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International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284


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Centralized bid evaluation for awarding of construction


projects – A case of India government
Sidhartha S. Padhi *, Pratap K.J. Mohapatra 1
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal – 721 302, India

Received 30 October 2008; received in revised form 5 June 2009; accepted 9 June 2009

Abstract

Reviewing the procedures of contractor selection in government departments in various countries and in the Rural Development
Department (RDD) in India, this paper brings out several weaknesses of the current contractor selection procedure. It suggests a cen-
tralized contractor evaluation process with the inclusion of three new selection attributes along bid price. The suggested attributes are: (1)
time quoted to complete the project, (2) warranty period quoted, and (3) past performance score of the contractor. To solve the resulting
multi-objective decision-making problem, the paper proposes a binary goal programming model. When tested with the existing contrac-
tor selection procedure for six past projects in RDD, the model yields the same results as those taken by RDD in the past, confirming the
credibility of the model. When tested with the suggested procedure, the model yields much superior results.
Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Goal programming; Contractor selection; Project management

1. Introduction www.tender.gov.in, access date: 3rd April 2008). Judicious


selection of contractors is, thus, a major issue in
The government is the largest of the organizations that government.
spends millions of rupees in construction projects such as Government departments in India follow a well-laid out
those related to buildings, port works, roads, and water- procedure for competitive bidding through RFQ. While
works. Government departments outsource their required seeking bids from the potential contractors in an auction,
works and services through various methods such as open a government department brings out a tender notice and
cry auctions, competitive bidding through Request for publicizes, among other things, the design (drawing), tech-
Quotation (RFQ), and agreement through negotiation. nical specifications, completion time, and warranty period
Of these, competitive bidding through RFQ is the most fre- for each project. It also specifies its requirements with
quently used method. This is also the only method used by regard to financial self-sufficiency of the contractor (the
government departments in India to select contractors to minimum liquid assets that a contractor must have with
award construction projects (related to roads, buildings, him), adequacy of relevant experience (the minimum
etc.) (CPWD works manual, 2003). Furthermore, expendi- amount of work on similar projects– one-third of the
ture is the highest in the construction head among all the reserve price) that a contractor must have had done satis-
heads of expenditure in government departments (http:// factorily in the past, and the required physical resources
(such as manpower, equipment, etc.) to accomplish the
project (http://www.tender.gov.in, access date: 12th May
*
2008).
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 9333277971. A government department follows a three-stage proce-
E-mail addresses: drpadhi@gmail.com (S.S. Padhi), pratap_moha@
yahoo.co.in (P.K.J. Mohapatra). dure to award a work contract. In the first stage, the appli-
1
Tel.: +91 9434020437. cants are evaluated on the basis of their registration details,

0263-7863/$36.00 Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.


doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2009.06.001
276 S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284

lawsuits filed, and complaints raised against them. Regis- 2. Literature review of construction contractor selection
tration details indicate the class to which a contractor process
belongs. Normally, a contractor is registered with the gov-
ernment as B-, A-, special-, or super-class contractor on the Many studies have recognized the importance of, and
basis of physical resources, qualified manpower, and past the associated difficulties in, multi-attribute scoring of con-
experiences available. A B-class contractor is eligible to tractors. Consideration of multiple attributes in procure-
bid for small projects costing less than or equal to Indian ment auction is important, but setting their priority in a
rupees of five million, whereas a super-class contractor bid evaluation process is difficult (David et al., 2006; Shyur
can bid for projects of all sizes. Filing lawsuits can result, and Shih, 2006; Gallien and Wein, 2005; Dobler and Burt,
for example, from tender fixing, bribing government offi- 1996; Patil, 2006; Beil and Wein, 2003; Arslan et al., 2006).
cials, unfilled demand by the contractors for raising project To overcome these weaknesses and evaluate construction
cost due to hike in raw-material price. Complaints against contractors in a multi-attribute procurement scenario in
a contractor range from poor workmanship to difference of government sectors, a number of modeling approaches
opinion on volume of work completed and from environ- have been proposed in the literature. Table 1 shows a few
mental pollution to delay in project completion. selected modeling approaches and the contractor selection
In the second stage, the department evaluates the appli- attributes used in these approaches.
cants and scores them with respect to three main pre-qual- Kumaraswamy (1996) used a performance-based scoring
ification attributes of their technical bids (called here as the technique for rating each attribute on an interval scale and
present status of the contractor): (1) Quantum of similar summing the individual scores to compute the final score
work done in the past, (2) Availability of physical for a contractor. The technique is simple to use, but
resources, and (3) Financial status (liquid assets) of the depends on the subjective decisions of the experts. Further,
contractor. The department shortlists the three highest- it cannot accommodate attributes with dissimilar scales of
scoring bid participants for the second stage of evaluation. measurement. The technique also fails to guarantee consis-
In the third stage, the contractor, quoting the lowest bid tency in determining the attribute weights. Holt (1998) used
price, is declared as the winner. cluster analysis to group the contractors having similar
The use of the criterion of the lowest bid to finally select characteristics. The technique can handle the attributes
a contractor has been criticized by many (e.g., Hatush and with dissimilar scales of measurement, but it is not suitable
Skitmore, 1998; Stein et al., 2003; Al-Reshaid and Kartam, to identify the most favorable contractor.
2005). According to them, a contractor, quoting a very low Hatush and Skitmore (1998) and Lambropoulos (2007)
bid price and ultimately winning the auction, may find the have used multi-attribute utility technique to score the con-
quoted amount totally untenable. Such a contractor often tractors. In this technique, the utility score of a contractor
resorts to various cost-cutting measures, which lead to seri- is determined by comparing the desired value of each attri-
ous time and cost overruns, serious quality problems, and bute (set by the government) with its actual value as
to increased litigation. Furthermore, the lowest bid con- achieved by the contractor. The sum of the individual util-
tractor may have got the lowest pre-qualification score ity scores reflects the total utility score of the contractor.
among the shortlisted ones. The selection procedure, thus, Thus, the technique has the ability to consider multiple
does not distinguish a technically vastly superior contrac- attributes and past work performance. However, it cannot
tor from other marginally qualified ones. handle fuzzy data and does not work properly for group
The contractor selection procedure also suffers from two decision-making problems (El-Sawalhi et al., 2007). Lai
other deficiencies. First, the selection process does not et al. (2004) used multi-attribute analysis technique to score
attach any importance to the past work performance of the contractors. A simple scoring technique in which the
contractors. Having won a contract, a contractor, with a contractors are rated on an ordinal scale, it cannot capture
poor record of past work performance, is very likely to deli- the uncertainty of preference ratings of decision makers.
ver work with poor standard. Holt et al. (1995) and El-Saw- Also, it does not check the consistency of scores for the
alhi et al. (2007), for example, found the contractors to be attributes by decision makers (El-Sawalhi et al., 2007). Fur-
unreliable when their past work performance was not con- ther, Lai et al. (2004) did not consider the attributes that
sidered in the selection process. Second, a contractor can were quantitative in nature.
bid for any number of projects at the same time. Because Deng (1999) and Padhi and Mohapatra (2009) used
procurement auctions take place in a decentralized manner Fuzzy-AHP and Fuzzy AHP-SMART and Al-Harbi
in government departments, it is quite possible that a con- (2001) and Topcu (2004) used AHP to score the contrac-
tractor wins the award of multiple projects. Such a contrac- tors. Both Fuzzy-AHP and AHP techniques check the
tor often fails to handle all the projects satisfactorily due to consistency of export judgments. Using these techniques,
his limited resources and exceeds the planned schedule and the qualitative scores of attributes are converted into
cost and, consequently, compromises on quality. numerical values. The techniques can also handle scores
In this paper, we propose that the contractor selection assessed by a group. The contractors are rated subjec-
procedure should be changed to include the past perfor- tively by the decision makers who use the Satty scale
mance of contractors and their bids for multiple projects. (1980) to convert the scores into crisp numbers and make
S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284 277

