Quantity Surveyors Travelling Long Road to Recognition

Despite the critical role Quantity Surveyors play in ensuring the prudent financial management of construction projects, they still have no legal professional industry recognition, says Earl Samuels, Chief Development Financing Officer, of the Jamaica National Group.

The financial managers of our country’s booming multi-billion dollar building and construction industry were put on par with artisans namely; carpenters, masons and steelworkers etc., under the new Building Act of January 2019, Mr. Samuels said. That categorisation should not be ascribed to a group of locally/internationally qualified professionals who determine whether project finances and contractual relationships on construction projects are prudently and professionally managed.

“The New Building Act does not appropriately recognise the role of the Quantity Surveyor,” Mr. Samuels said. This is despite the fact that, “Professional registration for all Quantity Surveyors has been fruitlessly pursued with successive administrations for more than 30 years.” 

In his address to the Jamaican Institute of Quantity Surveyors (JIQS) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on January 10, 2019 Mr. Samuels said, “I support the Institute in its efforts to lobby the Government to expedite the compulsory registration of Quantity Surveyors; and, to delay the approval of the regulations to the Building Act until the Quantity Surveyors Registration Act is passed by Parliament.”

Financial Institutions depend on the professional services of Quantity Surveyors for their mortgage programme and the provision of financing for residential, commercial and infrastructure construction projects. Their services help to mitigate the risk of the funding institution and are critical to the successful approval and disbursement of funds.    

He pointed out that these professionals would have had to review a substantial portion of the $10 Billion in civil engineering projects disbursed by the National Works Agency (NWA), the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and the National Water Commission (NWC), according to a Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) review of economic performance for the July to September 2018 period.  This excludes other public and private sector projects they reviewed during the period.

J’Vaughn Jacobs, President, JIQS, told the annual meeting of the Quantity Surveyors that their expert knowledge about construction costs and contracts is essential for an industry, which employs approximately 100,000 persons, and contributes about 7.2% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

 “While self-regulation is good, there comes a point when government legislation becomes necessary to safeguard and protect the profession; as well as, the general public from persons who seek to, and have been providing quantity surveying services without the requisite qualification and experience,” Mr. Jacobs declared.

He also pointed out that, “The advancement of the Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Act is even more critical now, given the fact that the current Building Act does not appropriately recognise the role of Quantity Surveyors.”

Currently, there are 64 members in good standing. The JIQS president stated that it is in the best interest of its members that their profession be treated in the same manner as other professionals in the construction industry namely; Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors etc.

“We are in the process of dialogue with the Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation and the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development, and the feedback we have received thus far is encouraging,” Mr. Jacobs said. “However, we trust that, the dialogue will continue; and that, the partnerships which are being developed will lead to the successful advancement, and subsequent passing of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Act in very short order.”