Last edited 28 Jul 2017

The Contradiction of Sustainability QS

Sustainability has long been associated with additional cost. We would argue that the long term value offered by well-integrated sustainability does not have to cost the client in the short term.


Does it seem like something doesn't add up? Well, it's all down to who is doing your sums and what is included in their budget.


Quantity Surveyors (QS) are the guardians of the purse strings. As such, what and how QS value has a direct impact on whether sustainability opportunities get implemented or value engineered out. Embedding targets and aspirations in to a client brief is all well and good but unless they are built into the budget they may be offset against the future they were designed to improve.


This isn't a new challenge of course, the delicate balance between long term goals and short term spending timeframes is faced by all sustainability professionals. However, now there's a new kid in town - a hybrid breed of Sustainability QS that are able to offer solutions that don’t cost the earth or the client. Whether this is manifested through regular collaboration between a dedicated sustainability professional and a QS or a rare case of an eco-cost analyst, the value added goes far beyond the sums.


The opportunity is there for those who recognise that we are all on the same team. If you are fortunate to come across this new breed of QS, you will see why informed clients treasure their support. If not, work with the tools at hand - value your QS. Show that sustainability can be balanced with budgets by providing a spectrum of options, work together to align these with practical implementation and translate client aspirations into prioritised budget items. Sustainability QS is no longer an oxymoron, it is an essential tool that brings short term cost and long term value in alignment.