away, our stated goal is to create solutions that prevent the FM delivery degrading to a poor standard in the first place,” he adds.


To that end, the FM advisory arm of C-Quest has set up a proactive professional service that gives organisations a practical pathway to select proven and dependable FM suppliers and contractors. Using its broadened resource base, the company combines specialist advice, its FM contract audit expertise, lifecycle modelling, and a wealth of invaluable historical FM knowledge accumulated over the past 30 years to provide transparent and trustworthy options to its clients.


The complementary experience and expertise brought together in our portfolio also provide new opportunities for dedicated initiatives. Among these is a whole asset management and assurance service that operates at all levels, from individual equipment compliance to entire property portfolio management, aimed at top-tier stakeholders including large businesses, banks, property investment funds, investment houses, as well as all other asset-owning entities.

What would be C-Quest added value for the construction market in the Middle East?


C-Quest added value for the construction market in the Middle East is that we have a legacy, a long history in the region of managing landmark projects for several clients across Kuwait, Qatar, KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and UAE (United Arab Emirates).

What we intend to bring into the market as value is resources, expertise and innovation. All these factors contribute to the success of our clients in achieving their objectives, closing out their projects in accordance with time and budget constraints.

We go beyond for our clients with a hands-on approach providing our services.

What is the role of Quantity surveyors in PPP projects and what value C-Quest can bring into this setting?


Governments across the region are turning their focus to alternative project finance solutions, and PPP contracts are taking shape. MEED report identifies a pipeline 242 PPP projects worth an estimated $223bn being developed.

These include schools' projects in Saudi Arabia, healthcare in Kuwait and water/power projects in Qatar. In early 2020, Abu Dhabi announced its intention to tender US$2.7 billion in PPP projects to finance and operate new social, municipal and transportation assets.

Executed properly, public private partnerships (PPP) will deliver these goals. PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) provide a model that allows governments to continue developing strategic projects and services without the need to increase direct state capital spending.

C-Quest is aiming to provide bespoke advice to the stakeholders of PPP Projects. Our strategy is to create the business opportunities out of Client’s situations.

The private partner may face special risks from engaging in a public-private partnership. Physical infrastructure, such as roads or railways, involve construction risks. If the product is not delivered on time, exceeds cost estimates, or has technical defects, the private partner typically bears the burden. In addition, the private partner faces availability risk if it cannot provide the service promised. A company may not meet safety or other relevant quality standards, for example, when running a prison, hospital, or school.


Demand risk occurs when there are fewer users than expected for the service or infrastructure, such as toll roads, bridges, or tunnels. However, this risk can be shifted to the public partner if the public partner agreed to pay a minimum fee no matter the demand.

C-Quest role is identified as follows but not limited to:

  • Advise the private investor on feasibility and ROI (Return on Investment).

  • Act as an Investor agent to monitor the expenditures and implementation of the project.

  • Risk identification and mitigation.

  • Advising Government on investment options.

What is your opinion on Modular Construction gaining increased attention from developers?

It is widely recognised that the application of modular construction has many benefits such as speed of delivery, improved quality control, enhanced sustainability performance and improved safety.

This method of construction sounds like an ideal alternative to conventional methods considering the persisting performance and productivity issues faced by the industry. We have noticed a surge of interest in Media among consultants and major developers in this method. Roshn, Neom, Red Sea Project are planning a few developments via this route mainly for nature preservation purposes.

As a part of our innovation strategy, we have found and decided to white-label a generative design software for modular building concepts. The product is AI-powered software for Developers, Manufacturers, and Contractors who are involved in modular construction and are looking to save time and money while improving the quality and speed of their feasibility assessment.

The software will allow our client to:

  • Reduce the cost of feasibility studies.

  • Produce and modify design during the meetings, generate Feasibility study report in real time.

  • Get unlimited design-cost variations, compare variations, choose most viable options.

  • Give Immediate cost assessment of design iterations.

  • Reduce time and Cost of BIM design and engineering.0

The introduction of this software to our prospective Clients would demonstrate our expertise and dedication to research and development and generate the leads to the subsequent provision of services by C-Quest on Modular Construction Projects.

We are currently working on development of ecosystem of Products and solutions for such customer demand.

What are C-Quest plans with regards to Saudization programme? How does it fall within Equality, Diversity Inclusion policy of C-Quest?


C-Quest has a significant presence in KSA. We are planning to expand and grow our teams relying in the local Saudi market which offers a lot of professionals that will help grow and support our growth plans. We already have a programme for Saudi trainees and university graduates. We see a lot of potential in the Saudi youth, and we welcome them to our organization.

What are C-Quest's Sustainable goals for this year?


In Middle East, about 40% of new buildings are adopting green building initiatives by planning and designing buildings that are more energy-efficient with zero carbon emission. Professional quantity surveyors need to adapt with the new trend of green construction.


The traditional roles of quantity surveyors have developed to accommodate these new green buildings trends. These changing roles in relation to green buildings include sustainability strategy development, life cycle cost appraisal, consulting on green star system, advising on engineering services solutions, and valuing sustainability of a property.


In a green project, quantity surveyors provide not only advice to clients or developers to establish their sustainability targets, but also the comparable information of alternatives to the design team. This is significantly crucial in selecting the most cost-effective option for a sustainable design.


To effectively deliver cost advisory services for green projects to clients and other industry professionals, quantity surveyors are required to progressively develop their skills and knowledge. It has been revealed that an understanding of green products and materials is one of the key advantages for them to remain relevant in the profession.

We are planning to conduct series of trainings and much more.

Smart city application for prevention of pandemics in the living spaces is another topic emerging across media and RFP’s.

C-Quest is planning to provide the following advice and solutions in strategic partnership with subject matter experts:

  • The Cost Benefit Analysis for the Concept of a Smart City.

  • Measuring the Efficiency of Smart Solutions (up to Facility Management stage).

  • Lifecycle costing of Smart city applications.

  • Developing and implementing Smart city application Strategy for living spaces (existing and prospective).

  • Advising on the latest Smart City elements, software and gadgets utilising our unique Smart City Appliances Database.

Clarification: The smart solutions represent the core of the smart city concept, which together with the smart region concept presents a new economic domain where new markets or market segments offering innovative and intelligent (tangible and intangible) solutions for said cities and regions can be developed. CBA and feasibility analysis represent suitable tools for evaluation of socially and economically acceptable projects and their implementation in real life. The efficiency of these solutions is then proved by benefit and cost comparisons under the condition that these outcomes are acceptable for all stakeholders.