SA Affordable Housing March - April 2019 // Issue: 75 - Page 21

CONTRIBUTORS 2019 trends from a QS perspective The finance minister has invited the private sector to join the government’s new body aimed at reducing irregular and wasteful expenditure. By Larry Feinberg T 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 considered alternative building materials to more mainstream materials. While South Africa has not yet adopted many of these materials, construction professionals should not 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 of firms and professionals in the South African built environment. All traditional methodologies must be reviewed with a focus on its relevance to the future of designing, constructing and maintaining infrastructure and buildings. “Those that can adapt without being forced to do so will have a distinct advantage over those that wait until proof of concept,” warns Feinberg. he development of a governmental ‘execution unit’ to address poor infrastructure preparation of projects could not have come at a better time for quantity surveyors (QS). “During 2018 we lobbied for the regulated appointment of quantity surveyors to infrastructure projects,” says Larry Feinberg, executive director of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS). The impact of this was evident in the mid-term Budget Policy Statement by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni where he included quantity surveyors in the execution unit that will be formed to assist with the problem of poor infrastructure project preparation. Minister Tito Mboweni’s says, “Too often‚ government spends money on infrastructure when it could be better and more effectively done by the private sector. The Development Bank of Southern Africa‚ the Government Technical Advisory Centre and the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission will receive R625-million to strengthen project preparation. “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 government on new delivery and financing models to provide basic services to communities.” The regulated appointment of a registered quantity surveyor is essential for the reduction of irregular and wasteful expenditure. This is turn helps to ensure that public infrastructure spend is applied to the benefit of the greater South African public. “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,” says Feinberg. ROLE CHANGES Changes to existing methodologies don’t need to be at the extreme edge of Larry Feinberg. 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 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.” A quantity surveyor (QS) is a financial expert trained specifically in the complexities of construction sector finance, procurement and contract administration. The QS is responsible for ensuring that a client receives value for their money during the viability stage, the construction phase and the entire lifecycle of the building, road, bridge or dam. This is done by verifying – at various points during the planning and construction phase – that the actual expenditure and project delivery aligns 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 enabled by meticulous measuring and calculations, but also as governance experts and ethics advisors. Quantity surveyors are ideal business advisors, even if the historical foundation of the profession is ‘number crunching’. “During 2018 the ASAQS has made solid strides towards enabling QSs to make additional valuable services available to clients,” says Feinberg. “Courses and standardised documentation on life cycle costing, value management towards savings and operational efficiency and advice on sustainable building practices, methodologies and materials are just some of the many additions we’ve made to our stable of Continuing Professional Development offering.” MARCH - APRIL 2019 19