Quantity Surveyors are aiming to play a crucial role in getting “frozen” infrastructure development projects back on track. “Municipal managers and classically trained accountants are currently expected to deliver complex projects,” says Larry Feinberg, Executive Director of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS). “Not only is this expectation unfair on them without them having received the proper training; it’s also part of the reason why some large infrastructure development projects have been suspended or have ground to a halt.”
According to Feinberg the ASAQS has been in talks with senior government officials and other industry bodies to create solutions that can assist with training and professional support to those charged with delivering these projects.
“Training on the use of standards documentation is but one of the areas where Professional Quantity Surveyors can be of assistance,” explains Feinberg. “Deploying Professional Quantity Surveyors to upper echelons in government is one of the mechanisms that can be used to good effect to educate officials on good governance in procurement, bidding and tendering processes, and the complex process of managing the construction process from a cost control point of view.”
The “Send Me” call made by President Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation address earlier this year has resonated with many and sparked collaborative action across many economic sectors. Feinberg hopes that this call can be used as a basis for professionals in the built environment to bridge focus areas that traditionally operate in and create solutions that serve the best interest of the public and the fiscus.
“Our interactions on several discussion platforms are focused on how to bridge the gap between what Thuma Mina means for the public sector and how our members can assist,” says Feinberg. The ASAQS has consistently promoted the role of a Quantity Surveyors as one that plays a significant part in curbing instances of fraud and wasteful expenditure.
“The time for behaviours that – intentionally or unintentionally – resist collaboration is over,” says Feinberg. “It is now time for all of us to share knowledge and expertise, so we can collectively respond to the President’s call.”
Project delays can have a significant impact on trust and budget if not handled adeptly from the start, and now there are tools which can help to transform the challenge
Dr Hendrik Prinsloo,
Course Facilitator, The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS)
When it comes to delays and the assessment of delay claims, there is limited guidance available. In fact, there is no clear path in terms of managing the issue, establishing process or determining who is ultimately responsible. The result is that many unexpected delays end in disputes which can potentially impact on relationships and the success of a project. There has long been a need for the industry to have access to a simple, standardised process which walks all parties through the claim and finds equally simple answers to the problems.
This need inspired the development of the Decision Support Framework, a tool designed to assist in the assessment of claims from the start, eliminating indecision and uncertainty and providing users with a clear route to resolution. The framework was crafted over a number of years, and was designed to be easy to understand and capable of managing claims across industry and incident. The Decision Support Framework is currently being integrated as part of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors’ (ASAQS) member toolkit via continuous professional development (CPD) training courses which are being offered around the country. The intended outcome is to assist quantity surveyors in making accurate assessments, determining root causes and, ultimately, saving customers money.
Alongside supporting the more accurate and efficient assessment of delay claims, the tool adds a sense of fair play – the standardisation of process and procedure allowing all parties equal say. Often, there is no small measure of uncertainty when it comes to claim assessments, so if all parties are using the same resource, it ensures that both client and contractor have the same input, see the same results and have their concerns acknowledged. This can also have a positive impact on time spent with claims, reducing disputes and saving on costs.
The goal is to complete the project, not become embroiled in lengthy debate or lose money as the days tick by and the build remains dormant.
In any industry, time is money. More so in the construction industry where time delayed decisions can result in a cost per day impact. Likewise, a delay in the delivery of materials to site, can impact costs. By identifying delays and ensuring swift resolution, the Decision Support Framework can have immediate and long-term cost savings. The quantity surveyor can assist in determining the delay far more efficiently and this can significantly lower the financial implications which normally come hand in hand with any delay claim.
The Decision Support Framework sidesteps the usual problems by taking the user through four primary decision making processes. Each of these has been carefully researched to fit alongside the extension of time claims, and each one uses a process to allow for deliberation and careful resolution. The tool helps to arrive at the easiest conclusion as users follow the steps to a solution and find a mutually beneficial agreement.
For those who are cost conscious and who always keep a keen eye on the bottom line, this Decision Support Framework methodology will add another metaphorical arrow to the professional quantity surveyors quiver. By virtue of the work that quantity surveying professionals undertake, they regularly find themselves at the centre of cost related misunderstandings, while being ever mindful of bringing the project home within budget.
The ASAQS’s EduTech Division has identified the need to bring clarity to both the construction industry and to the associations QS professionals, by offering bespoke training that provides the participant with a broad understanding of the principles and best practice around this sensitive issue.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cathlen Fourie, 082 222 9198, email@example.com, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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