Table 1
Modeling approaches to the problem of construction contractor selection.
Author Country Selection attributes used Modeling
approach
Kumaraswamy Hong Financial status, technology offered, and experience in handling similar types of projects. Performance-based
(1996) Kong scoring
Holt (1998) UK Quoted cost, quality of work, and completion time Cluster analysis
Hatush and UK Quoted bid price, financial soundness, technical ability, management capabilities, safety Multi-attribute
Skitmore (1998) performance, and reputation. utility theory
Deng (1999) Australia Quoted cost, technical capability, services and references of the government officials. Fuzzy-AHP
Al-Harbi (2001) UAE Experience in handling similar types of projects, financial stability, quality performance, AHP
manpower resources, equipment resources, and current workload.
Topcu (2004) Turkey Quoted cost, quality of work, and completion time AHP
Lai et al. (2004) China Contractor organization structure, firm honor and competence, quoted bid price, and amount Multi-attribute
of materials used. analysis
Missbauer and Austria Bid price Integer
Hauber (2006) programming
Lambropoulos Greece Quoted cost, quality of work, and completion time Multi-attribute
(2007) utility theory
Wang et al. (2006) Taiwan Conversion of all the attributes to price Unit-price based
Padhi and India Quoted bid price, financial status, available physical resources, amount of work done, service Fuzzy-AHP-
Mohapatra during warranty period, co-operation and coordination offered, meeting of completion time, SMART
(2009) value of work done in each of the past projects, and pollution control measures.

pair-wise comparison among the attributes as well as the In our paper, we argue that
contractors. This technique, however, cannot capture the
uncertainty of the preference ratings for scoring the 1. Explicit consideration of multiple attributes be made, like
contractors. The fuzzy scale, used in Fuzzy-AHP, gets unit-price based auction (Wang et al., 2006), not just to
over this problem by allowing the experts to give their disqualify bidders but to use them in the final selection
opinions in terms of a range of values in the scale. of the winner (Topcu, 2004; Lai et al., 2004; Wang et al.,
Both AHP and Fuzzy-AHP suffer, however, from the 2006).
rank reversal problem (Wang and Triantaphyllou, 2008). 2. Models for procurement auction of construction pro-
Such a problem is said to occur when the relative jects have considered single projects only (Holt et al.,
ranks of contractors change whenever one or more 1994a; Holt et al., 1994b; Holt, 1998; Deng, 1999; Zav-
contractors are either added or deleted from adskas and Vilutiene, 2006; Lambropoulos, 2007; Padhi
consideration. and Mohapatra, 2009). Models for awarding multiple
Missbauer and Hauber (2006) used a single-objective construction projects have not been reported in the liter-
(bid price) integer programming model to select the win- ature. The procurement auctions should be held for mul-
ning contractor. However, they did not consider other tiple projects to assess the bidders’ viability with regard
important non-price attributes, such as quality, time of to his financial and physical resources.
completion, physical resources, and past performance of
the contractor. Wang et al. (2006) used the unit-price In the present paper, we consider the case of any contrac-
based selection method, where all the selection attributes tor making bids for multiple projects that can be either
were converted into a single attribute, price to select the homogeneous, heterogeneous, or both. We propose a bin-
most favorable contractor. However, mapping various ary goal programming model to solve the above-stated
attributes to price is difficult (Teich et al., 2005) and problem of contractor selection. Further, we consider the
debatable. adequacy of physical and monetary resources available with
In summary, we highlight the following features of pro- a contractor for all the projects that he may have bid for.
curement auction used different countries of the world
3. Contractor selection attributes considered in the proposed
1. Procurement auction in government of India consider model
the attributes that other government follow.
2. Barring Taiwan (Wang et al., 2006), all the countries, Selection of contractors for construction projects in gov-
considered above, follow a multi-stage procedure to ernment departments (including those in India) is usually
pre-qualify and filter the bid participants and to select based on the consideration of a number of attributes. They
the winner in the final stage – a procedure that govern- are listed below.
ment departments in India follows.
3. Like other countries, India also carryout competitive 1. Bid price quoted by a contractor: It is the price quoted
bidding for single projects. by a contractor to get the project work. And the
278 S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284

