It is 35 years since my first introduction to Quantity Surveying.

Following A-levels I was considering various careers & decided Quantity Surveying was the job for me.  But it transpired that what a Quantity Surveyor actually did, was not what I had thought!

At my first interview with a Quantity Surveying Practice I was asked why I wanted to be a Quantity Surveyor, “Because I like  drawing work” (technical drawing was one of my strongest subjects), to which the response was “Oh no, we don’t do that”!  It might have made a good comedy sketch because misunderstanding what a Quantity Surveyor does has been the subject of much humour over the years.

Stephen Fry, (harbouring a secret desire for a change in profession?) has on several occasions chosen Quantity Surveyors as the butt of his jokes. In 1990, he depicted himself as a prominent Quantity Surveyor ‘jiving’ around a pedestal whilst ‘surveying’ a pile of soil, exclaiming “Well, that’s got that quantity surveyed”.

At the British Academy Awards in 2013 he suggested that Oscar nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal would perhaps one day achieve her dream of becoming a Quantity Surveyor.

The Monty Python team reference them too:

The “Bookshop Sketch” culminates with an infuriated bookshop owner finally being able to satisfy a troublesome customer’s ridiculous requests with “Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying”.

In “Bicycle Repairman”, where everyone is Superman but no one can repair a bicycle, the Python team parody the famous “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Superman!”, line with, “Oh look – is it a Stockbroker? Is it a Quantity Surveyor? Is it a Church Warden? No! It’s Bicycle Repairman!”

So, how has the Quantity Surveying profession managed, or rather mismanaged, its image to society when its role has been central to construction for millennia?

The first reference to surveying is biblical, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”

(Luke 14:28-30 New International Version)

The ancient Egyptians used a system of Quantity Surveying when building pyramids and temples, but the role/skill set really took off in the 17th century with the reconstruction of London following the Great Fire of 1666.

Before 1666 labourers were paid by the day but due to the sheer scale of the reconstruction task, it was decided that instead they would be paid for the work carried out.  Work was measured from the plans and an estimate for the total cost of the building was produced.

The professional role of Quantity Surveyor emerged in England in the early nineteenth century. One of the first was Sir Henry Arthur Hunt who was involved in the reconstruction of the Houses of Parliament after the fire in 1834, producing a cost estimate of £724,984.

Roll on 150 years and undeterred by my initial confusion, in the summer of 1986, I joined the profession as a Trainee Surveyor.

Some years later I was interviewed for an article and asked to explain what a Quantity Surveyor was.  At the time, I felt the simplest explanation was that a Quantity Surveyor was the accountant of the building industry – a ‘brick counter’, if you must.

We have our high-profile champions, Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame, provides some strong advice to those setting out on any building project.  Amongst his top tips on the Grand Designs Magazine Website:

  • Get the build costed by a professional Quantity Surveyor
  • NEVER rely on a costing produced by your builder or your architect; you will soon learn that the construction industry is occupied by idealists.

Looking back across my career and forward to the future.  Although modes of construction have changed and technology advanced, the reason why the Egyptians, St Luke, those reconstructing 17th century London, et al, focus on measuring, quantifying and costing, has not.  It is to eliminate the financial risk to a project, thereby ensuring its success.

As the world moves into a post-pandemic era, focus will be on recovery from the inevitable recession.  With nations, councils, and individuals finding finance tight, the need for sound financial management is essential.  In construction the role of the Quantity Surveyor will be more important than ever.

Moving forward, I believe the definition of a Quantity Surveyor will not simply be that of a brick-counter or accountant within the construction industry; perhaps Construction Financial Risk Manager would be more apt?

And, if you have a few minutes to spare, check out You Tube: Stephen Fry as a Quantity Surveyor is really rather funny.




“ I enjoy the buzz of helping clients unlock asset value in property through innovative design and refurbishment solutions”

I joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 1994, became a Partner in 1997 and Joint Senior Partner in 2011.  My time is split between fee earning work, the management of the business and business development.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Project Management Surveyor and an Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety.

My areas of expertise are Project Management, Dilapidations, Party Wall Advice and Defect Diagnosis.  I also act as an Expert Witness and am a member of the Academy of Experts.

Outside of work I am a keen sailor and have recently given in to the middle aged man’s craze of cycling around in tight lycra.  I am also a frustrated Ipswich Town Supporter.

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“I love the teamwork in delivering a project, but relish the knowledge that our singular input is making a real difference.”

I have been joint Senior Partner of Daniel Connal Partnership since 2011, having joined the practice in 1995 and been made Partner in 1999.

As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Building Surveyor, Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety and experienced project manager, I enjoy helping our clients deliver their ideas for their property through successful building projects.  It is my aim that our staff enjoy their work and that we always provide the best service we can.

When I am not working I enjoy being active and spending time with my family and friends.

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Jonathan Dennis MA, MRICS

“As an experienced Quantity Surveyor I strive to ensure that all of our clients achieve the best possible value for money when undertaking construction works.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2011 as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, was made an associate at the start of 2015 and Partner in January 2016.

I have wide ranging experience in sectors across the industry, including Urban Regeneration, Social Housing, Industrial and Manufacture, Education, Defence, Local Authority and Health and have recently enjoyed developing my knowledge of the conservation of buildings with Listed and Ancient Monument status.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cyclist and also enjoy a leisurely walk around the golf course.

