To Explore the Role of Quantity Surveyors, Generally, and in Malaysia Construction Industry and How This Has Changed in the Last 30 Years

Topics: Construction, Project management, Quantity surveyor Pages: 11 (3362 words) Published: September 3, 2013

Malaysia Construction Industry

The construction industry is considered to be a major productive sector in Malaysia, for example output for the construction sector hovered around RM7248 million, RM7168 million, and RM 7350 million in year 2004, 2005, and the estimate for 2006, respectively, (Budget Report 2006, as cited in Ibrahim, Roy, Ahmed, and Imtiaz, 2010). This sector is essential for development of the nation. It is among the top three of the major economic sectors.

The Malaysian construction industry (MCI) is generally separated into two areas. One area is general construction, which comprises residential construction, non-residential construction and civil engineering construction. The second area is special trade works, which comprises activities of metal works, electrical works, plumbing, sewerage and sanitary work, refrigeration and air-conditioning work, painting work, carpentry, tiling and flooring work, and glass work (Ibrahim, Roy, Ahmed, and Imtiaz, 2010).

There is a wide variety of professional consultants in the construction industry. The team comprises of client, architect, engineers, quantity surveyor and contractor. In construction projects, quantity surveyors (QS) are key players who are in charge of procurement, cost and contract management (Hee and Ling, 2011).

Definitions of Quantity Surveyors

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (2013) defined quantity surveyor as an expert in the art of costing a building at all its stages. Chartered Quantity Surveyors are highly trained professionals offering expert advice on construction costs. They are essential for life cycle costing, cost planning, procurement and tendering, contract administration and commercial management. A Chartered Quantity Surveyor may be involved as a specialist in one area or generalise in several over the course of a project. They may also specialise in a particular areas such as residential or retail.

Meanwhile, Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM) (2012) described quantity surveyor (QS) as a professional working within the construction industry concerned with building costs. The profession is one that provides a qualification gained following formal education, specific training and experience that provide a general set of skills that are then applied to a diverse variety of problems. Predominantly these relate to costs and contracts on construction projects.

The Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) (2010) has classified quantity surveyor (QS) as a construction professional. He or she is qualified and adequately trained to advice on all aspects of construction costs, financial and contractual administration. He or she is an expert on the cost and management of construction projects, whether building, civil or heavy engineering.

According to The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (2013), quantity surveyors (QSs) are known as cost consultants or commercial managers, the role of a quantity surveyor is to keep a close eye on the various costs of a project, including materials, time taken and workers' salaries. They make sure that a construction project is as profitable and efficient as possible.

They usually work for either the contractor (i.e. the company doing the building work), or the consultant or private quantity surveyor (i.e. the firm employed to advise the client). In addition, CIOB described quantity surveyors as the financial experts of the construction industry. Quantity surveyors (QS) also know a great deal about building legislation, building materials, design and construction and they are highly organised and great negotiators.

Male (1990) cited that quantity surveyors have been defined as either building economists, construction cost consultants or resource managers contributing to capital asset formation and evolution...
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