government prefers the contractor who quotes the low- bidding contractors to co-operate and coordinate.
est bid. Government officials can subjectively assess the
2. Financial status of the contractor: It is the minimum extent of co-operation and coordination extended
liquid assets that a contractor must have with him by a contractor by recalling their past experiences
(30% of reserve price) to get the project work. with the bidding contactors during their winning
3. Total amount of similar work done by the contractor: The stints.
criterion of total amount of similar work done by the (e) Pollution control measure: In all spheres of the soci-
bidding contractors is important because it gives an idea ety, a growing concern for pollution control and
to the government department about the contractor’s environmental safety has forced the government
experience in handling work of similar quality specifica- departments to include pollution control measures
tions and costs. to be taken as another criterion for selecting the
4. Physical resources available with the contractor: The gov- most favorable contractor.
ernment department asks the bid participants to submit
the details of available physical resources that they can In this paper, we have used the aggregated past perfor-
expend for the project. mance score of contractors, against each past performance
attributes, following the approach of Kumaraswamy (1996).
Government departments consider all the four attri-
butes, mentioned above, in the three-stage auction process. 4. The winner selection problem
In view of the shortcomings of this process, discussed in
Section 1, we propose three additional attributes to be con- Contractor selection is a multi-attribute decision-mak-
sidered explicitly in the auction process. The first two of ing problem. Where individual contractors perform differ-
these attributes – time quoted to complete the project ently on different attributes and projects are not divisible
and Post construction warranty period quoted by the con- among the contractors, finding the most favorable contrac-
tractor – are usually fixed by the departments and pub- tor among a set of contractors makes the problem challeng-
lished in the tender notice. The winning contractors are ing. Additionally, when a contractor bids for more than
supposed to conform to these requirements. We advocate one project, the contractor selection problem can be baf-
that the contractors be asked to quote on these attributes fling. To solve this problem, we propose a binary goal pro-
as also on the bid price. gramming approach.
Goal programming is a very widely used technique for
1. Time quoted to complete the project multi-objective decision-making. There have been a num-
2. Post construction warranty period quoted by the ber of extensions of the basic goal programming approach.
contractor In the framework of a goal programming approach, the
3. Past performance score of the contractorPast perfor- decision makers set some acceptable aspiration levels to
mance of a contractor is a measure of the quantum of achieve a set of goals as closely as possible with preset
similar work done satisfactorily by him in the past. Such goals. Of relevance to this paper is the binary goal pro-
an attribute is often used in the first stage of evaluation. gramming (Chen and Tsai, 2001; Chang, 2004). In this
We propose the following five components of the past approach, decision variables are binary in nature, each
performance of a contractor: reflecting whether a specific contract is assigned to a spe-
(a) Delay in completing the project: This is the difference cific contractor or not. We discus below the details of the
in time between the due date stipulated by the gov- proposed binary goal programming model to select the
ernment department and the actual date of comple- most eligible contractors for work contracts.
tion of a project by the winning contractor.
(b) Quality of service during warranty: This indicates the Assumptions
quality of maintenance work done by the contractor (i) Work contract for a single project is not divisible
on a completed project. among the contractors, i.e., subcontracting is not
(c) Value of work done by the contractor in each project allowed.
assigned to him in the past: A winning contractor (ii) A contractor can submit only one bid for a project;
may indulge in substandard quality of work to make however, he can submit bids for more than one
supernatural profit. To guard against such an even- project.
tuality, the government department checks the dif- (iii) All the physical resources are of equal priority.
ference between the desired and the actual quality
of work done and assesses the value of work done Symbols
before releasing the assessed amount to the i index for the project, where i = 1, 2, . . ., I
contractor. j index for the contractor, where j = 1, 2, . . ., J
(d) Co-operation and coordination offered: A govern- k index for the type of physical resource, where
ment department often modifies construction design k = 1, 2, . . ., K
and/or specifications. In such cases it expects all the Gi Set of contractors who quote for the ith project
S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284 279

Bj Set of projects that the jth contractor quotes for The warranty period for the ith project by the jth winning
d+ Over-achievement of a goal contractor, wij, should be higher than the period of main-
d Under-achievement of a goal tance warranty, Wi, asked for by the government for the
ith project (Goal 3)
Auctioneer (Government department) X
wij X ij þ d  þ
i3  d i3 ¼ W i ; 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð3Þ
Pi Reserve price fixed for the ith project
j2Gi
Ti Desired completion time of the ith project
Wi Warranty period fixed for the ith project The past performance of the contractor is a major indicator
Si Desired past performance score for the ith project of his dependability. So the government wants to select a
type contractor ‘j’, from the set of contractor Gi, who scores
Cij Minimum amount of work (in rupees), similar to higher than that fixed by the government for past perfor-
the ith project, required to have been done satis- mance (Goal 4)
factorily by the jth contractor in the past X
sTij X ij þ d  þ
i4  d i4 ¼ S i ; 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð4Þ
Rkij Amount of kth type resource the jth contractor j2Gi
must deploy for the ith project
Lij Liquid assets with the jth contractor, considered as Constraints
a minimum, for the ith project The kth resource to be deployed by a contractor j 2 Gi,
for all the awarded projects is limited to the amount avail-
Contractor able with him ðrkj Þ
pij Price quoted by the jth contractor for the ith pro- X
Rkij X ij 6 rkj ; 8j ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; J and 8k
ject i2Bj
tij Time quoted by the jth contractor to complete the
ith project ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; K ð5Þ
wij Warranty period quoted by the jth contractor for The liquid assets (lj), held by the jth contractor, limits the
the ith project total liquid assets that he can spend on all the projects
sij Past performance score secured by the jth contrac- awarded to him
tor for having completed the ith type project in the X
past Lij X ij 6 lj ; 8j ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; J ð6Þ
i2Bj
cj Amount of work (in rupees) completed by the jth
contractor in the past The amount of work (in rupees), similar to the ith project,
rkj Amount of kth type of physical resource available that a contractor j 2 Gi, had done satisfactorily in the past
with the jth contractor (cj) should be more than the amount set by the government
lj Liquid assets available with the jth contractor X
C ij X ij 6 cj ; 8j ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; J ð7Þ
i2Bj
Decision Variables
 The total number of awards to be given at the end of the
1 If ith project is awarded to the jth contractor
X ij ¼ auction should not exceed the number of projects, N, for
0 If ith project is not awarded to the jth contractor
which tender notices have come out
XX
for all i = 1, 2, . . ., I and j = 1, 2, . . ., J X ij 6 N ð8Þ
Goals i2Bj j2Gi
The contractor selection model considers four goals.
A project can be awarded to only one contractor; it may
They are discussed below.
not be awarded to anyone if no contractor satisfies the min-
The total bid price of the winning contractors should
imum requirement
approximately equal the total sanctioned budget for all X
the projects included in the tender notice (Goal 1) X ij 6 1; 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð9Þ
XX X j2Gi
pij X ij þ d 
1  d þ
1 ¼ Pi ð1Þ
the under- and over-achievements are non-negative:
i2Bj j2Gi i2Bj