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Andrew Long, MEng, MSc, MRICS

“As a surveyor I delight in the opportunity and knowledge that we have a direct impact on shaping the future, bringing buildings back into service and the prospect of leaving a lasting but sustainable impression on the earth.”

I became an Associate in 2011 having joined the practice in 2010.

As a Chartered Building Surveyor, with areas of expertise in Design, Contract Administration, Project Management, Defects Diagnosis, Building Surveys and Dilapidations, I endeavour to provide our clients with the best service to enhance, preserve and obtain the maximum returns on their diverse property portfolios and building projects.

Outside of work I am in demand from my young family and friends in various active pursuits.

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Jonathan Rensink, Tech.IOSH, AIIRSM, IMaPS

“By working hard and supporting others, you won’t be far off the quote that I take great inspiration from. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

I joined DCP in 1999 and was made an Associate in 2013.

A NEBOSH qualified Health and Safety Consultant; my areas of expertise are Health & Safety, CDM 2015 and the provision of Fire Safety and Risk Management advice.

Outside of work I enjoy walking, badminton and football, taking a keen interest in my local football club, Wivenhoe Town.

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Jason Froude BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Surveyor, my number one aim is to deliver success in terms of my Client’s expectations”

Having joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2002, I was made an Associate in 2013 and became a Partner in the London office in 2018. I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, with over 15 years experience and a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Project Management, Party Wall, Building Surveys and CDM Advice.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Association of Project Safety.

Lucky enough to have the Surrey Hills on my door step, I am a keen rambler, cycling enthusiast and lawn bowler for my local Lawn Bowls team. For my sins I am also a Crystal Palace Supporter.

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John Read




“It gives me great pride to take projects from inception to completion whilst working closely with the clients to meet their design and cost expectations through construction knowledge, design acumen and property expertise”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2003 as a trainee Building Surveyor with a BSc in Geography and then undertook a post graduate conversion course at Anglia Ruskin University. I became a Chartered Building Surveyor in 2010, was made an Associate of the Practice at the start of 2015 and became a Partner in 2019.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Association of Project Safety and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

I have a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Design, Contract Administration, Party Wall and CDM Co-ordination.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cricketer and partake in weekly five a side football. I am fortunate to live in the Norfolk countryside and enjoy the benefits of long country walks and sunny days at the beach.

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“I look to use my varied career experience to the benefit of each client and to produce the best outcome on every project”

I was appointed Associate at the Colchester Office in January 2016 having joined the Practice in January 2015.

I am both a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Chartered Construction Manager and have over 30 years’ experience working in both private practice and for contractors. I also have familiarity with the client’s perspective having overseen redevelopment of the buildings at my Church.

My varied experience & knowledge enables me to provide a balanced view on projects for the benefit of all parties involved in the construction process.

I am a Deacon & Trustee of my Baptist Church in Ipswich; enjoy theatre, visiting National Trust Properties and a game or two of tennis in the summer months.

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Chris Talford BSC (HONS) MRICS

“I enjoy assisting our varied client base in developing projects right from the initial idea through to a fully finished building, I take great satisfaction in helping clients understand and develop their knowledge of construction along the way.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2013 and was made an Associate in 2019.

I have experience across a wide range of sectors including Education, Industrial, Healthcare, Residential and Commercial and have gained valuable knowledge from a very varied workload.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Outside of work I enjoy playing golf and attempting to persuade my two young sons to support Sheffield United.

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Daniel Moles BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor my key aim is always to act with my client’s best interests in mind, delivering high quality building surveying services to them at all times.”

I initially joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a graduate building surveyor in 2006. Promotion to Senior Building Surveyor followed and in 2015 I was made an Associate of the practice.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor and have extensive experience in building surveying, party wall matters, feasibility studies and listed buildings across a wide range of industry sectors.

I am a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

When not out surveying buildings I am kept very busy chasing after two energetic young sons.

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Alastair Clark BSc (Hons) MRICS

“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be involved with projects, especially seeing a completed building knowing that I have added value by taking a proactive approach to cost and risk management through all the stages of design and construction.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2005.

Progressing to Associate in 2007, I was made Partner in charge of the Colchester office in 2011, with additional responsibility for Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd (BHPM) from April 2012, when DCP took over their long time sports hall project management partner.

In January 2017 I became the Managing Director of Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd.

When not flying the BHPM flag, I enjoy the occasional hack around a golf course or game of football. I am also, for my sins, a life-long supporter of West Ham.

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“I see surveying in its various forms as the means of providing one’s own expertise for the benefit of clients….. and satisfied clients make satisfied surveyors”

I joined what was then Daniel B Connal & Partners in 1964 straight from School and retired as Senior Partner of the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2010. I remain actively supporting DCP with its services, particularly those for Ball Hall Projects, whilst acting regularly as a Mediator, Adjudicator, Arbitrator and Expert Witness in my own right.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

My areas of expertise are Quantity Surveying, Project Management, Contract Administration and Dispute Resolution.

When not in the office, family life happily occupies a lot of my time, and I escape to the golf course or fish for trout when time permits. I am also a Trustee of Headway Essex.

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