Clever Heating is Cooling the Planet 

DGA are determined to reduce emissions and in the spirit of COP26, we know that we are not alone. The level of embodied carbon emitted into the earth’s atmosphere from the UK’s building sector is unsustainable and unacceptable. The world is pushing a climate agenda whilst relying on fossil fuels to heat homes. The solution? A retrofit revolution. The 2021 UK Building and Heating Strategy is the starting point.  

What is the Heat and Buildings strategy? 

It is a decarbonisation strategy that sets out the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces by replacing fossil-fuelled heating systems (gas boilers) with low carbon heating solutions (heat pumps). 

The strategy signals an intention to phase out the installation of new natural gas boilers from 2035. This means that by 2028 we will need to replace at least 600,000 every year to reach the target of net zero by 2050. 

Under the government’s £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, from April 2022-2025 households will receive grants of £5,000 when they switch to an air source heat pump or £6,000 when they switch to a ground source one. Additionally, applications for the UK RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scheme that provides quarterly tariff payments for households using renewable heat systems, such as heat pumps, are open until March 2022. 

What is a heat pump? 

A heat pump is a renewable energy solution for household heating and hot water needs. An air source heat pump (ASHP) absorbs heat energy from the air outside and passes through a heat exchanger. A ground source heat pump (GSHP) gets heat energy from water circulating in underground pipes, which is pumped into a heat exchanger inside the house. Typically, ground source heat pumps provide more energy than air source heat pumps. 

What are the costs? 

Initial investment costs: the cost of an air source heat pump is approximately £7,000 – £13,000. A ground source heat pump on the other hand can cost between £14,000-£19,000. In comparison, the average cost of a new boiler ranges from around £1,500 to £2,000. 

Running costs: Heat pumps safeguard homeowners against fluctuations in energy prices. Despite the cost of electricity being higher than gas, oil and LPG in the UK, the high efficiency of heat pumps makes households less reliant on electricity. In the event of electricity prices coming down in the future, the running cost of heat pumps would fall even further.  

Replacement costsA typical air source heat pump lasts for around 15+ years. Ground source heat pumps have a lifespan of around 25 years. In comparison, a typical gas or LPG boiler’s lifespan is around 8 – 12 years. 

How will the UK heating market change 

The science is clear, to avoid climate disaster we need to reach net zero by 2050. Using renewable energy as opposed to fossil fuels is the most effective way to reduce emissions. Figure 1, showing the UK average household CO2/kg emissions makes clear that the UK heating and electricity markets will change drastically between now and 2050 if we are to achieve crucial climate goals. 

Figure 1: UK average household CO2 emissions in kg based on Energy Systems Catapult analysis (2019)
Figure 1: UK average household CO2 emissions in kg based on Energy Systems Catapult analysis (2019)

What’s next? 

Frankly, the UK government Heat and Building Strategy is not enough on its own, but it is a great place to start. It’s not the governments job to give us all the solutions, we must act as well. DGA know how important the switch to low-carbon heating systems is for the environment and will act as trusted advisors in the sustainable optioneering space to support this market shift. 


When is The Right Time to Use an Expert QS?

We are living in the trickiest of times – material costs are volatile, labour and skills are in short supply, contracts are unfair, and clients can be relentless. Contractors are suffering and trying to adjust to the shifting conditions.

Tendering new work is time-consuming and uncertain at the best of times now it’s a nightmare. Using an estimating service helps with the time commitment but not with certainty, and it comes at a cost. For contractors, it’s important to focus resources and get as much bang for your buck as you can.

Having a clear strategy for acquiring new work and an understanding of the support options available and crucially when to use them really helps. The scattergun approach is high risk and stressful. Often using an online estimating platform is cost-effective and quick, it works best when you have a simple project with a less than 30% chance of winning the work. You may want to get a ballpark price to an architect quickly who sends you work regularly but you know that there are others in the frame – the risk is managed, that makes sense!

Using an expert professional cost management firm is more expensive but when is the time right to make this investment? The answer is when you need Advice and not just numbers…when you need a Wingman, not a pdf! A professional firm will look after your business in the round, ask you the questions – Do you want to grow? Do you want to maximise profit? How do you control your business? How are your stress levels? What are you signing? – getting the right advice should set you free to run your business with confidence and get you where you need to be with the angles covered. It’s all about the knowledge, the trust and the personal relationships – they should grow and develop with you.

So, if you just want just numbers then use an online platform – it’s the right decision if you want a team of well-connected industry specialists, experienced and capable of systematically taking your business from project acquisition to regular, dependable and successful completion then use an expert firm.

Signs You’re Hiring a Great Contractor

It is important to us at DGA that we assist you in every way that we can. Your contractor is your first step in the right direction of bringing your project all the way from start to finish, which is why we have put together the following tips and tricks to tell you how you know that you are hiring a great contractor.

It is important that you get to know your potential contractor both in a professional and personal manner. In a personal manner, it is important to make sure that your contractor is fair and reasonable, as well as friendly with a personable attitude. You want to ensure that your contractor is co-operative throughout the scheme, for example calling you when they said they would.

