figlogo.gif (1705 bytes)   FIG 22nd General Assembly
  31 May and 4 June 1999
  Sun City, South Africa

Appendix to item 30: Ad Hoc Commission on Construction Economics/Management


1.1 At its meeting in 1996 the then Permanent Committee of FIG resolved, in furtherance of resolution 9/4-1994, to establish an ad hoc commission on construction economics and to review its activities in 1999. The Bureau now invites the General Assembly to undertake that review and to agree what should be the future status of construction economics within FIG.

Review of activities

1.2 FIG’s definition of surveying activities includes the planning, measurement and management of construction works, including the estimation of costs (paragraph 8 of the definition). Prior to the establishment of the ad hoc commission, these were the only activities listed in the definition that were not represented in FIG by a discrete forum.

1.3 During its first year of its operation, under the leadership of Professor Lim Lan Yuan (Singapore), the ad hoc commission established four working groups, published its first newsletter and contributed to the technical programme that formed part of the 1997 working week. At the end of that meeting Professor Lim was succeeded as chair by John Collinge (UK) who at first was unable to devote as much time as he would have wished to ad hoc commission activities. Nevertheless four sessions were organised at FIG’98 which attracted a number of high quality presentations on a wide range of subjects. Also during 1997-1998 links were developed between the ad hod commission and the International Cost Engineering Council which represents national associations of cost engineers and quantity surveyors and whose aims and activities complement those of FIG in the field of construction economics. John Collinge attended the ICEC Europe regional meeting in the Netherlands in April 1998 and the President (Roger Batten) and Secretary-General (Ken Humphreys) of ICEC participated in the ad hoc commission’s technical programme in Brighton, at the end of which Roger Batten accepted an invitation to become its vice chair.

1.4 The ad hoc commission redefined its objectives in Brighton and recast the working groups to match these objectives which now include

1.5 Work in all these areas is being overseen by the chair and vice-chair at their regular meetings, at which they have also finalised the programme for a technical session and two workshops at the 1999 working week. These are being run with the support of and input from ICEC’s Africa region and the newly-formed African Association of Quantity Surveyors, both of which are meeting during the working week. An application for membership of FIG from one of the leading members of the AAQS, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, will be considered by the General Assembly in Sun City and at the opening ceremony FIG and ICEC will sign a protocol to facilitate their on-going collaboration.

The Future

1.6 Construction economics is seen by some member associations as representing a threat to the future of FIG because, in their countries, it is not classed as a surveying activity. That is to overlook FIG’s holistic approach to surveying. From the time of its foundation it has always adapted to meet the changing needs of the profession and of those whom the profession serves. It also has a long tradition of accommodating different national cultures. These include different definitions of surveying. In some countries construction economics is more closely aligned to architecture or engineering; in others it is a surveying discipline. Similarly, valuation may be a stand-alone profession or it may be classed as a surveying activity. Because both are viewed in some countries as being outside the scope of their definition of surveying is no reason for them not to be included in the FIG family. On the contrary, it is FIG’s representation of surveying in its widest sense that makes it such an attractive partner for the UN and so many other international NGOs.

1.7 Construction economics is written into the FIG definition of a surveyor. A number of member associations have members who practise the discipline but who have hitherto found nothing in FIG of interest to them - to the extent that one or two associations have questioned the need to include their construction economist members when calculating their FIG membership fees. This situation has changed with the establishment of the ad hoc commission, which means that FIG is now able to cater for the needs of all surveyors.

1.8. The existence of the ad hoc commission also demonstrates to the outside world that FIG now embraces all the disciplines that make up its definition of a surveyor. Without it neither CIB nor ICEC would have been interested in concluding memoranda of understanding with FIG (see agenda item 12). The UN has already stated that is it interested in the construction-related skills which FIG can bring, for example, to a wide range of urbanisation and housing problems - areas where FIG has not so far been particularly active but in which, particularly through projects undertaken jointly not only with the UN but also with CIB and/or ICEC, it can make a real and greatly needed impact.

1.9 For all of the foregoing reasons the Bureau considers that it is in the long term interests of the Federation that construction economics should remain part of its future vision. However, as FIG’s operational management structures are currently under consideration, the Bureau suggests that it would be premature to decide now what should be the future status of the discipline within FIG but that this should instead form part of the wider review which is being led by Vice President Tom Kennie and his task force on the future governance and management of FIG.

1.10 The Bureau invites the General Assembly

1.    to note the foregoing review of the activities of the ad hoc commission on construction economics;

2.    to agree that the task force on the future governance and management of FIG should bring forward recommendation as to what should be the future status of construction economics within FIG; and

3.     to agree that the ad hoc commission on construction economics should remain in being until the task force has delivered its final report and recommendations.

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