During the Mid-term Budget Policy Statement, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni included quantity surveyors in the execution unit that will be formed to assist with the problem of poor infrastructure project preparation.

“The government will establish an execution unit made up of engineers, quantity surveyors, architects and other professionals to ensure that challenges in the Vaal River System and with the Giyani Water Project are resolved. The execution unit will also advise the government on new delivery and financing models to provide basic services to communities,” Mboweni stated.

This is good news for the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS), who lobbied for the regulated appointment of quantity surveyors to infrastructure projects during 2018.

“The regulated appointment of a registered quantity surveyor is essential for the reduction of irregular and wasteful expenditure,” says Larry Feinberg, executive director of the ASAQS. “While we advocate for this change, quantity surveyors also have to keep an eye on remaining relevant and offering valuable services in a changing world.”

Product changes
Self-healing concrete, air-cleaning materials, transparent wood and graphene are just some of the innovative products that are rapidly moving from being labelled alternative building materials to more mainstream. While South Africa has not yet adopted many of these materials, no construction professional should wait for someone else to be the first to learn how to work with these materials.

Process changes
Similarly, new techniques in the construction process like additive manufacturing – for example, the 3D printing of buildings – also need to be factored into the sustainability and growth strategies, while traditional methodologies must be reviewed with a focus on their relevancy to the future of designing, constructing and maintenance.

Role changes
Changes to existing methodologies don’t need to be at the extreme edge of technological innovation. Even experimenting in small ways with readily available processes – like Building Information Modelling (BIM) – can give construction professionals an edge.

“By rethinking and redefining their traditional roles, professionals in the built environment can help to create a secure future for themselves,” says Feinberg. “This security will be built less on the work they’ve already done, and more on how relevant they can remain to their clients’ needs.”

Value for money
Feinberg further points out that a quantity surveyor is a financial expert trained specifically in the complexities of construction sector finance, procurement and contract administration. They are responsible for ensuring that a client receives value for his money during the viability stage, the construction phase and the entire lifecycle of the project.

This is done by verifying – at various points during the planning and construction phase – that the actual expenditure and project delivery align with specified material, approved budgets and agreed timelines.

Feinberg says that quantity surveyors would, however, do well to think of themselves not just as experts in procurement, building contracts and cost control, but also as governance experts and ethics advisors.

The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors
Tel: 011 315 4140
Website: www.asaqs.co.za
Main image:
Quantity surveyors need to keep abreast of new, innovative products that are rapidly becoming more mainstream.

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