“Infrastructure development is a catalyst for economic development but is often accompanied by strikes from communities, business forums and criminal activities by construction mafias. At the centre of this instability is the demand for meaningful participation by communities in the labour and business opportunities inherent in infrastructure projects,” said Newton Baloyi, Vice President of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) at the recent Western Cape Property Development Forum Conference held in Cape Town.
While the ASAQS welcomes the announcement of the establishment of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council by President Cyril Ramaphosa, it however notes with concern that the panel seems not to have any representation from the built environment professions or construction sector procurement, despite the critical nature of infrastructure to South Africa’s economic recovery and development, and the high levels of instability and community disruptions on infrastructure projects.
B-BBEE in the construction sector has specific unique challenges that need urgent attention. “The missing link is that our infrastructure procurement regulatory framework does not go far enough in addressing the socio-economic concerns of communities,” Baloyi said.
“We need other mechanisms for measuring the performance of infrastructure projects. We must go beyond the delivery of just physical infrastructure to delivering socio-economic impact and inclusive community development.” Baloyi told the conference and supported his statement by sharing the findings of a pilot project he conducted. The pilot was based on a project set aside for the community.
The findings showed that the benefit of the project to the community could be increased from 6 cents to 40 cents per Rand spent on the project and the payback period reduced from 17 years to 2.5 years. This meant that the benefit to the community could exceed the client’s procurement spent in just over 2.5 years. In addition, the social return on investment (SROI) would be improved from a negative 94% to a positive 60%.
According to Baloyi, there are four interventions required to achieve these kinds of results for the construction sector. Firstly, a mindset shift to integrate impact measurement into construction projects. Secondly, integrate impact delivery into infrastructure procurement practices and legislation. Thirdly, establishing sector community capacity development programmes that enable meaningful community participation in projects rather than the current project-by-project approach. Lastly, proactive establishment of community buy-in based on the shared impact objectives of projects.
“These four interventions must be coordinated and integrated into projects; having one without the other does not work,” Baloyi warned.
The failure to integrate the four interventions is where B-BBEE fails communities and the construction sector.
“Communities expect participation with or without capacity, otherwise there will be strikes,” said Baloyi “Yet, there are no sustainable capacity building programmes for community businesses and skills. The financial support needed by local businesses can hardly be accessed within the life of a project.”
“These are systemic challenges that cannot be solved by social facilitators on construction projects, nor by a developer or contractor on a project-by-project basis. These challenges play a significant role in project delays, poor service delivery, budget overruns and delayed economic development. We hope that the B-BBEE advisory council will go a long way in addressing the fragmented approach to B-BBEE and foster the integration proposed herein.”
“Given the high levels of poverty, inequality and especially youth unemployment and the negative economic outlook of South Africa, urgent interventions are required to avert intensified and violent strikes in the construction sector. Low hanging fruits include the establishment of an initiative led by the construction sector that integrates all stakeholders in the built environment to establish a voluntary pilot that can inspire hope in communities and reassure them that their concerns are being addressed.”
“Rather than theorising about transformation, let’s do it in real-time and with real results as the built environment,” Baloyi told the conference as he called on developers, built environment professionals and contractors to amalgamate their skills development, supplier and enterprise development and SED/CSI resources to establish such a pilot linked to their portfolio of projects.
He suggested that it is time for the built environment professionals to lead the transformation agenda in the construction sector. “We are the experts in infrastructure procurement and strategies and not government”.
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephné du Toit, email@example.com, 084 587 9933, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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Larry Feinberg is set to end his decade-long term as Executive Director of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) in February 2022. Prior to leading the ASAQS, Feinberg served as Regional Manager for Africa at the Charted Institute of Building (CIOB).
Under Feinberg’s leadership the ASAQS implemented holistic governance processes, internal administrative policies, procedures and workflows based on recommended best practice. These changes were made to combine the rich 114-year history of the ASAQS with robust systems that are imperative to today’s business environment.
During his term as Executive Director, Feinberg was also instrumental in successfully facilitating the inclusion of South Africa as an Associate Member of the Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS), as well as the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Other collaborative partnerships established during Feinberg’s term include the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC), Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS), Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC), and all Voluntary Associations and Statutory Councils within the built environment.
The local Quantity Surveyor profession has also benefited from the establishment of the EduTech Division of the ASAQS. The division is responsible for the delivery of all training programmes, the drafting of QS-specific technical documents, and answering any technical related queries.
“Serving the many presidents, the board of the association as well as all the thousands of members within our vibrant profession, has without doubt been one of the highlights of my career, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the trust and the faith that our members have all placed in me. I reflected on this almost daily while in office and it proved to be an endless source of motivation and encouragement to me. It was the light that always lit the road ahead”, says Feinberg.
The ASAQS Board has started the process of recruiting a new Executive Director.
