SA Quantity Surveyors should explore the African market more fully.
It is the opinion of Port Elizabeth-based Synergy Property Solutions that SA Quantity Surveyors should broaden their scope of operations beyond South Africa’s national borders. Led by owner, Grant Hechter, and his Senior Associate, Bruce McNicol, Synergy – an accredited member firm of the Association of SA Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) – has to date handled the project management, quantity surveying, and property development not only for major local projects but also for multi-million dollar developments in the Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and also St Helena.
“In the Seychelles, we have completed work on the US $150 million Kempinski Seychelles Resort, and have recently concluded the budgets and detailed design for the new Pangia Beach development, a spectacular project that has recently won an award for the Best Residential Development at the African Property Awards,” Grant states.
In the Seychelles, Synergy faced tough competition from the client’s existing network of consultants but fortunately their good track record of successfully completed hotel developments for Mantis gave the group, and its founder, Adrian Gardiner, the confidence to appoint them. “The fact that Synergy is an accredited member firm of ASAQS also endorsed our credentials,” says Grant.
The initial phase of the Kempinski Seychelles Resort project was extremely complex and challenging and – despite a few changes in contractors – the team managed to demonstrate their ability to complete documentation and deliver a good product on time. This enabled Synergy to secure contracts for the subsequent phases as well.
Synergy is currently in negotiations with the contractors for the proposed development of a new luxury hotel on the new tourist attraction of the island of St Helena.
Synergy believes South African quantity surveyors should seek more opportunities outside our borders and not be daunted by working in other parts of Africa.
“My associate, Bruce McNicol, recently visited Rwanda and was pleasantly surprised by the general environment, development and construction opportunities,” explains Grant. “Our message to other ASAQS members is: if you get the opportunity, don’t hesitate to explore African options. Admittedly, SA Quantity Surveyors’ expertise relates to our intimate knowledge of local rates, building materials and methods, as well as related commercial issues, and this does make working in a foreign country much more difficult.
“But, if you are prepared to take time and do proper research to gain the necessary knowledge of local conditions, you will be able to compete with other QS practices that are already established in the area. There are many opportunities out there. In fact, the global market has helped Synergy overcome the cyclical slumps in the local economy.”