Quantity Surveyors demand legitimacy
In light of recent calls by stakeholders of the Jamaican construction sector for improvements to the Building Code, Ryon Edwards, a council member of the Jamaica Institute of Quantity Surveyors is bemoaning the lack of legal recognition afforded to members of the industry.
Edwards has taken exception with the designation of quantity surveyors as building practitioners, as opposed to that of building professionals, afforded to industry players such as architects, engineers, and land surveyors under the Building Act.
"Referring to other members of the construction industry as non-professionals is sending a clear message that these people (quantity surveyors) who are entrusted with the care and development of our building infrastructure in the country are not on par with their colleagues", Edwards told The Gleaner.
Promoting sustainable development
He said that the introduction of the Building Act is intended to promote sustainable development, while making Jamaica's infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters.
Edwards explained that the Act also stipulates the establishment of the Building Practitioners Board for the reviewing of the performance of building practitioners, and the application of sanctions where necessary.
"Like registered engineers, land surveyors, and architects, quantity surveyors are deserving of our own oversight body to maintain ethical and professional standards, and to be recognised as legitimate industry professionals," he said.
He expressed that his chosen field of practise is being lumped together, with "tradesmen", a fact which he said is untenable, with them still being asked to report to the Building Practitioners Board according to the Act.
A quantity surveyor is a construction industry professional with expert knowledge on construction costs and contracts. They are not to be confused with land surveyors; in addition, a quantity surveyor calculates the amount of materials needed for building work, and how much they will cost.
"This is where the marginalisation of quantity surveyors began. We are among the first to establish a professional body - The Jamaica Institute of Quantity Surveyors (JIQS), which was founded in 1959, and was integral in the founding of the Construction Industry Council. Our counterparts overseas are recognised as professionals and their role in the construction industry is considered vital. So what about us; aren't we professionals also?" he asked.
He said changing the legal designation afforded to members of his profession could represent the first step in tackling corruption within the industry.
There is an estimated 103,700 people are employed in the Jamaica construction industry.
Additional reporting by Paul Clarke.