d
1 P 0; dþ
1 P 0 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð10Þ
where d  þ
1 and d 1 are the under-achievement and over-
achievement of the goal (the total sanctioned budget). d
i2 P 0; dþ
i2 P 0 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð11Þ
The time quoted for the ith project by the jth winning d
i3 P 0; dþ
i3 P 0 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð12Þ
contractor, tij, must not exceed the schedule date Ti (Goal d P 0; dþ P0 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð13Þ
i4 i4
2)
X The decision variables have to be either 0 or 1:
tij X ij þ d  þ
i2  d i2 ¼ T i ; 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I ð2Þ
j2Gi X ij ¼ 0 or 1; 8i ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; I and j ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; J ð14Þ
280 S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284

The goal programming formulation of the contractor selec- Case 1


tion problem requires defining goals and the deviations of The tender notice for three projects was put up on Octo-
the achievements from the goals for a particular solution. ber 9, 2006, by the RDD. In this case the projects were
The objective function is set as: finally awarded to contractors 2, 3, and 4, respectively.
Thus the case under consideration focuses on awarding
X
I X
I X
I
of three roadwork projects (I = 3) to four contractors
Minimize z ¼ d þ
1 þ dþ
i2 þ d
i3 þ d
i4 ð15Þ
i¼1 i¼1 i¼1
(J = 4) where projects are not divisible among the contrac-
tors and where a contractor who is likely to win more than
The problem, thus, is to find optimal value of Xij = 0 or 1, one contract may lose one of them if his available
for all i = 1, 2, . . ., I and j = 1, 2, . . ., J, so as to minimize resources, liquid assets, and the quantum of work (in
(15) subject to constraints specified in (5)–(13). rupees) done by him in the past fall short of the require-
ments of these projects. Three contractors (contractor 1,
5. A case study contractor 2, and contractor 3) have quoted for project 1,
while all the four contractors have placed their bids for
We took the following three steps to get acquainted with projects 2 and 3.
the current procurement process and in the government Table 2 (Case 1) gives the quotations submitted by the
departments to collect auction related data: (1) Browsing contractors. Column 2 of Table 2 gives nij the quotation
the website of the government of India departments (containing a set of values of the selection attributes) made
(www.India.gov.in, accessed on 1st march 2008); (2) Study- for the ith project by the jth contractor. Each row of Table
ing the relevant publications by the government of India, 2 (Case 1) gives the details of the corresponding contrac-
attending seminars and workshops organized by govern- tor’s quotation for different attributes.
ment departments, and reviewing the published research The present practice of contractor selection does not
papers on procurement of works and services; and (3) require a contractor to quote the time to complete a pro-
Studying the details regarding the award of work contracts ject; instead it directs all the participating contractors to
in the Rural Development Department (RDD) of Orissa, a complete the project within a stipulated time. Therefore
state in the Republic of India (the department spends the data on the quoted times to complete a project were not
highest in road construction projects in the Orissa) and available. Also, because the present practice of contractor
gathering information on the details of the work con- selection does not consider warranty period promised by
tract-awarding process and contractor evaluation attri- the contractor, data on warranty were also not available.
butes, by interviewing the officials of the RDD. To apply our contractor selection model (given in Section
We consider the problem of contractor selection for two 4), we have used surrogate measures of these two attri-
cases each involving three roadwork projects that were car- butes, instead. We have used the average time taken by a
ried out by the RDD of Orissa. contractor to do the ith type of projects in the past, in place

Table 2
Contractor quoted for the works contracts.
Case Quotation for Bid price Total amount of Avg. time taken for Warranty Physical resources Liquid asset Past performance
project i by in million work done in completion of project provided available in numbers in million Rs. score
contractor j Rs. million Rs. in months in years
Case 1 n11 2.826 1.633 12 3 54 2.847 8.05
n21 2.700
n31 2.593
n12 2.691 2.001 9 3.5 52 2.435 6.58
n22 2.705
n32 2.589
n13 2.782 2.691 6 4 58 2.182 8.13
n23 2.602
n33 2.485
n24 2.697 2.081 10 4 41 1.305 7.56
n34 2.391
Case 2 n11 3.323 2.522 8 3.5 47 1.197 7.68
n21 2.112
n31 3.153
n12 3.192 2.385 9 3.2 42 1.252 7.19
n22 2.231
n32 3.173
n13 3.426 2.239 6 4 40 1.453 8.21
n23 2.341
n33 3.248
S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284 281