Professionally, it is essential that you put a good amount of research into anyone you pay to do work for you, so make sure you have knowledge of their relevant experience. You could also gather references from their previous completed schemes to give you that added peace of mind. It’s also a good sign that they are happy to provide you with the details of their previous clients and have no complaints about you contacting them. It is important that they have a good credit score and a consistent yearly turnover, as well as accreditations and an established subcontractor and supply chain. You also want to make sure your contractor isn’t spreading themselves too thin with other projects.

You want to make sure that you are working with someone who is prepared for anything and has contingency plans in place if something within the project goes wrong. It’s even better if the contractor is already extremely open and honest about what the client can expect on a daily basis on-site, with full transparency on who will be there, who makes decisions, how does the communication work and more. This shows a real willingness from them to work with the you, rather than against you, and is an extremely efficient way to work on site. It also shows their ability to adapt to different environments, showing their experience first-hand.

If you need any further advice on hiring a contractor, or are after any recommendations, please contact us at 01565831999 or and we will help out the best that we can.

The IPCC Report: A Wake-Up Call for the Construction Industry

This week at DGA we have been reading into the latest report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The report states that the earth’s surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century, surpassing 1.5°C and 2°C of warming above pre-industrial levels.  

As temperatures increase, climate change will intensify, and extreme weather events will become more frequent and intense. As we have seen, this year from July to August alone, the world has witnessed severe heatwaves in Greece, wildfires in Turkey, flooding in Germany and droughts in Chile. If human activity is not modified to reduce the amount of carbon gases emitted into the atmosphere, the effects of climate change will continue to worsen.  

In line with scientific findings, the IPCC issued a ‘Code Red for Humanity’. However, the IPCC also makes clear that if we reach net-zero by 2050 the earth’s surface temperature will stabilise by the end of the century. The only way to achieve net-zero by 2050 is by rapidly and immediately cutting carbon emissions.  

The building industry is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions. As a business we have the responsibility to identify carbon contributors, quantify the emitted carbon and reduce or completely cut CO2 emissions within our field. A building’s embodied carbon, or carbon footprint, is the total amount of CO2 emitted through the life-cycle of the building. This includes carbon emitted to the atmosphere from manufacture of materials and construction (capital carbon), and emissions from energy use (operational carbon).  

In order to reduce capital and operational carbon emissions across the entire building and construction supply chain we first need to identify and quantify them. This process is known as life-cycle analysis. Assessing life-cycle carbon impacts, including embodied carbon, is an incredibly complex and technical process. DGA Life, in partnership with Cercula, now possess the software and expertise needed to produce accurate life-cycle analysis data for every build. With this data we can optimise designs to be as low carbon as possible and provide clients with solid advice on how to make more sustainable choices. 

Transitioning the construction sector to a low-carbon model will slow climate change and deliver strong economic recovery benefits. Life cycle analysis data is extremely important as it makes people of aware of their design’s carbon footprint. To most people, the statistic that ‘The United Kingdom’s construction industry produced 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019’ sounds dramatic but may not mean much. Figure 2 shows the how much space a singular metric ton of CO2 occupies. Further to this, the emissions from the UK construction industry in 2019 is equivalent to driving 2.9 million passenger vehicles for one year. 

Figure 2: Actual volume of one metric ton of carbon dioxide gas, Carbon Visuals Ltd 2015. 

The IPCC report and corresponding news has painted a grim picture of the Earth’s future, but the situation is not beyond saving. As a company, we feel the urgency to act fast. At DGA we take on the responsibility of calculating the carbon footprint for each design and we can confidently explain the environmental impact of each build to our clients. This information has immense value. DGA Life has the climate-based solutions so desperately needed within the construction industry to support the fight against climate change and build a better future.  

If you are in the process or considering selling land you own to developers there is one thing in particular that you need to know about that could save you hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds.

If you are in the process or considering selling land you own to developers there is one thing in particular that you need to know about that could save you hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds.


Most land owners miss out on up to 50% of the value of their land when selling to property developers…

Why? Exaggerated Abnormal Costs

The Final Open Market Value of Land is often greatly reduced by overstated or pessimistic ‘abnormal’ costs assessed by the developer…

These costs are deducted from the ‘Gross Development Value’ of the site to arrive at an ‘Open Market Valuation’ which forms the basis of the amount paid for your land.

Here at Derek Gough Associates we are experts in reducing and negotiating these Abnormal Costs.



A: Land owners and Estate Agents want the maximum Value for the land you are selling.

As independent cost consultants, we have successfully helped landowners maximise the return on their land under option agreements.

The final value landowners receive is often greatly reduced by pessimistic or overstated costs assessed by the developer.

Our experience and expertise in this field allows us to analyse cost estimates with confidence that we can generate better value for the landowner of his land.


A: The higher the projected cost of Abnormals the less the developer will pay the landowner for the land.

Developers frequently tend to be cautious and overestimate abnormal costs so this makes them a key element that can devalue a site.

These costs are deducted from the Gross Development Value of the site to arrive at an Open Market Valuation which forms the basis of the amount paid for the land.

The higher the costs of Abnormals the less the developer will pay the landowner for the land.


A: Abnormal costs are additional or unusual costs that a developer might face when developing a site. For example, unusual ground conditions may mean that deeper and more expensive foundations are needed. These could even include unusual items like archaeology works.


A: Working with Estate Agents, DGA work on behalf of the landowner to independently review and question the developer’s figures.

We use our experience in this area by conducting a thorough cost analysis of abnormal costs.

