One Hundred Years of Quantity Surveying
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One Hundred Years of Quantity Surveying
The Annals of Patterson and Kempster 1860-1960
Author: Gordon Aston
Published: Nov 2007
Pages: 229   (hardback)
Weight: 1.3kg
ISBN: 978-0-9528236-3-6
The boundary separating the function of the Quantity Surveyor from his colleagues, the Architect and the Engineer, has been a moving one. Gordon Aston, a Quantity Surveyor himself, who in his own day moved the boundary a few times, is the ideal person to describe the evolution of the profession of Quantity Surveyor, seen in one hundred years of development by his own firm Patterson Kempster and Shortall (PKS).

Perhaps uniquely for a commercial enterprise, PKS retained their files from 1860, when Thomas Benjamin Patterson founded the firm, to the present day. When a Partner in the firm, Gordon Aston accepted the suggestion of Nicholas Robinson and Edward McParland that the archives of PKS should be transferred to the fledgling Irish Architectural Archive (IAA). These archives were the base for this history, written many years later.

To those accustomed to the modern idea that the contract for a building project should be based on a fixed price, it may be surprising that in the 19th century payments on many contracts were determined by a 'measurer' valuing the work that had already been done, with the final price being determined by the value calculation not by the original contract. Aston's own expertise gives him a special authority in explaining the issues debated by Quantity Surveyors, Architects and Engineers on how building projects should be handled. Extensive quotations from day-to-day correspondence over a period of 100 years effectively illuminate the issues, and also give a feel for the personal relationships and rivalries between the key figures involved.
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