How to grow in the building sector in Australia & New Zealand

General Consensus

This week has been an interesting one. We’ve had a solid start to the year, quite different from last year’s slow January.

January Statistics So Far:

  • 23 Estimates Sent Out
  • 12 Projects Confirmed
  • 9 Projects Completed

At the end of last year, I set a target to complete 200 projects this year. We will be focusing more on:

  • Valuable content
  • Referral-based business
  • Growing our online audience.

We have plans to start podcasting within the next week. We already have 5 guests confirmed. The concept will be light, entertaining, and valuable content for our followers. We’ll also be looking to line up some sponsors and do some giveaways.

We now have 2 part-time QS’s helping complete our workload. One is a Christchurch-based QS with over 15 years of experience, helping with the more challenging projects. The other has a full-time job as a Junior QS for a Tier 1 Construction Company in Auckland and is available for weekend and evening work. He has experience with Civils and doing general take-offs for painters and handling heavy items.

I still handle the majority of the labor breakdown work, as that’s where my most significant experience lies.

Beefing up Margins?!

This week, I provided a labor-only price for Matthew Lucas at MatthewLucasBuilding in Queenstown, who has an awesome profile. He specifically asked us to beef up margins.

Beefing up Your Margins

For instance, for standing frames 90x45mm, we would usually look at a rate of $90 per lineal meter.

This home had a higher stud and had 140x45mm frames, so we have added in 15% to this section to allow for a little extra time, sweat, and muscle to get those frames up!

Situations to add some extra percentages in:

  • Tricky sites/jobs on the sides of houses.
  • Working on scaffolding/weatherboard changes.
  • Digging post holes/footings, especially in clay or rocky areas.
  • 2/3rd Story Works. Getting materials and carting gear up and down is time-consuming!

Making our Reports EASIER!

Hey builders, have you ever found yourself drowning in a sea of numbers when trying to understand the costs of a construction project?

We know it can be overwhelming, and that’s where we come in as Quantity Surveyors. Our job is to make sure the costs of your project are accurate and make sense. But we know that you’re busy and don’t always have the time to go through every single line item in a cost report.

That’s why we want to share some tips for making cost reporting more manageable. Instead of going through hundreds of line items, try focusing on the 15 most important ones. This will give you a good overall understanding of the budget without getting bogged down in the details.

We can also group similar items together and provide a summary of the key costs.

And if you see any cost variations or contingencies, we’ll make sure to highlight those for you too.

Another thing that can help is using visualization tools like graphs and charts.

These can make it easier for you to understand the cost breakdown and spot any areas of concern.

At the end of the day, you hire a QS to do a report to know that you’re not going to get into a project and lose money! So being able to itemize each of the big items is important to us.

We want to help you save time and reduce risk, so you can focus on what you do best: building!

Managing Scalability

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows…

Recently, we had a project that included a small bathroom renovation and exterior landscaping works, with a total value of around $100,000.

Fortunately, we didn’t have an issue with the value of the job, just with the overall detailing. The client had picked up on a few specs that were missed and not allowed for, including terminology and specs missed.

Due to the nature of doing good work in any industry, we were winning more work, and unfortunately, we couldn’t keep up with the workload as a one-man band. Rapidqs wouldn’t be so rapid.

In an effort to keep up, I hired some contractors to help out. However, in my rush, I didn’t properly oversee their work, and a few mistakes slipped by.

I feel it’s important to share when things go wrong, even when things don’t go as planned because we all know problems happen, and it’s how you come back from mistakes.

Double quality checking every report that goes out now will be essential.

It’s important to note that when hiring quickly, extra care must be taken in looking over work. Over time, as they become more competent, you can give them more trust, and it will require less checking of their work.

Fortunately, in this case, I have jumped on the problem early and will still get this job over the line for our builder.

Mistakes can be frustrating, but I think if you aren’t making mistakes and aren’t seeing some sort of resistance in a business, then you aren’t pushing hard enough, depending on what your goals are.

We have spent a lot of time going over this report and fixing the costs to ensure that everything is in order. While the cost was accurate, the level of detail was not up to our usual standard.

We value our customers, and we know that trust is earned. We’re committed to providing high-quality work, and we’re always looking for ways to improve. I spent a good 1.5 hours on a video call with the client and will resolve all issues raised.


Suppose the morale of the story here, Hire slow, fire fast. We’ve made a mistake this week; we provided a report that wasn’t perfect. Lesson learned, move on, and learn from it!

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