We investigate all relevant cost assumptions to get them reduced and agree a more realistic price for the landowner

We can act as an expert witness if cases go to independent determination.


A: On recent Projects we have achieved much higher final agreed Open Market Value for the land by using our negotiating skills with the developer to accept more realistic Abnormal costs.

This increase in value has been significantly higher for the landowner.


A: Whilst it depends on the project the savings are usually range from the hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds.

Here at DGA we minimise the upfront risk to you with our fees largely a percentage of the saving we make for you.

As an example last year we negotiated savings of almost £5,000,000 on a single abnormal cost related to oversize pipes and drainage. Across the project the realised savings made for Land Owners were over £11.5 million.

Some other savings we’ve helped negotiate include:

As you can see the saving soon add up.


A: Ideally we would get involved before you sign anything. But we can add value at every stage of the process right through to dispute, even when you think it is too late…

Don’t do anything else until you speak to us to understand how we can protect your interests and get the best price for your land.


DGA are experts with a proven track record in protecting land owners interests. We help protect your land value and make sure you get paid fairly.

You can count on our team for quality, reliable and expert advice. We always have your best interests at heart, ensuring you get paid what your land is worth.

Contact us on 01565 831 999, online or read more about our Abnormal Development Cost Advice service.

Introducing: DGA Life

DGA’s new sustainability service – lifting the veil on embodied carbon, highlighting savings from low energy homes, and more.

It’s time for the building sector to stop kicking climate change into the long grass. The decades of time we have had to change our fossil-fuel based infrastructure has shrunk to 11 years. As we embark on a new year and considering the pandemic, a new way of living, DGA recognises that the construction industry has to play its part in battling the climate crisis. We think this should start by changing our way of thinking from short term gratification to long term forward planning.

Using guidance set out from the RICS and internationally agreed standards DGA can proudly present its life cycle costing service, spelling out the true cost of your build, including maintenance, operation and end of life costs. We also calculate the embodied carbon of your building using the latest life cycle assessment technology endorsed by BREEAM. DGA Life add data to your design decisions, making optioneering for the greenest build possible a synch.

The construction industry is responsible for around 40% of all climate emissions in the UK. In order to for the UK to adequately respond to the climate crisis and build a safe, renewable infrastructure for future generations, our entire approach to building needs radical evolution. The buildings constructed today are likely to last at least 60 years. This means any building built today that does not comply with low energy standards will have to be retrofitted in order to meet targets set by the UK government for 2050. Additionally, as it stands, 27 million homes in the UK will need to be deeply retrofitted at an average expense of £26,300.

So, what is the true cost of construction? For a long time, it was considered that capital costs and return on investment were the most important considerations. However, buildings are much more than just their construction, they are homes to be lived in, offices to be worked in, buildings for the community to interact in. The average person spends £686,125 on household bills over their lifetimeUtilities and maintenance costs will often dwarf the capital cost of a house over its lifetime.

With impact of Covid-19, more households are concerned about their bills, and as the cost of heating rises, so will the number of people in fuel poverty. Considering £9.5 billion a year worth of energy is wasted, most of which is in the form of heat energy, increasing the efficiency of homes could give a welcome boost to the UK economy whilst giving low income households one less thing to worry about.

To fulfil the objectives of the Paris Agreement, there must be a rapid, fundamental change to our infrastructure. This must come with a just transition with no one left behind. Sounds overwhelming, but the past few weeks have proved that in 2020 we can achieve anything when industry works together towards a common goal.

Get in touch with us on social media to share your stories of how you are tackling the climate crisis.

Read more about our sustainability services here.

Clever Heating is Cooling the Planet

When is The Right Time to Use an Expert QS?

Signs You’re Hiring a Great Contractor

The IPCC Report: A Wake-Up Call for the Construction Industry

Abnormal cost development review and advice

Introducing: DGA Life

Life as a Senior QS

DGA – 2019 Finalist for ‘Business of the Year’

Interview with a DGA Intern

We are experienced Conquest™ users. As well as other technical software

Why You Need a Quantity Surveyor for Your Next Tender

Why You Should Use a Quantity Surveyor When You Build That New Extension

What Is a Quantity Surveyor?

5 Ways A Quantity Surveyor Saves You From Stress on Your Building Projects

Avoid Disputes with Your Builder: Hire a Quantity Surveyor

How A Quantity Surveyor Saves You Time, Money And Headaches

Why Use A Quantity Surveyor?

10 Ways DGA Can Assist a Contractor with Tendering

Construction Excellence in Wales

Cheshire East Council announce plans for 36,000 homes by 2030.

Carving out a niche for underground construction

Construction field set for 5 years of growth and impact on QS

Bunker Building Development Update | Liverpool

London –“Contractors have the power”

Autumn Statement – Changes to the Construction Industry

Late payments and non payment of retentions

Difference Between Quantity Surveying & Building Surveying

Williams Premiership Success at the Etihad Stadium​

A Guide To Using A Quantity Surveyor For Your Self Build Home

Introducing: DGA Life

Every family has a driving force, and at DGA, one of our family’s driving forces is our outstanding team of senior quantity surveyors. Despite the title, our quantity surveyors are all equals, whether they have been practicing for years, or they are brand new in the industry. Our seniors guide, focus and assist our assistants in any way that they can, encouraging excellent results every time. Our team are our biggest achievement, and we cannot wait for our clients and peers to get to know us all.

