Dr Hoffie Cruywagen states at the annual congress of SA Quantity Surveyors that QS’s need to focus on Life Cycle Costing.
There is widespread ignorance among quantity surveyors, and apathy and resistance from building owners and developers, about Life Cycle Costing. This is a concept that will become increasingly important as the Green Building revolution sweeps the world.
This cautionary message was spelt out by Dr Hoffie Cruywagen, of the University of Pretoria’s Department of Construction Economics, in his address to the annual congress of the Association of SA Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) held in Midrand recently.
Hoffie told congress delegates that Life Cycle Costing (LCC) is the total costs of an asset over its entire operating life, including initial acquisition costs, subsequent running expenses, and demolition costs. He said that traditionally the choice between building elements were based on the comparison of initial costs, which was then regarded as the single most important costing factor. However, in the 1980s it was found that running costs over the long term outweighed initial capital costs.
“LCC has now also become even more important as clients implementing sustainable practices into building projects need to know the total cost of the project and require total lifespan costs right at the start of a project,” he states.
Despite this growing need for LCC, a recent survey conducted by the UP Department of Construction Economics revealed that over 90% of SA quantity surveyors had no knowledge of LCC, did not apply it, thought it applied only to Green Building projects which they did not specialise in, or simply felt they did not have enough time to become involved in LCC. Furthermore, the responding QSs indicated that their clients were not only apathetic about LCC, but often opposed to it because they were obsessed about returns on investment and apprehensive that the QS fee to do LCC would be prohibitive.
“The lack of a standard method to apply for LCC in South Africa is undoubtedly a major stumbling block – standard documentation for LCC exists overseas in countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Europe,” Hoffie urged. “ASAQS is now in the process of producing a guide on LCC and hopefully this will improve the situation in South Africa. But QSs should make a point of becoming more committed to LCC and take responsibility for educating clients about LCC, and the importance of implementing it as early in the design process as possible.”
There were several other prominent speakers who featured at the ASAQS congress which had “Running with Horses – Finding the Leading Edge” as theme this year. Each speaker shared very insightful and informative views.