Managing the Quantity Surveyor out of suffocation

It is questionable whether there is a generally acceptable singular description of the work of a quantity surveyor. This entity likes to see itself as a separate profession, on par with baseline professionals such as architects and engineers. Note the following, obtained from the ASAQS (Association of South African Quantity Surveyors) website:

WHAT CAN A QUANTITY SURVEYOR EXPECT TO EARN?

Being a member of a recognised profession – like medical doctors, architects and others – the quantity surveyor can expect an income in keeping with the status of the profession. Initiative, enthusiasm, commitment to personal skills enhancement and hard work result in substantial financial reward.

Visits to the following spots on the web, makes interesting reading to stimulate deeper thinking on the term “quantity surveyor”.

A look at http://www.rics.org/careers/ shows nine “specialisms” of surveying, of which quantity surveying is but one. A click on “QUANTITY SURVEYING” opens a page describing a career associated strictly with building (as in offices, shops, housing) projects.

The context of quantity surveying seen as but one specialism amongst eight others with surveying association, is quite different from the approach of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors, in which quantity surveying stands on its own. There is though obvious similarity in narrowing the quantity surveyors’ skills entirely to building industry.

Speaking mainly for the South African situation: would it not be more productive to join forces with the baseline professions such as architects and engineering associations? It would create an organised and regulated route for project cost professionals to retain professional status, but to gain it where each section belongs: building industry with architects, civil engineering and process engineering with the associated engineering bodies.

Those quantity surveyors who are agile enough, can register in more than one field and thus gain recognition for its multi- disciplined position. The said associations has already the infrastructure to provide international link-up, forms of contract, specifications and whatever is associated with the project disciplines.

The building industry itself could find renewed strength in a more compact professional body, capable of better infrastructure, more stimulating debate and research and generally better services to its members.

Leonard van der Dussen

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