I sat down with one of our seniors Will Cheung, who manages the BQ department at DGA, to find out the ins and outs of life as a senior QS.

  1. What made you want to become a QS?

Whilst I was in college choosing my options for university, I wanted to do accountancy. It was after my brother spoke to me and suggested being a QS. I didn’t know what a QS was at the time, but I did my research on it and it sounded interesting. It was like mixing accountancy and construction all in one. This was appealing to me as I wasn’t just looking at numbers, I was able to see a final product of the numbers in the shape of the construction project.

  1. Hardest part of the job?

I think the hardest part of the job is capturing the full project from the drawings and understanding all the fine details. The details could be financial by keeping track of the smallest amounts or information depicted on the drawings. As a QS, you need a keen eye for detail and a logical approach to tasks.

  1. Most rewarding/favourite part of the job?

Managing the BQ department. From this, I train the juniors and assistants in this area. As time passes, I can see the progress that they make. I try and tailor my approach to each QS when training as everyone has a preferred style. The satisfaction I have from receiving the BQs which require zero changes is great as it illustrates the hard-work we all put in the get to the end product.

  1. Biggest professional achievement?

Seven years ago, I started my journey as a QS and 4 years later, I lead and manage a team of QSs producing BQs.

  1. What are your professional goals for the future?

Currently, I am working through my APC to get chartered and to achieve MRICS status. Following that, I would like to achieve MCIOB status too.

Introducing: DGA Life

DGA was a finalist for the “Business of the Year £1m+” award, This was awarded at the North East Cheshire Business Awards (NECBA).

After being established in 1993 this is a huge achievement for the company. This was the first time DGA had been nominated for the award and they won bronze on the night. The team are set to strive even further for success in the hopes that it leads to a gold in next year’s ceremony.

It was a fantastic night for the team with Nick Wilkinson winning Apprentice of the Year.

DGA is a co-owned, family owned business where our team is our future so nights like this are all the more important. 

Introducing: DGA Life


We use the latest software packages, combined with years of experience, sound advice and technical support, saving you money without compromising on quality.

All of our team are trained on Bluebeam providing our clients with detailed and accurate measures.

What is ConQuest™?

ConQuest™ is the leading Estimating, Cost Planning and Surveying software for Main Contractors, Specialist Subcontractors, Refurbishment & Fit Out Contractors. The software allows even the most complex bill items to be be easily priced using a whole range of pricing techniques. To give effective estimates it uses a library that consists of millions of priced items, tried and tested by the majority of the industry.

Why do we use Bluebeam?

Bluebeam allows for all our team to collaborate with accurate plans to make sure we give you the best and most reliable service possible. It also allows us to organise all of the plans we work with effectively, allowing for a steamline workflow for both our team and you.

Introducing: DGA Life

Hiring a quantity surveyor is one of the best investments contractors like you can make. This professional is trained to cost the construction project, advise you on the smartest and most efficient procurement methods or the need for consultants, provide regular cost reports, and keep you within budget, among other things.

What’s more, the expertise of a quantity surveyor can especially come in handy when you are tendering for construction projects. Here are just a few examples of how the quantity surveyor can prove to be an asset to you during this critical time:

Quantity surveyors can assess a potential client. Before you commit to submitting a tender, which can be expensive and quite risky, it helps to get the quantity surveyor to accompany you to the site and determine whether the project is indeed worth going through with. A fresh eye can lend you a clearer perspective of the work that lies ahead and help you make a fully informed decision.

They can find out if your chances of securing the job are good. There can be a number of contractors competing for a single job at any given time; often, when there are more than four, you would be discouraged from taking the risk. A quantity surveyor can obtain information on this — if there are less than four contractors, you gain a better shot and can then focus your energy and resources toward the tender. This can also help you avoid situations wherein the potential client is simply checking out alternative prices.

A quantity surveyor can check if the rates are reasonable. In every job, there will be proposals for liquidated damages. You’ll be able to know if the provided pre-estimate of the loss is satisfactory for you in the event that you successfully secure the job; you may be promised to receive, for example, the equivalent rental amount for an unfinished house. Likewise, quantity surveyors can assess the formal contract and look it over for fair terms and conditions, as well as make sure that the standard retention terms are adhered to.

They can examine the proposed contract period. A quantity surveyor can provide an in-house programming service that can help figure out whether the proposed period is actually achievable on your end.

Having a quantity surveyor on board during the tendering process can be an advantageous move for your business. It may just be the key to securing the best possible contracts for your company.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

Introducing: DGA Life

Almost all types of construction projects, ranging from large building projects to residential extensions, can benefit from the services of a quantity surveyor. Why aren’t companies and individual property owners taking advantage of the services quantity surveyors offer?

In order to better answer that question, it is imperative to understand the critical role that a quantity surveyor plays in a construction project.

Also known as construction economists, project managers and cost engineers, quantity surveyors are more known for their work in large-scale commercial projects. In these projects, their main role is to oversee the costs involved in a construction project — or, to put it succinctly, to ensure that the property owner gets the best value out of his investment.

The main task of a quantity surveyor is to cost the building project. But apart from this critical function, a quantity surveyor also performs other tasks that can effectively reduce the risks associated with any type of construction project. These tasks include cost planning, setting timetables, value engineering, conducting feasibility studies, and valuation of works and work packages.

