AECOM celebrates 100th anniversary of its cost management offering in Africa
Main image: Herman Berry, Director
Globally trusted infrastructure consulting firm AECOM is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its cost management offering in Africa with the launch of the 33rd edition of its highly anticipated and well respected ‘Africa Property & Construction Cost Guide 2022/23’. In addition, AECOM has a new leadership structure for its Programme Cost Consultancy (PCC) division, Director Herman Berry has announced.
Estia Cronje is the new PCC Practice Area Lead for the Centurion head office, servicing the Gauteng region, while senior Quantity Surveyor (QS) Wonga James, who has been with AECOM since 2008, has been promoted to Associate. Khanyisa Mabala joins the Centurion head office from Cape Town as MEP Lead and Associate.
“Historically Gauteng has been our strongest region since it accounts for most of the country’s economic activity. Hence, we looked to bolster our PCC management team. We were especially pleased to be in a position where we could internally appoint talented women to some of these key roles, reflecting our strong focus on diversity and inclusion,” says Berry.
The PCC division plays a critical role in AECOM as it is involved with many landmark projects in Gauteng. “It was important for us to have the correct leadership structure in place with the required expertise and experience, as it gives the market confidence to entrust their significant work to us,” says Berry.
Cronje’s role is to develop a high performing cost management team to nurture new and existing client relationships, as well as winning and delivering projects across the business. She has honed her skills on some of the largest projects in Africa and the Middle East, specialising in retail and mixed-use developments.
Mabala says she is excited by the challenges and opportunities presented by her new role, especially with many municipalities looking to alternative sources of power and water as loadshedding and increasingly stringent sustainability requirements make their impact felt on essential infrastructure throughout the country.
Given this constantly changing environment, the Cost Guide has become an institutional tool for the wider built environment. “It is our aim to continue to deliver excellence and enhance this tool. Testament to the excellent work our teams are delivering, is the feedback and repeat business we receive from our clients. We believe in maintaining and fostering these valuable relationships and want to thank our loyal clients for their continued support,” says Berry.
Commenting on the latest trends highlighted by the Cost Guide, Berry points to ongoing advances in the digital space. Research has shown that the QS profession has been slow to adapt to change and generally reluctant to invest in BIM technologies. Studies by the RICS have proved that BIM will enhance the profession, but significant change will be required to meet renewed client expectations. “We have invested in industry-leading 5D-digital tools to ensure we remain a pioneer in our market,” adds Berry.
Other advances have been made in terms of AECOM’s commitment to sustainability. Last year it launched its transformative Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, Sustainable Legacies. Here the key pillars are to achieve net zero emissions, embed sustainable development and resilience across the business, improve social outcomes and improve governance.
Since the inception of the Cost Guide, it has been used widely by consultants, construction professionals, academics and other professional stakeholders. Berry says the Cost Guide is a tool for AECOM to engage in a dialogue with its clients about the importance of cost management and how it can be optimised.
“It is not limited to the QS function and has really found a broader application throughout the industry,” says Berry. This is due to the high-quality research that goes into the Cost Guide, largely overseen by Dr. Gerhard Brummer. The Cost Guide is also endorsed and disseminated by key associations such as the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS).
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