MEDIA CONTACT: Idéle Prinsloo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 082 573 9219, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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The quantity surveyor of today is far more than simply a “brick counter”. Their role is to keep a close eye on project finances and contractual relationships.
“They make sure that the financial position of construction projects is accurately reported and controlled effectively,” Keith Skinner, President of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS), said at the association’s recent Virtual Presidential Tour and Awards Ceremony.
The profession is anything but stagnant and has been evolving at a rapid pace. Yet, the core principles have remained the same. “The quantity surveyor of today remains professional and unwavering in their approach to project governance,” he told ASAQS members during the virtual event.
Referring to a Google search of the definition of a quantity surveyor who is described as a person who calculates the amount of material needed for building work, and how much it is going to cost, Skinner noted this may be the case of an average quantity surveyor in other countries, but certainly not locally.
The True Role of Quantity Surveyors
In South Africa the definition of a “construction cost consultant” or a “commercial manager” defines the role of our quantity surveyors far better in terms of the service they offer.
“We are often associated with the construction or real estate sectors. However, we operate across different sectors. We have developed and delivered some of the best mining quantity surveyors in the world, and they find themselves in high demand.”
He referred to the PwC annual mining report that highlighted the fact that the sector contributed 6.7% to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year and 7.6% this year. The sector created and sustained more than 1.6 million jobs last year and 2.3 million this year.
“We have come from measuring brick walls to being involved in projects for a new mine shaft, a mine lift installation, or a new ship or units for Arctic expeditions. We should not just consider ourselves old fashioned brick counters.”
Larry Feinberg, executive director who has been with the ASAQS for ten years, said the association strives to maintain the highest professional standards, ensure ethical conduct and integrity in the profession; and to advance the common interest of the members.
The key strategic objectives over the next three years are to ensure that the association remains agile and that it strengthens its brand and industry standing.
“Over the past decade we have been flexing our muscles, weighing-in and having our professions voice heard, and taking “positions” on industry specific matters unapologetically when the situation demands this. Our association has also taken appropriate criticism over the last decade and responded with the necessary action or correction when required,” he added.
EduTech has created a custom-made Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program which ensured that our members stayed on top of their game, despite Covid-19 restrictions. The program offered 20 webinars equating to 66 CPD hours. Members were able to take their pick from this “incredible value proposition” for a once-off fee of R750.00 compared to the average cost of over R400 per CPD hour in the preceding years, said Feinberg.
Karl Trusler, the association’s EduTech director, also announced the winners of the three annual awards that recognise the achievement of top quantity surveyor students.
The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) flagship Conference took place 2 August at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. The Conference inspired quantity surveyors from across the country.
Academic excellence and outstanding professional achievement was rewarded at the ASAQS Gala dinner. Prof. Kathy Mitchell received the prestigious Meritorious Service Award for her contribution to the profession and built environment. Quantity surveying university students from across the country also competed for the Future Leaders Award, Candidate Achievers Award and the Gold Medal Award. The awards are not only aimed to reward and congratulate students for academic excellence, but also to inspire them to take over the reins as future leaders in the quantity surveying profession.
The theme of the Conference, Agility, Swift and Strong aimed to embrace the winds of change to better decide whether you should build walls or windmills. All the speakers said changes in the technological, economic and political landscape need to be embraced by the Quantity Surveying profession.
Larry Feinberg, Executive Director of the ASAQS said over the past three years they have been incrementally growing the value proposition of the ASAQS annual flagship Conference. “Certainly not in the last 3 decades has it been more important for practicing quantity surveyors to understand and embrace the ever changing technological and political landscape and become adaptable and agile in using these new powerful tools to their own advantage,” he said. At the ASAQS annual flagship Conference numerous tools were discussed.
Uwe Putlitz from JBCC discussed Life is too short to deal with avoidable (building) disputes. Another highlight at the Conference was the presentation by Craig Howie from AECOM on Building Information Management (BIM) and how this new technology is creating new potential opportunities. “In the near future clients and other practicing professionals within the built environment will most likely increasingly require the professional team to employ BIM and pass on the savings that this platform can generate when used on large construction projects,” Feinberg said.
Rudolf Pienaar spoke on Growthpoint's sustainable journey and how the industry can bring about change through green building. “Green building and sustainability are no longer just catch phrases for the privileged few that strive to reduce carbon emissions. The word sustainability in the public domain is fast becoming synonymous with cost and energy savings and I am by no means alone when I say that I can see a much larger role for QS’s to play in advising their clients of potential long term savings,” Feinberg said.
Dr. Ron Watermeyer discussed government’s Standard for an Infrastructure Delivery Management system (SIPDM), how the processes work, how target contracts can be utilized and how this has benefited projects he’s been involved with.
The ASAQS thanked the over 230 delegates for their contribution and reiterated that the QS profession is going from strength to strength.
MEDIA CONTACT: Carla Coetzee, email@example.com, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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