Quantity surveyors may also perform some of the roles that are often associated with estate agents. These include building and measure surveys, handling planning applications, insurance assessment and claims assistance, defect investigation, conducting pre-acquisition surveys, and negotiating dilapidations.

Apart from ensuring that a project remains within budget, quantity surveyors can perform multiple roles, including quality control.

Why aren’t some property owners and construction firms hiring these professionals? Some think that hiring a building surveyor will only add to the overall project cost. It may sound counterintuitive, but hiring a quantity surveyor before the project starts can actually help you save more money over the long run.

Ideally, you should appoint an independent quantity surveyor at around the same time that you hire an architect for your home extension. This will ensure that you can actually afford the project cost before the submission of building plans.

It is critical to underscore the importance of hiring a surveyor independent from the construction firm and the architect. An independent surveyor will act as your representative and can prove to be an invaluable ally in situations where conflicts arise between the builder and the property owner. Your quantity surveyor can ensure that you are not over-charged and provide you with comfort and advice during the mediation process.

Is hiring a quantity surveyor worth the money? When you are working with a set budget, it may seem counterintuitive to hire another professional for your project. However, with the immense value that a quantity surveyor brings to the project, you are making a sound investment.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

Introducing: DGA Life

A construction project is not without its challenges. No matter how experienced the builders may be with all types of construction, there is one issue that almost always comes up: the cost of the project. This is the main reason why project managers need the services of a quantity surveyor each time they have a project. Hire one during the planning phase of the construction and not in the middle of the project when the issue is starting; this is to avoid the issue of the cost from the very beginning.

But first, let us discuss what a quantity surveyor is and what his role in a construction project would be.

A quantity surveyor is the person who is tasked with making an estimate of the cost of the project and making sure that the project is managed efficiently. This estimate includes the cost of materials, services and labour. It does not matter whether the project is to build a high-rise building construction, a bridge, or residential property. Knowing the cost before the actual construction begins is crucial.

Aside from giving an estimate of the cost of a construction project, there are a number of other roles for quantity surveyors. They are also responsible for making certain that the project is completed on time and keeping the project within the budget. They inspect the construction site and observe the progress of the project. It is a common practice among quantity surveyors not to release the whole budget for the project at the start of construction. They normally divide the project into several stages and release a budget for each stage. This way, the budget is managed efficiently and the risk of spending more is reduced.

The surveyor is also responsible for building inspections and making sure that the structure complies with the building regulations of the city. Note that not complying with building regulations may pose a problem. They also assist in insurance assessment, claims assistance, and defect investigation, and can serve as a maintenance advisor. In addition, a surveyor can settle disputes among contracting parties.

There are quantity surveyors that specialise in only one area, but you could certainly find one who has experience in all types of construction work. If you are keen on having smooth project operations, it would be to your advantage to hire one and be assured that your interests are looked after even if you are away.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

Introducing: DGA Life

It is essential to find the right balance between cost, time and quality when undertaking a home building project. When you work with a professional, experienced and ingenious team, you’ll have access to various solutions that will allow you to follow your plans but remain aligned with your budget and timeframe.

On the other hand, when the team in charge of the building project fails to achieve this balance, it can result in a host of problems, from cost overruns to project delays and even safety hazards due to inferior workmanship. You can avoid this high level of stress in your building projects by hiring a reputable quantity surveyor.

quantity surveyor, also known as a cost engineer, can help take the stress out of your building project through the following ways:

You’ll have an accurate idea of how much the project will cost. Your quantity surveyor allows you to make sufficient preparation for the project by providing you with accurate, up-to-date and relevant cost information based on the project plans. The more understanding you have of the processes involved, the better you can eliminate mistakes and focus your attention and resources on what matters most to you.

You can develop a realistic budget that is aligned with your vision.The quantity surveyor will take the time to sit down with you and acquire a good understanding of your priorities and expectations. Based on your requirements, the quantity surveyor will then develop a feasibility study. A highly skilled quantity surveyor will be able to plot out the most cost-efficient ways to translate your ideas from concept to completion (that’s why they are also called “value engineers”).

You’ll have a systematic way of overseeing your budget. A building project is made up of numerous moving parts that involve a large number of people, regardless of how big or small your property may be. Keeping track of every single expense can be difficult if you’re not armed with the skills and the experience to do it. A quantity surveyor will keep an eye on spending and implement cost control measures to cut additional expenses.

You’ll have someone to resolve changes and disputes in the middle of the project. When something unexpected happens in the middle of a project, it most likely will directly affect the project funds. Thus, quantity surveyors are also tasked to address changes (such as a delay in the timetable or a different route a contractor is suggesting) as they happen. This way, you can be sure to work within your budget without sacrificing your standards and preferences.

You’ll be able to have an objective assessment upon project completion. Unlike your other contractors, the work of a quantity surveyor does not stop once the property has been built. It is also part of their duty to submit a final report that details an itemised tally of all the actual costs incurred.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

Introducing: DGA Life

During a construction project, coming across issues or problems is unavoidable. If you go around and ask owners of different buildings, they will tell you that a million things could go wrong throughout the project period. However, hiring the right people can bring that number of potential problems down so that you can experience smooth sailing when building a commercial space, a residential structure, or any other type of construction that you plan on doing.

