NIQS seeks role in engineering projects
AFTER considering government’s current huge budgetary allocations in the real estate subsector, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) has advocated significant role in engineering infrastructures projects in the country.
The Nigerian cost experts said their involvement in these projects would curb corrupt tendencies and sharp practices, ensure financial probity, accountability, value for money, and minimize mass wastages of economic resources usually associated with infrastructure provision.
It was at a two-day workshop on engineering infrastructure projects, an event held recently at the Universal Hotel, Independence layout, Enugu, Enugu state, Nigeria.
With a theme ‘Measurement and Cost Management of Engineering Infrastructure Projects’, the institute said the event was for members to build subdued capacities, imbibe new competencies and develop contemporary skills to strategically takeover, sustain leadership and occupy vantage positions as cost experts.
According to NIQS, engineering infrastructure projects were critical to economic development and often an index in measuring a nation’s global competitiveness, thus, making the active participation of quantity surveyors imperative for their effective cost management.
Government’s provision of consistent and supportive policies that will address and curb the current problems of defective budgeting, planning, high import dependence and expatriate dominance of the engineering sector is strongly advocated
They said acquiring and exhibiting a superior competency in the ‘Measurement and Cost Management ‘of engineering projects was auspicious considering the erroneous impression and wild misconception that quantity surveyors specialize mainly on building projects.
In a communiqué by the institute, NIQS said there was need for government to see to reducing avoidable wastages by ensuring involvement of experts in its dealing. “Government policy intervention is needed to address the challenges of defective budgeting and planning processes.
Furthermore, a collaborative action is required from all sectors to curtail the current high import dependence of industrial and manufacturing projects hence their relatively high cost of execution.
The current cost monitoring and reporting methods must shift from monthly financial statements and final account to a weekly, daily, hourly and even real-time cost monitoring, reporting and control for better positive impacts on engineering project performance.
The current dynamic economic setting coupled with the rapid changes in management policies towards infrastructure provision make the exercise of cost management difficult as project lifecycles are often disrupted thus, making their costing difficult.”
Calling on its members, NIQS said there was great need for quantity surveyors to acquire a competency in the measurement and cost management of engineering infrastructures, considering the huge amount of capital investment by government at all levels in that sector of the economy and the quantum financial losses /wastages that characterize wrong quantification and poor cost management roles by persons ill-equipped to perform such roles.
Infrastructure project measurement, cost forecasting, cost computation, cost control, and cost management skills are traditional competences for which the quantity surveyor is most suited to assume.
These skills are transferred beyond the boundaries of the building industry to other areas of infrastructure provision; like- roads, bridges, railways, airports, dams, jetties, seawalls, wharves, steel construction works, mechanical and electrical engineering projects, thermal stations, power plants, manufacturing processes, petrochemical projects, fabrication and other general engineering infrastructures.”
The institute added: “There is therefore an urgent and dire need for the nation’s Quantity Surveyors to take the front seat by showcasing their superior ability to measure and cost manage government’s enormous investment in engineering works which as at year 2012 going by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) publication on Governments total budgetary allocation to Building projects and Engineering works stood at 2 percent and 98 percent respectively.
Inability to do so would mean an exclusion of Quantity Surveyors in government major investment projects and the consequent loss of benefits of value creation, prudence and accountability.”
Urging the government to ensure that contract award on engineering projects should be made only to competent firms that have the capacity to implement financial planning and cash budgeting regimes, they said the present nation’s macro and microeconomic impacts render initial project cost estimates ineffective and this is a major source of project failure.
Government’s provision of consistent and supportive policies that will address and curb the current problems of defective budgeting, planning, high import dependence and expatriate dominance of the engineering sector is strongly advocated.
They added the low utilization of quantity surveyors as experts trained in the measurement for the procurement of engineering infrastructures was found to be a core factor responsible for the exorbitant cost of their execution.
NIQS revealed that the common cost models for the effective cost management of engineering infrastructures by its members involve analytical, analogous, and parametric methods differentiated by the level of precision required, adding that, the 5D-Building Information Modeling (BIM) was a contemporary competency that incorporates a cost estimation capability that aid quantity surveyors reflect any design change on the construction budget immediately.
They said their members have competence on the use of 5D-BIM competency in developing cost databases, getting cost-loaded schedules, taking more informed decisions by making comparison of cost estimates against cost targets.
Quantity Surveyors considering their vast knowledge in contract practice and procedures are invaluable in the preparation of engineering infrastructure contract documents and in a manner that ensures a fair distribution of risks between parties, and in determining the party’s rights, duties, responsibilities, and obligations in advance.