QUANTITY surveyors should take note of the changing trends in government infrastructure development, as the global financial crisis are impacting the built environment making it more cost-driven than design-driven.
This was one of the important points made by Sr Ong See Lian (pictured), immediate past RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Global President, and keynote speaker at the recent 16th Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS) Congress.
In his keynote address delivered during the congress, Sr Ong, whose career spans more than 38 years in both the public and private sectors of the construction industry, said as a professional, quantity surveyors "needs to be aware of some of the trends that is happening" around the world.
He stated that professionals need to equip themselves not just in terms of competencies and skills and the knowledge to meet upcoming challenges, but they should also raise the profile of the profession and maintain high standards by underpinning their services with "strong, moral ethical values".
As an example of failing trust in professionals, Sr Ong gave the example of financial institutions, which during the financial crisis, has lost the trust of their customers, impacting the building industry due to their lending policies. "As professionals in quantity surveying, (they) need to learn the lessons and really put the fundamentals back into the picture," he said.
Going back to 1997, Sr Ong spoke about the Asian financial crisis, where lending for homes were given out without proper valuation on properties, with easy credit and low interest rates. "They were just pushing out loans without proper valuation on the property and when the foreign exchange currencies was impacted and the value of currencies suddenly dropped, the banks were the first one to be hit," he said.
As a result, banks started tightening their credit and withdrawing a lot of loans, which led to a rise in non-performing loans. This had a spinoff effect on the industry, which led to the property sector collapsing.
Some of the industries that Sr Ong said was affected, included the construction sector,as well as the entire supply chain, including material supplies and workers.
The recent financial crisis that affected the United States and is currently affecting the eurozone, has impacted Asian markets less than its Western counterparts. "I think that the Asia-Pacific region is actually leading and sustaining the economic growth on a global basis.
"If we look at GDP growth on a global basis in the developing world, they are either stagnant or going into recession," he said.
Sr Ong elaborated that the United Kingdom experienced two bad quarters which is leading the country into a "double-dip recession".
"The eurozone is continuing to face a crisis, and you see the impact of that in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and even Ireland; and that is going to be there for (the) long haul as we haven't seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet," he said.
In Asia, with China, India and some nations in Southeast Asia, countries are currently maintaining and holding their growth path and leading the rest of the world with the support of other emerging markets like "BRIC nations" Russia and Latin America. Sr Ong said that the support given by the BRIC nations are supporting Asian countries' growth and providing confidence to the the global economy, but it means that countries have to be prudent in their expenses.
Sr Ong said that these current economic situations that is being experienced on a global scale means that the government are thinking about their capital infrastructure development and investment and are now beginning to realise that they need to be cautious on how to spend their capital budget expenditure.
"In fact, a lot of government are looking at how they can stretch their budget so now they are going for a 'less is more' attitude," he said, adding that governments are now more constrained by their budgets and they are being much more cautious with the limited budget that they have.
In this aspect, Sr Ong stated that with projects being more cost driven, nations need the expertise to be able to provide accurate forecasts, or budgets, on any capital projects and should be able to manage, monitor and control the projects as they progresses through the design and construction phase.
He said that on top of the change in financial trends, there is also environmental trends that are impacting the build industry. "Now, with issues like green issues, there is a need for sustainable development and the
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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