One of the many problems that you could and would definitely want to avoid is facing disputes with your builders. Here are a few examples of the problems you could potentially encounter with the team:

  1. When the owner of the building does not have enough knowledge on the process of purchasing and choosing what to purchase, they usually leave it up to the builders to make the decision. However, in many cases, this ends in disappointment and spending more money than you should. The builders may make decisions that do not put your interest first. 
  2. Builders do not make inspections and make a progress report. If no one checks on the quality of work being done and makes sure that the budget is being followed, there could be financial problems. And if the two of you do not work out these issues, the builder could just stop working and leave the project unfinished. 
  3. Disputes with builders tend to come up if the contract is not specific. If a certain work on a building is not specified on a contract, the builders are not going to do it. You will need a person who knows what needs to be done, a person with a construction background such as a quantity surveyor to review the contract for you.
  4. Builders rarely visit the construction site before they begin work. In the event that they find something wrong with the location or if there is an obstruction, they will refuse to do the job and you will be left with financial repercussions.

This is why it is crucial to the success of your project to hire a quantity surveyor since that person has the knowledge and experience when it comes to construction. He will be with you planning the whole thing from the very beginning until the project is completed. Disputing with your builders will get you nowhere, especially if you lack the knowledge and experience. What’s more, it is going to cost you even more money than you had planned on spending.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch

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Whether you’re a contractor tendering for a major construction project or a private individual building an expensive home, it would serve you well to hire a quantity surveyor to control the cost of the project. The job description includes cost planning, timetable creation, value engineering, feasibility studies, as well as work and work packages valuation. In more comprehensible terms, quantity surveyors are construction cost consultants.

How do all these activities help your project? First and foremost, having a quantity surveyor on board provides certainty in key areas. They will do the following:

A quantity surveyor also works to minimise and manage the risks usually associated with construction projects. To accomplish this, he will:

In hiring a quantity surveyor, you benefit the project with the services of a professional who will work to maximise its efficacy and efficiency. A high-quality quantity surveyor has the following attributes and qualifications:

All these are delivered by an excellent quantity surveyor, ultimately saving you time and money as well as sparing you from the usual headaches present in a construction project. The service is, without a doubt, a wise investment.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

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Predicting costs for large construction projects that are yet to be procured is a real challenge these days due to the influence of the uncertain European market on suppliers. This situation elicits a direr need to control costs and maximise value as a project unfolds. For this reason, there is now a growing trend for developers and construction companies to hire a quantity surveyor where before, they might have gone without this professional service.

Even if the developer already has a commercial manager, the role of a quantity surveyor is still important. With different procurement methods coming up and changing as new technologies emerge, there is a need for a cost expert to put rhyme and reason to everything.

The services of a quantity surveyor are relevant from the tender stages to the post-contract phase where disputes may arise. No matter what stage the quantity surveyor comes on board, he can ensure that the developer won’t unnecessarily be exposed to financial risk. He can save the company money in various ways or find ways to not spend money in the first place. He does this by working with designers to confirm that the most cost-effective design is chosen, guiding clients in hiring contractors, helping them negotiate a cost plan with chosen contractors, etc. These are valid ways to mitigate financial risks and avoid disputes.

Speaking of disputes, “prevention is better than cure” also works in this scenario, so quantity surveyors work toward dispute avoidance right off, but if disputes do arise, they are equipped to efficiently handle dispute resolution as well.

With the market tightening, more and more disputes are bound to happen, but the true worth of a quantity surveyor is manifested when hired from the outset so that there can be consistent control over the finances throughout the entirety of the project. His services are most beneficial to construction companies and individuals looking to build an impressive home.

For homeowners who are building an expensive house, the recommendation is that they engage the services of a quantity surveyor even if their contractor already has an in-house one. It’s not simple to accurately estimate the cost of a project, and staying within budget is hardly ever easy. It’s best that construction clients engage a quantity surveyor independent of the architect and contractor, but who will liaise with them to look out for the client’s best interests and save money where possible.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.

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Tendering is expensive and can be risky – here is how we can help


How DGA can help you: we can accompany the builder on an initial site visit and offer a second opinion


How DGA can help you: if there is a contract proposed, we can look over to ensure it is fair to the contractor


How DGA can help you: normally 5% with 2.5% released on completion. DGA can check this to make sure standard terms are adhered to .


How DGA can help you: must be a reasonable pre estimate of the loss – eg equivalent rental value of the uncompleted house . DGA can assess this


How DGA can help you: DGA offer an in house programming service


How DGA can help you: DGA can offer advice on who the consultants usually work with


How DGA can help you: over 4 contractors – usually not worth pricing ; less than 4 – one or two may drop out in the tender process and leave you with a better chance. We can find this information out for you.


How DGA can help you: this will improve the chances of the tenders being received on an equal basis and also reduce the cost of tendering . If there is not a BQ we can produce one.


How DGA can help you: the cost of the initial budget will be a lot less than the cost of the full tender and may be an inexpensive way to assess whether the client is serious or not


How DGA can help you: we can lead these on your behalf to ensure that your precious margin is not diminished or even eliminated altogether !

If you’re a contractor looking for a quantity surveyor to help with your next tender, please get in touch with us for a quote.

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CEW would like to recruit construction businesses, property developers and self-builders who wish to limit waste to landfill derived from their demolition, refurbishment or new build projects.