Table 3
Requirement set by the government.
Case Reserve price Required quantum of Required time for Required physical Required Required liquid asset Required past
in million Rs. work in million Rs. completion of project resources in warranty in million Rs. performance score
in months numbers period
Case 1 2.943 0.971 8 28 4 0.883 8.00
2.710 0.894 8 24 4 0.813 7.50
2.625 0.866 6 21 4 0.788 7.50
Case 2 3.531 1.165 8 28 4 1.059 8.00
2.410 0.795 6 24 4 0.723 7.50
3.313 1.093 8 28 4 0.994 8.00

of the time quoted by the jth contractor to complete the ith ject separately by ignoring the suggested selection
project. Similarly, we have used the average warranty per- attributes of quoted time to complete a project, quoted
iod provided by the contractor in the past for the ith type warranty period, and past performance (i.e. by ignoring
of projects, in place of the warranty period promised by the constraints (2)–(4) in the model given in Section 4) so as
jth contractor for the ith project. to reflect the present practice of contractor selection, and
Table 3 (Case 1) gives the values of different attributes, (2) the results obtained for the case when the model was
published by the RDD in the tender notice. solved by considering all the selection attributes suggested
This problem has been formulated as a binary goal pro- in the paper (column 4).
gramming model (mentioned in Section 4), the formulation The last row of the Table 4 (Case 1) shows the value of
is given in the Appendix. We have used the LINDO 6.1 the objective function as obtained for the two cases. We
software package to solve the problem (LINDO 6.1, a observe that when the three new selection attributes are
product of LINDO systems Inc. (Schrage, 1999), is a soft- considered in addition to those already used by RDD,
ware package dedicated to design and solve linear and inte- the optimal results (given in column 3) are entirely different
ger optimization models). The optimal solution is obtained from those for the present selection process. Contractor 2
as Z* = 2.000, and the optimal values of the decision vari- lost the project 1 in the proposed model because of poor
ables are obtained as follows: (X11, X12, X13, X21, X22, past performance score (6.58) and low warranty period
X23, X24, X31, X32, X33, X34) are (0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0). quoted (3.5) compared to those of contractor 3 (with value
The results imply that the first and third projects should of 8.13). In fact, contractor 2 failed to get any project
be awarded to contractors 3 and the second project should because of the same reasons. Further, contractor 3, who
be awarded to contractor 4. The over-achievement and quoted the least completion time and the highest warranty
under-achievement values of each goal are the following: period, also won the award of project 3. Contractor 4, who
d  þ þ þ þ
1 ¼ 0:314; d 12 ¼ 2; d 22 ¼ 2; d 14 ¼ 0:130; d 24 ¼ 0:060; d 34 ¼ had reasonably high amount of work done in the past and
0:63, and d 1 ¼ d 12 ¼ d 22 ¼ d 22 ¼ d 32 ¼ d 13 ¼ d 23 ¼ d 
þ þ þ  þ  
33 ¼ quoted reasonably low bid price and the highest value of
d14 ¼ d 
24 ¼ d 
34 ¼ d þ
13 ¼ d þ
23 ¼ d þ
33 ¼ 0: The optimal solu- the warranty period, won the award of the project 2.
tion meets all the ten goals set by the government Case 2
department. The tender notice for three projects was put up on April
Table 4 (Case 1) gives the following: (1) the RDD’s 29, 2007, by the RDD. In this case the projects were finally
actual decision with regard to awarding the projects to awarded to contractors 2, 1, and 1, respectively.
the contractors for the present case (column 3). The results Thus the case under consideration focuses on awarding
obtained for the present case when the binary goal pro- of three roadwork projects (I = 3) to three contractors
gramming model was formulated and solved for each pro- (J = 3). Three contractors (contractor 1, contractor 2,
and contractor 3) have quoted for all the three projects.
Table 4 Table 2 (Case 2) gives the quotations that were submit-
Comparison of outputs between present practice and proposed method.
ted by the contractors. Column 2 of Table 2 gives nij the
Case Project Contractor who was quotation (containing a set of values of the selection attri-
awarded the project
butes) made for the ith project by the jth contractor. Each
RDD’s present Proposed row of Table 2 (Case 2) gives the details of the correspond-
practice model
ing contractor’s quotation for different attributes.
Case 1 1 2 3 Table 3 (Case 2) gives the values of different attributes,
2 3 4
3 4 3
published by the RDD in the tender notice.
Value of the objective 0.592 2.000 Solving this problem (mentioned in Section 4) using the
Case 2 1 2 2 LINDO 6.1 software package. The optimal solution is
2 1 3 obtained as Z* = 3.430, and the optimal values of the deci-
3 1 1 sion variables are obtained as follows: (X11, X12, X13, X21,
Value of the objective 0.797 3.430
X22, X23, X31, X32, X33) are (0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0). The results
282 S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284

imply that the first, second, and third projects should be selection procedure is tested. When solved with the
awarded to contractors 2, 3, and 1, respectively. The consideration of past work performance and resource con-
over-achievement and under-achievement values of each straints due to bidding for multiple projects, the model
goal are the following: d þ   
12 ¼ 1; d 13 ¼ 0:8; d 33 ¼ 0:5; d 14 ¼ yields superior results compared to the current government
0:81; d 34 ¼ 0:32; d 1 ¼ 0:568, d 24 ¼ 0:071 and d 1 ¼ d 
  þ þ
12 ¼ practice.
dþ þ  þ þ   þ þ 
14 ¼ d 22 ¼ d 22 ¼ d 22 ¼ d 32 ¼ d 23 ¼ d 24 ¼ d 13 ¼ d 23 ¼ d 32 ¼ The proposed method can be used to evaluate contrac-
dþ þ
33 ¼ d 34 ¼ 0. The optimal solution meets all the ten goals tors not only in any government department but also in
set by the government department. private enterprises. Using this method, an online decision
Table 4 (Case 2) gives the following: (1) Column 3 gives support system can be developed to award the work con-
the RDD’s actual decision by solving binary goal program- tracts electronically. Data must be stored for monitoring
ming model for each project separately and ignoring the ongoing projects and evaluating completed projects. An
suggested three selection attributes and (2) Column 4 gives online data base can be developed to store the past perfor-
the results obtained for the case when the model was solved mance of the contractors and can be used as pre-qualifying
by considering all the selection attributes suggested in the criteria for evaluating the contractor.
paper.
The last row of the Table 4 (Case 2) gives the values of Acknowledgements
the objective function when selection attributes are not
considered (RDD’s present practice) and when they are We thank full to the Ministry of Human Resource
considered. We observe that in the proposed model results Development and Rural Development Department of the
in different project allocation decision and in a higher value India government for their financial and moral support
of objective function compared to the present practice. to do this project. We would also like to thank the editor
Contractor-1 lost the project-2 in the proposed model and anonymous reviewers of JPMA for their suggestions
because of non-availability of adequate physical resources to improvement this article. Any mistakes are, of course,
and liquid asset required to take up two projects simulta- our responsibility.
neously. This is also the reason for other two contractors
for getting one project each. Appendix

