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.
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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.
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