Participants will receive the support of an independent waste manager who will work with site managers and operatives assisting with waste management solutions.In order to meet reporting timetables, CEW is specifically looking for construction schemes that are currently at or near the design stage and will be starting on site before the 30th June 2015.

We are particularly interested in projects involving demolition, refurbishment and groundwork aspects as well as new build. These aspects can be part of a wider project.

NOTE: To register your interest in this notice and obtain any additional information, please visit Sell2Wales.

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Cheshire East Council has announced this week that it will be revisiting it’s housing target, and aim to build 36,000 homes by 2030, to meet demand.

They have added an extra 7,000 homes to the original target of 29,000, after an assessment found “serious shortcomings” in the amount of homes planned for development.

The most likely areas for the extra development have been identified as being Knutsford, Wilmslow and Poynton, due to the borough’s economy looking likely to grow quicker than originally forecasted.

Council leader Michael Jones says,

“Unless we want to see our roads clogged by a huge increase in commuter journeys into the area, we need to provide more housing locally to accommodate the likely increase in the number of people working in the borough.”

The council’s findings will be submitted to a government inspector in July, who will also be asking for the views of both residents and developers.

Whatever the outcome, it sounds like exciting times ahead for the Cheshire East area!

Image courtesy of BBC News.

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Crossrail contractors including Balfour Beatty, Vinci and BAM Nuttall have been awarded a skills funding package by the Government, worth £1.1million to help create a legacy for underground construction work in the wake of the Crossrail project.  The award of funding can be seen as a clear signal of intent to boost knowledge and skills in the construction of underground structures and networks, with several projects set to get underway, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel scheduled to begin in 2016, and the National Grid and EDF electricity cable tunnels needing updating.

In the longer term, the tunnelling of HS2/3 and Crossrail 2, will require further work.  This work will mean contractors can carve out a niche in underground work, and this Government initiative will equip them to do so.  

For more information about the Crossrail project, view the complete article.

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Recently, forecasted that the construction industry is primed for an anticipated 5 years worth of growth.  The main factors for this positive growth is attributed back to private housing, infrastructure and commercial sectors.

With the immediate growth on the horizon, has potential for direct impact on the QS field in a few ways. Our team at Derek Gough Associates, have the expertise and skills to support construction growth within numerous sectors.

1.) Private housing, infrastructure and commercial work the main drivers – All three of these sectors are ones in which DGA operates with previous success rate.

2.) Private housing – We offer feasibility and appraisal services to private developers. In addition, our team offers measuring and pricing services to Trade contractors;

3.) Infrastructure  – For large scale infrastructure and civil projects, we have skills and expertise for measure and price services to  civil engineering contractors

4.) Commercial – Within the commercial sector, we can work with contractors and developers who are tendering for work with accurate construction costings. In addition, our team offers we offer feasibility services to developers.

5.) London commercial and residential activity continues to be a growth area. Our knowledge and expertise in this area means we are well placed to assist both private clients and architects with their requirements.

The entire team at Derek Gough is prepared to support various fields and sectors of construction with this projected industry growth.  For more information, view our services or contact us at 01565 831 999.

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The first phase of the redevelopment of the former Littlewoods complex off Liverpool’s Edge Lane is nearing completion. Works began in April 2014 and are scheduled for completion at the end of this month. The aim of the redevelopment of the 22,000 sqf space known as the Bunker Building was to create modern office suites over two floors utilising the existing concrete frame incorporating both new and traditional construction techniques.

Derek Gough Associates Ltd. acted as the pre-contract Quantity Surveyors and tendered the works on behalf of the principle contractor that secured the £2 million contract.

Learn more about the support and services Derek Gough can provide to commercial construction projects.

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Contractors are now becoming more selective, assessing project attractiveness and risks. According to AECOM’s 2014 London Contractors Survey the shift in the balance of power comes with rising workloads and growing skills shortages. AECOM forecasts that 2014 will end with a 5-6% tender price inflation in the London market and is predicting inflation of 5.1% in 2015 and 5.3% in 2016.  A shortage of labour, skilled professionals such as brick layers and joiners is the main reasoning behind the forecasted increase.

Here at Derek Gough Associates we realise the importance to use the most current and accurate cost data to cover main contractor’s risk.  Contact a member of our team today to learn more on how we can assist in costing any size construction project.

View the complete AECOM 2014 London Contractors Survey.

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Yesterday the Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement, and announced a surprising reform of stamp duty which may have knock on effects at both the lower and higher end of the housing market in the North West and London.


The key points of the statement relating to the construction industry are outlined as below:


Construction experts are encouraged by the news on stamp duty, calling it a stimulus in a somewhat frozen housing market. 98% of buyers outside of London will be better off under the scheme, with only houses worth £1million and above seeing increases in tax paid. The tax decreases at the lower and middle end of the housing market will free up more equity for house buyers to put towards things like deposits and renovations. George Osborne has said in the past that he wants home ownership to be achievable for all, and these latest cuts perhaps see a further move away from private rental schemes as the desired norm for housing tenure. Developers may want to take note as profitability on buy to rent schemes may see a downward trend as a result.

Other changes that will purportedly be made are promised with next summer’s election looming in the foreground, with large swathes of investment in the North, especially Manchester, promised. How feasible these changes will be should a change of Government be brought about remains to be seen, but a balancing of the economy geographically is certainly in George Osborne’s mind, and as a result London contractors and developers may want to look North.