6. Conclusions Mathematical formulation of the binary goal program-


ming model using the data of Tables 2 and 3.
Contractor selection is a multi-attribute decision-making
Minimize ¼ d þ þ þ þ    
1 þ d 12 þ d 22 þ d 32 þ d 13 þ d 23 þ d 33 þ d 14
problem. The current practice of selecting a contractor to
award a project in a government department in India is typ- þ d 
24 þ d 34
ically multi-stage in nature with the first two stages devoted Goals
to filtering out contractors with dubious background and Quoted Bid Price by the contractors for all the tendered
unacceptable technical bid and with the last stage to select projects (Goal 1)
the contractor based on bid price alone. This practice is defi-
cient in many respects. It ignores the past performance of a 2:826X 11 þ 2:691X 12 þ 2:782X 13 þ 2:700X 21 þ 2:705X 22
contractor and his competitiveness in terms of the quoted
time of completion and the quoted warranty period. Fur- þ 2:602X 23 þ 2:697X 24 þ 2:593X 31 þ 2:589X 32
ther, such a department follows a decentralized project- þ 2:485X 33 þ 2:391X 34 þ d  þ
1  d1
awarding procedure where a contractor is evaluated for a
¼ 8:278
project without any regard to his bid for other projects.
Thus, the procedure may result in a situation where a con- Quoted project completion time for three projects by each
tractor may be awarded more than one project while his contractor (Goal 2)
liquid assets and other resources may fall far short of the
requirements for implementing all the awarded projects. 12X 11 þ 9X 12 þ 6X 13 þ d  þ
12  d 12 ¼ 8
In this paper, we propose that (1) the contractor selec-
12X 21 þ 9X 22 þ 6X 23 þ 10X 24 þ d  þ
22  d 22 ¼ 8
tion may be done in one stage only, (2) the set of selection
attributes should be enlarged to include (i) quoted time to 12X 31 þ 9X 32 þ 6X 33 þ 10X 34 þ d  þ
32  d 32 ¼ 6

complete a project, (ii) quoted warranty period, and (iii)


Quoted warranty period for three projects by each contrac-
past performance of the contractor, and (3) the competitive
tor (Goal 3)
bidding process should be centralized so as to judge the
financial and physical resource position and experience of 3X 11 þ 3:5X 12 þ 4X 13 þ d  þ
13  d 13 ¼ 4
a contractor in consideration of award of multiple projects.
We have proposed a binary goal programming model to 3X 21 þ 3:5X 22 þ 4X 23 þ 4X 24 þ d  þ
23  d 23 ¼ 4
select the contractor. We consider the model credible 3X 31 þ 3:5X 32 þ 4X 33 þ 4X 34 þ d  þ
33  d 33 ¼ 4
because it replicates the results when the present contractor
S.S. Padhi, P.K.J. Mohapatra / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 275–284 283

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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78


www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman

Analysis of cost and schedule performance of international


development projects
Kamrul Ahsan a,*, Indra Gunawan b
a
Department of Management, Faculty of Business, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
b
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Received 19 June 2008; received in revised form 20 January 2009; accepted 10 March 2009

Abstract

This study focuses on cost and schedule issues of international development (ID) projects. Through empirical analysis we examine ID
project cost and schedule performance and the main reasons for poor project outcome. We look at 100 projects that are sponsored by the
Asian Development Bank and hosted by several Asian countries. The study identifies that most late projects experience cost underrun –
an unusual cost and schedule variation relation in projects. Further we identify the root causes of project delay and cost underrun.
Research findings will benefit ID project professionals, organizations and the ID project body of knowledge. The study can be extended
to analyse other developing country projects sponsored by different donors.
Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.

Keywords: International development project; Project performance analysis; Cost and schedule; Causes of delay

1. Introduction cerned with soft issues like social or human development [1,
p. 364]. The soft objectives of ID projects are usually much
Public sector development projects or programs specifi- less visible and measurable compared to industrial or com-
cally designed for economic and social needs of developing mercial projects. The intangibility of ID project objectives
countries, usually financed by a donor are known as inter- and deliverables raise a special challenge in managing and
national development (ID) projects. These projects are evaluating projects that require adaptation of the existing
either implemented by recipient governments under a bilat- project management body of knowledge [2, p. 74].
eral agreement with the donor country, or through an One important characteristic of most ID projects is the
‘implementing partner’ of the donor – frequently a non- complex web of the many stakeholders involved [3]. Indus-
governmental organization or professional contractor [1]. trial and commercial projects usually have two key stake-
ID projects differ from industrial or commercial pro- holders, the client, who pays for the project and as a
jects. The objectives of ID projects by definition, concern result benefits from its deliverables, and the contractor or
poverty alleviation and improvement of living standards, implementing unit, who is paid for managing the project
environment and basic human rights protection, assistance to achieve the desired results. ID projects, in contrast, com-
for victims of natural or people caused disasters, capacity monly involve three separate key stakeholders, namely the
building and development of basic physical and social funding agency that pays for but does not directly use pro-
infrastructures [2, p. 74]. Although there are some hard ele- ject output, the implementing unit, and the target beneficia-
ments within ID projects, these projects are frequently con- ries who benefit from project output but usually do not pay
for the project. Most ID projects are not concerned with
*
profitability and do not have a business focus. The operat-
Corresponding author. Tel.: +64 9 921 9999x5477.
E-mail addresses: kamrul.ahsan@aut.ac.nz (K. Ahsan), indra.gunawa-
ing environment and culture of the host country also make
n@aut.ac.nz (I. Gunawan). ID projects different from traditional business projects and

0263-7863/$36.00 Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.


doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2009.03.005
K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78 69

make traditional project management tools in the devel- agement concepts are not universally valid because they are
oped world less appropriate [4]. based on certain assumptions about what governs human
Foreign loans from donor institutions, development behaviour and these assumptions are not valid in some cul-
banks and host country organizations play a dominant role tures. The tools and techniques of themselves will not deli-
in financing ID projects. Most ID projects are financed by ver successful projects if they run counter to cultural and
the five major multilateral development banks (MDBs), work values. Palmer [14] points out that in developing
which are the World Bank Group, the Inter American countries, projects run down much faster due to general
Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank absence of routine maintenance. Quartey [15] explores
(ADB), the African Development Bank and the European and discusses the issues of infrastructure development pro-
Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the 21 jects for developing countries. The main emphasis is on
member countries of the Organization for Economic Co- implementing the build-operate scheme in these countries.
operation and Development. According to the UNDP’s Kwak [16] identifies some ID project risk factors and
Human Development Report 2004, the 49 Least Developed emphasises risk management strategies during the project
Countries (LDC’s) in the world received US$55.15 billion initiation and planning stage for project success. Youker
in official development assistance in 2004 [2, p. 72]. This [3] identifies ID project lessons learned in managing and
amounts to 8.9% of the LDC’s total GDP, which is mostly implementing World Bank Group sponsored projects.
allocated for ID projects. The main lenders and the donor Youker [17] further suggests that ID projects go through
countries have over $200 billion in outstanding commit- a typical lifecycle with relatively distinct stages of concep-
ments allocated for economic and social development pro- tualization, planning, implementation and closing. Kwak
jects in over 120 countries. The largest lender among the [18] identifies several critical success factors of ID projects
five MDBs is the World Bank, which had 60% in outstand- that cover political, legal, cultural, technical, managerial,
ing commitments, earmarked for 1508 projects in 1998/99, economical, environmental, social, and corruption issues.
while the four other MDBs together accounted for an esti- Recently, Khang and Moe [2] identify sets of ID project
mated 40% of the $200 billions in outstanding commit- success criteria and factors in phases of the project life
ments [5, p. 4]. For Asia-Pacific countries, the ADB cycle. Existing research [3,11,13,14,16,18,19] points to lack
contributed US$123.2 billion for 2002 projects during the of empirical research in identifying current practices and
period 1966–2006 [6]. performance of ID projects.
There are variations in project management knowledge Project completion within time, cost and scope, and
and practices between industries, countries and application maintaining quality throughout are very common dimen-
areas [7]. Within project management literature the most sions of success factors mentioned by project management
frequently addressed industry is construction [8–10]. professional bodies and the research community. It is
Recently, ID projects are gaining more importance among encouraging that research focus on project evaluation is
project professionals due to their nature and contribution increasing [9] and research interest in the areas of perfor-
to developing countries. The Project Management Institu- mance/earned value management increased more than
tion (www.PMI.org) identifies that most ID projects face 100% in 2000s [20]. Time and cost performance studies
time and cost overrun and require major costly re-engineer- have been conducted for several developing countries and
ing. Within the PMI there is no body of knowledge, spe- for different types of projects. Literature identifies develop-
cialized global standards or certification, nor is there any ment projects as well-known for over-running cost and
training available for ID projects. Robert Youker, in his schedule budgets [21–23]. Bromilow [24], Kaka and Price
presentation to the first Global Project Management [25], Kumaraswamy and Chan [26], and Chan [27] attempt
Forum in 1995 in New Orleans, discussed seven areas of to build an empirical relationship between time and cost
ID project management and concluded that in almost every performance and predict construction time is a function
area, current project management standards and certifica- of cost. Raftery [28] pointed out that construction projects
tions need to be extended to cover ID project management tend to have a poor reputation for excessive time and cost
[5]. The International Development Special Interest Group overruns. Bromilow [29] found from 309 Australian build-
of PMI shares this vision which has already been included ing projects conducted over the years 1964–1967, only 37
within their 5-year strategy. projects (12%) met their estimated completion times. For
Many research articles have been published for con- transport projects, Flyvbjerg et al. [21] found that cost
struction and manufacturing sector projects, but the inter- escalation was strongly dependent on the length of the
national development and aid sector is less represented in implementation phase. Odeck [31] identified mean cost
project management literature [11]. From the perspective overrun for Norwegian road construction projects at
of African countries, Diallo and Thuillier [12] highlight 7.88% and overrun predominant among the smaller pro-
the unique characteristics of ID projects and identify the jects (costing less than 15 m NOK) compared to the larger
influence of interpersonal relationships, trust and commu- ones. Kaming et al. [30] identified the root causes of time
nication on project success. Muriithi and Crawford [13] and cost overrun for Indonesian high-rise construction
discuss approaches to project management in Africa with projects and concluded the problems were relevant to other
implications for ID projects. It is argued that project man- developing countries. For Nigeria, research conducted by
70 K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78

