What is a Quantity Surveyor

What is Quantity Surveying

What is the Quantity Surveying Profession

Quantity Surveyors monitor and estimate costs for the construction and maintenance of different building and infrastructure projects, such as sports stadiums, houses, unit complexes, bridges, and roads.
They are involved in projects from the feasibility stage to completion, and also provide services such as tax depreciation, insurance estimation, mediation and arbitration.

Quantity Surveyors typically work in the private sector with consulting firms or construction companies, or in the public sector with State/Territory Governments.

Qualified and experienced Quantity Surveyors are in high demand, and their qualifications are recognised worldwide. They are also at the forefront of sustainability discussions, and there are ample opportunities for overseas travel.

What Does a Quantity Surveyor Do?

A Quantity Surveyor is a construction professional specialising in measuring, cost estimating, and management of construction projects. Additionally, specially trained quantity surveyors are all experts in tax depreciation.

What is the role of a Quantity Surveyor

Quantity Surveyors are responsible for analysing construction documents such as architectural and engineering plans, drawings and specifications, in order to accurately estimate and monitor costs associated with a project from concept design to completion. They possess a comprehensive understanding of construction methods and materials in order to accurately assess project costs

What is the history of quantity surveying in the construction industry

The history of quantity surveyors dates back to the very first settlements in Australia.

Quantity surveying comes from England and is most commonly found in past and present countries of the Commonwealth.

In Australia, quantity surveying firms typically work on government infrastructure projects in the public sector. In the private sector surveying firms have a broad scope of works from tax depreciation on investment properties to estimating construction costs and even arbitration.

Best Quantity Surveyors in Australia

There are many highly skilled and professional quantity surveying firms in Australia.

excellent surveyors can be found in all business size models. From sole traders right through to international corporations operating in multiple continents.

But the best quantity surveyor is the one who provides the most comprehensive service and customer support at the price you can afford.

Often, QS firms offer clients certain guarantees and you can usually find a ‘why us’ page on their website too.

Tax Depreciation Experts

Depreciation is an important factor when investing in property. Quantity surveyors are recognised by the ATO as experts qualified to compile tax depreciation schedules for both residential and commercial properties.

These professionals are an invaluable asset when it comes to maximising return on investment, by assessing the depreciable assets such as the building, fixtures and fittings. A depreciation expert can help property investors understand and take advantage of the deductions available to them for the purpose of reducing their taxable income.

What Is Property Tax Depreciation?

Under the ATO ruling from the 1997 ITAA, depreciation refers to the normal wear and rear of your assets (within your investment property), when used for income producing purposes.

Your assets are assigned a market value (as determined by the QS) and an estimated life (as determined by the ATO). When your asset gets older, it declines in value. This is known as depreciation and is used as a tax reduction method under current Australian taxation office laws.

Here’s an example from a property I recently inspected for tax depreciation in Brisbane:

My client had installed a new split system air conditioning unit in the master bedroom of their investment property just before the tenants moved in. He paid $3,690 for it, fully installed.
According to the ATO guidelines, the system can be depreciated at 10% pa using the Prime Cost method, or 20% pa using the Diminishing value method.

For my calculations I’ll use the Prime Cost method for simplicity’s sake.
So after 1 year, the air con system has depreciated by 10% ($369).
The following year, it depreciates by another 10% (or the original value). That’s another $369.
This continues each and every year until the air con unit has declined in value (depreciated) down to $0.

What about Capital Works items

The same principle applies to capital works items too. That’s the division 43 items such as painting, carpentry work, tiling, electrical and plumbing works too.

The only difference being these items depreciate at a set 2.5% pa

so for maximum tax savings bang for your buck, ideally you want to minimise capital works expenditure and maximise plant and equipment expenses.

Why do you need a Quantity Surveyor Schedule?

Long gone are the days where the ATO would just take your word for it and happily accept your self-assessment of tax depreciation items.

In Fact, the ATO doesn’t even accept the word of highly skilled and experienced Accountants if they’re not also a registered quantity surveyor.

In short, if you want to claim tax depreciation deductions for your investment property, and not raise a red flag at the ATO you simply must engage the services of a skilled and qualified professional quantity surveyor.

Is a Quantity Surveyor report tax deductible?

Definitely; so long as the surveyor’s report is required for a property that is income producing. Such as a residential or commercial investment property.

Why Choose WRC Quantity Surveying?

A good question, with a simple answer.
If you want to avoid raising a red flag at the ATO, if you want to minimise your chance of being audibly the ATO. And if you want to ensure you fe true maximum tax refunds possible each and every time you lodge your tax return, then choosing us to provide your tax depreciation schedule is putting your best foot forward.

As a family run business with well over 80-years of local quantity surveying experience, we can certainly guarantee you get the very best service and product.

To find out more, simply get in touch with me or return to our home page for even more information on our services.

If you’d like to see what our clients have been getting in tax deductions from their properties check out my client portfolio page. You’ll probably find a property very similar to your own there.

another must visit page is my extensive article collection where you’ll find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!

This article was written by William Callaghan A.A.I.Q.S.
2nd generation Quantity Surveyor and founder of WRC Quantity Surveying

Published May 2023