Osborne’s news on stamp duty is welcome for most of the construction industry, but whether other changes can make a long lasting impact will be much more clearer after next summer.

[1] You will pay no tax on the first £125,000 paid. Then 2 per cent on the portion up to £250,000.Then 5 per cent up to £925,000.Then 10 per cent up to £1.5 million.Then 12 per cent on everything over that.

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It is apparent to us here at Derek Gough that despite government legislation and initiatives, the problem of non and late payment persists.

According to National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC), over £200m of late payments and retentions were off as bad debts by subcontractors over the past year.  The survey, conducted of 719 firms with a combined turnover of £3bn, found that retentions and late payment accounted for 6.6% of subcontractors’ turnover.

Even allowing for some ‘own fault’ money here, to us this illustrates the importance of:

  1. Subcontractors not agreeing to retentions and instead offering insurance backed warranties  – we are seeing an increase useage of this method, with main contractors now wishing to keep their key subcontractors happy and on board.
  2. Scrupulous keeping of good records during the course of the job. Signed confirmation of VO,s, signed record and daywork sheets and prompt notification of relevant events and effect on programme are key here.
  3. Relentless pursuance of main contractors surveying and accounts departments to ensure timely payment
  4. Immediate rectification of any defective work by the subcontractor.
  5. The use of rolling final accounts to iron out any discrepancies in the account as the job proceeds – again we have expertise in this field.

Read the complete article on

For more information on how the team at Derek Gough can help oversee the costing of your next building project, please contact us for further details at 01565 831 999.

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In the field of construction costing, we are often asked what is the difference between Quantity Surveyor and Building Surveying.  We thought we’d have our expert team answer the question once and for all, to help give you the information needed to progress your project.

Quantity Surveying is concerned primarily with project cost where the number, amount, type of materials are counted and priced to provide project estimates, budget and cost control through the works.  Quantity surveyors control construction costs by accurate measurement of the work required, the application of expert knowledge of costs and prices of work, labour, materials and plant required, an understanding of the implications of design decisions at an early stage to ensure that good value is obtained for the money to be expended.

Building Surveying covers a broad spectrum of roles from measured survey and design, structural surveys, legal matters such as leases and party wall awards, contract running and site supervision etc etc. More of a site based role liaising with clients and builders.

The technique of measuring quantities from drawings and specifications prepared by designers, principally architects and engineers, in order to prepare Tender/Contract Documents, is known in the industry as taking off. The quantities of work taken off typically are used to prepare bills of quantities, which usually are prepared in accordance with a published standard method of measurement as agreed to by the QS profession and representatives of the construction industry.

To learn more about the costing services Derek Gough Associates can lend to your construction project, view our Services page or contact a member of our team.

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Williams Construction, one of DGA’s most valued clients, have recently completed a Civil engineering contract at the new Manchester City Football academy.

Stockport completed a work package for drainage foundations and slabs to the Facilities Management Building. The work comprises part of the overall £130 million contract due for completion in July 2014.

Commented Gareth Williams , Managing Director, ‘We are pleased to be associated with such a prestigious contract and club’. This is the latest in a series of contract wins for Williams, including work at Media City in Salford, Ellesmere Port sports and leisure village, and work at Airbus UK, Chester.

DGA provide pre and post contract commercial support to all of Williams contracts.

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Here’s something everybody needs to understand about taking the DIY route with construction: there are aspects of this undertaking that should be left to the pros. Take the advice of seasoned builders who say, “If there’s a job that you don’t want done and paid for twice, leave it to the professionals.”

Among the professional services that you should really consider when you’re building a home are those provided by a quantity surveyor. A quantity surveyor manages the cost of construction projects so you can effectively stay within budget. The job is meticulous – it involves cost planning, scheduling, value engineering, feasibility studies and valuation of works and work packages. All in all a quantity surveyor will protect the financial aspect of your building project.

If you’re keen on hiring this professional, here is a guide to follow in utilising their services.


For a self-build home, lay down your plans early – doing this will allow the quantity surveyor to develop the estimated cost of the project and give you a good idea of how much money you’ll need for the project to be carried out properly.


Before you’re presented the risks, the quantity surveyor will speak with the other professionals you’re hiring for the project to identify what the risks are. The quantity surveyor will then review them in order to make sure you will not be paying more than you need to.


Quantity surveyor can provide reliable advice on all the aspects of the project that will require your money. With his industry experience, he can list down all the cost-effective and efficient procurement options available to you so you can stay within budget without compromising the quality you want from the final product. You may even get a recommendation from professionals (such as landscapers and interior designers) that can assist with the project whose services your budget can afford.


Change of plans always has a direct impact on the allocated budget. It’s imperative to keep your quantity surveyor updated about any change so the necessary adjustments can be done in a way that will preserve your original budget.


This bit will help you stay on top of the completed work and the cost it has accumulated from the budget that you have set.

Hiring a quantity surveyor to assist you in this undertaking will cost you some but you can rest assured that it’ll be worth it. Not only will you be able to maintain your budget with the help of an expert, you may also save a significant amount of money without deviating from your project vision.

If you’d like to learn more about how a Quantity Surveyor can help you on your next project, please get in touch.