Author's Name: Ogunsina, Olusola; Ugochukwu, Stanley Chukwudi & Udoye, Arthur Richards
Subject Area: Social Science and Humanities
Subject Other
Section Survey Paper


Automated quantification, Taking - off, Manual quantification, Information technology, Nigeria


The purpose of this research is to show empirically that the benefits of automating the quantification of construction works exceed the costs of acquiring the automation technology tool. Using an experimental design, 30 entry level quantity surveyors from a university in South Eastern Nigeria were provided with the hard copies of the architectural and structural engineering drawings of a residential duplex. The volunteers were asked to quantify and bill two items from the substructure of the residential duplex using manual quantification and billing process and their adding machines. The time taken for each of them to perform the task was recorded. In the second round of the experiment, the volunteers were asked to redo the quantification and billing task using a semi-automation technology tool - a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that has been customized for quantification and billing of construction works. Again the time taken to perform the task was recorded. Using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), student t test was deployed to test the hypothesis that there is no difference in time expended performing the tasks using the manual and automated processes. The findings show that the automation of the manual process reduces the time taken to perform the task by 32.4%. Using a realistic earning situation of a freelancing quantity surveyor, the value of this time savings within a year period is estimated to be over 400% of the cost of acquiring the computer hardware and software needed for quantifying and billing construction works. The limitations of the study such as the choice of only two excavation items for the experiment should be borne in mind in applying the findings. The use of the same set of 30 volunteers for the manual and automated experiments constitutes another limitation. The study therefore shows that it is anti-cost effective to continue to deploy manual quantification and billing processes. To this end, the paper concludes with an appeal to Nigerian quantity surveyors to consider the adoption of information technology tools in their practices.

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