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NIQS seeks quantity surveying curriculum review in tertiary schools

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam 
11 May 2015   |   1:31 am
AMID gap in the educational system that fails to embrace new trends in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), members of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) have advocated for the review of curriculum content of higher institutions offering quantity surveying to include intensive ICT training.
Mallam Murtala Aliyu

Mallam Murtala Aliyu, President of The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS)

While clamouring for sustainable growth of the profession through new curriculum content of higher institutions and best practices, the institute is also challenging professional to acquire skills necessary to embark on any entrepreneurial endeavours

AMID gap in the educational system that fails to embrace new trends in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), members of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) have advocated for the review of curriculum content of higher institutions offering quantity surveying to include intensive ICT training.

They also agreed on the need to train academic staff in institutions to become ICT compliant where this is necessary and to support the provision of software and hardware to higher institutions, saying that NIQS needs to create programmes for training members and clients on the enormous potentials of BIM software.

The recommendation was contained in a document issued after a three- day national workshop held in Kano on the theme “The Professional as an Entrepreneur” which was targeted at providing an avenue for enlightening the professional quantity surveyor on the need to embrace entrepreneurial development, digitalisation and professionalism.

Studies have shown that the overall proficiency level of quantity surveyors in software knowledge and usage was found to be very low for the following reasons: Poor preparation of students from higher institution due to curriculum deficiency in ICT; lack of in-service training to staff in organisations; foreign software are relatively expensive and are not affordable by the average professional in the industry, and failure of older professional members to embrace ICT in their practices.

“The lack of readiness to go digital could be traced back to training in higher institutions where students are not exposed to ICT opportunities due to the course contents, the trainers’ deficiency in ICT or lack of hardware and/or software for ICT training.”

They noted that there is need for professionals to explore emerging technologies that would enhance their practice and give them an edge in the industry.

This may necessitate further education, seminars, personal development and training ICT.     “The world has become a global village and the relay of information is done digitally on the most part. The QS need to quickly embrace available technology in order to remain relevant in the competitive global construction market.

The adoption of the digital revolution is an absolute requirement for improving the competitive advantage of any organisation both globally and locally.

“We go digital by adopting the use of ICT facilities for all aspects of our practice and the benefits will be seen in organisational growth and profits.

However, lack of knowledge may lead to mistakes by users and the fear of the ‘unknown’ may discourage the uninformed from venturing into the digital world and this is aggravated by exorbitant prices of QS-dedicated software.”

According to them, there is a dearth of professionals in various sectors of the Nigerian economy and the previous model of single-shop owner is no longer sustainable.

“There need to expand, integrate, innovate and diversify in order to promote the profession. Hence the need for this workshop to equip the Quantity Surveyor for the future growth and sustenance of the profession,” they said.

They stressed that “Nigerians can achieve partnerships with foreign firms with deep expertise in highly relevant areas such as new methods of project cost benchmarking, PPP concept in infrastructure development.

“The current level of Entrepreneurial skills within quantity surveying practice in Nigeria is shallow and needs to be deepened and quantity surveyors in Nigeria must appreciate the need for them to act more as Entrepreneurs and learn what Entrepreneurship is all about.

“For the QS interested in entrepreneurial development there are important things to consider: the preparation of a business plan, consideration of the external environment where the business will be reviewed and other Institutions within the external environment.

There is a wide range of potential projects open to the forward thinking QS interested in entrepreneurial development in the areas of Transportation, Energy, Oil & Gas, ICT and Social Infrastructure among others.”

The participants also recommended that Nigerian quantity surveying firms should go into partnership with foreign consultants in order to glean from their wealth of technological advancement.

“The chances of survival and growth of professional firms lie in merger and acquisition (M&A). There is need to de-emphasise individualism and seek to provide avenue for tutelage of younger professionals.

The best recipe for practical survival and growth of professional firms is competence, integrity and honesty.” Quantity Surveyors are enjoined to take advantage of the opportunities available in entrepreneurial development and to keep abreast with the latest developments in the business.

QS Professionals need to grow special knowledge in a branch of the profession – “to know everything about one thing and know something about everything”.

To avoid mistakes, overcome problems and become successful and achieve sustainable growth, the Quantity Surveyor requires knowledge of business practice, accounting principles, national economic conditions and expertise in the building process.

For the NIQS and/or other organisations There is the need for Nigerian QS firms to go into partnership with foreign Consultants in order to glean from their wealth of technological advancement.

There is need to create higher levels of membership or distinction for firms requiring greater investment in knowledge, diversification, internationalisation and staff quality/training that can create incentive to invest.

The NIQS should be actively involved in identifying software and carry out mandatory training workshops for members. The Institute should identify members who are knowledgeable in the Institute so they could serve as resource persons for training and possible development of QS-dedicated software.