Mansfield et al. [32] investigated the causes of construction The success of an ID project which is its long-term impact
project delays and cost overrun. For Ghana, Frimpong on the prosperity and development of the local population
et al. [33] investigated the causes of time and cost overrun depends on how well it is prepared, and the policies behind
on ground water construction projects. Recently Kaliba its design [12].
et al. [34] identified the causes of schedule delay in road
construction projects of Zambia as follows: financial pro-
2.1. ID project process
cesses and difficulties on the part of contractors and clients,
contract modification, economic problems, materials pro-
The process of the ID project is complex because there
curement, changes in drawings, staffing problems, equip-
are many parties involved. Typically this includes the len-
ment unavailability, poor supervision, construction
der or donor, the Ministry of Finance of the host country,
mistakes, poor coordination on site, changes in specifica-
the client, stakeholders, a project management or coordina-
tions and labour disputes and strikes .
tion unit and a multitude of contractors who carry out
ID project performance is not well studied in project
physical implementation of most components and activities
management literature. The performance evaluation of
of the project. Overall performance of the ID project
ID projects is as important as for other projects. However
depends largely on these parties which are from different
the evaluation criteria are slightly different from other pro-
cultures and have different objectives within the project.
jects. Diallo and Thuilleir [35] first outlined a comprehen-
The client is a sectoral ministry or institution of the host
sive set of evaluation criteria that includes satisfaction of
country. They are the official representative of all beneficia-
beneficiaries, conformation of goods and services pro-
ries, participate in the project assessment phase, and need
duced, achievement of project objectives, completion of
to closely monitor the project implementation process.
the project in time and within budget, receiving a high
Considering several stockholders and project development
national profile and receiving a good reputation among
and implementation processes, and literature from Rondi-
principal donors. Although the study is based on African
nelli [19, p. 580] we construct an ID project network model
countries, the findings can be of use to ID projects of other
in Fig. 1. The solid arrows represent usual communication
continents. Morris and Hough [36] found 63% of 1778 dif-
between involved parties and the dotted arrows represent
ferent type of projects funded by the World Bank between
likely communication between parties. The donor is often
1974 and 1988, experienced significant cost overruns.
solely involved in the process of project identification and
The literature mentioned regarding project performance
development, resulting in local stakeholders feeling left
evaluation, focuses on time and cost performance of partic-
out [3]. Confirmation of donor funding is vital in ID pro-
ular local or international development projects. To our
jects, and after funding approval the project implementa-
knowledge there is no research that has evaluated ID pro-
tion unit starts work with a project manager.
jects for several countries in terms of time and cost perfor-
mance. The purpose of this study is to explicate unexplored
issues in ID project time and cost performance through 2.2. ID project life cycle
empirical research. The basis of the study is published
post-project reports of the ADB. By analyzing the post- Like other projects, ID projects have a project life cycle.
project reports we investigate project size in terms of bud- ID project cycle is the preferred vehicle for the delivery of
get and duration, project performance in terms of time and foreign aid to developing or newly emerging economies
cost, and root causes of poor performance. The outline of [37]. Youker [17] identified two generic project life cycles
the paper is as follows. In the next section we give a formal for ID projects; one from the point of view of the host
description of ID projects with emphasis on project pro- country and the other from the point of view of the donors.
cess, life cycle and classifications. In Section 3, we analyse The key difference of the life cycles is the ‘financing’ phase
research methods and project performance. Finally, the from the host countries’ point of view. The host country
conclusion provides a summary of our study and recom- needs to attract project financing from donor agencies.
mendations for future research. According to Youker’s generic project life cycle models,
both parties (donor and host country) have a project iden-
2. Formal analysis of ID projects tification phase which should be undertaken together. It is
frustrating for the host country that project identification is
International development is conducted or sponsored by often dominated by donor choice rather than host country
international organizations for an emerging, developing or priority [17]. Rondinelli [19, p. 580] emphasises ‘an inte-
least developed country. Usually, projects that are gener- grated project cycle’ and suggests 10 steps that a well
ated for international development are known as ID pro- planned project should proceed through. These are (1)
jects. ID projects are also known as aid projects and are identification and definition; (2) formulation, preparation
a sub-sector of project management like other areas such and design; (3) appraisal; (4) selection, negotiation and
as information technology, education, construction and approval; (5) activation and organization; (6) implementa-
engineering, telecommunications, manufacturing, and the tion and operation; (7) supervision, coordination and con-
service industries, e.g., legal, insurance, and finance [5]. trol; (8) termination and completion; (9) dissemination of
K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78 71

Donor Contractor/
Supplier

The ID
client Projects
Host country
Ministry of Project implementation
Finance unit

Other
Supporting firms or
beneficiaries
individuals

Fig. 1. ID project network model.

output and transition to normal administration; and (10) port. These three phases are basically the ID project plan-
post-evaluation and follow-up. ning stage and take about half of total project duration
We examine project life cycle steps of five different inter- [17]. Many projects disappear at this phase. After approval,
national organizations: the World Bank, United Nations the project work begins in the activation phase. At this
Development Programme, Food and Agricultural Organi- stage, a project manager is usually appointed and work
zations, ADB and Islamic Development Bank. We ascer- commences through a project implementation unit. The
tain that donor organizations follow their own style of last phase of the cycle is evaluation which is a never-ending
project phases to explain the ID project life cycle. However, process; however there are standard post-project evalua-
it is apparent that most organizations have five common tions that are generally conducted by donors. For success-
stages in the life cycle which are project identification, prep- ful completion of a project it is important to focus on all
aration, appraisal and approval, implementation and eval- stages from identification through to evaluation.
uation. Realizing the existing phases of project life cycles
this study suggests a project life cycle (Fig. 2) that will fit 2.3. ID project classification
both donor and host country.
In the proposed cycle there are five basic phases. For Identifying project type can be valuable in deciding how
donor and host country, the first three phases are quite best to manage the project. Typical characteristics of pro-
similar in name; however the purpose and activity of the jects are product projects, service projects and continuous
phases depend largely on the parties. During these three improvement projects [38]. The feature areas of project
phases, in many instances it is necessary to co-ordinate classification are based on size, application area, priority,
activities between donor and host. Donors have their degree of risk, cash flow, technology, business experiences,
own specific country strategy and host country project and deliverables. According to Turner and Cochrane [39]
objectives should match with donor strategy. With the help there are four types of project: type 1 projects where the
of donors, host country sector ministry, planning unit or goals and methods are well defined such as in large engi-
the Ministry of Finance, project profile and initial design neering projects. Type 2 projects where the goals are well
is prepared. In the approval phase, the host country usually defined but the methods of achieving them are not such
seeks approval from donors, and donors assess the project as in product development projects. Type 3 projects where
plan and provide feedback about possible funding or sup- the goals are not well defined but the methods are such as

For donor or sponsor


Identification Preparation Appraisal and
approval
Implementation
and operation Evaluation
Activation
Co-ordination Both for donor /sponsor and host
country government
Identification Preparation Approval
and design

For host country government

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5

Fig. 2. Proposed ID project life cycle.


72 K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78

in software development projects. Type 4 projects where tions and/or memories of the phenomenon of interest
neither the goals nor the methods of achieving them are [46]. On the other hand, of the major limitations data from
well defined such as in organizational development pro- computers or reports are not always accurate, and results
jects. Since ID projects have definite objectives but the depend on quality and comprehensiveness of project
methods of achieving them are not well defined, the reports. Many data (e.g., financial reports) are quite noisy,
authors think these projects can be classified as type 2 pro- making statistical significance of hypothesized relation-
jects. Crawford and Pollack [40] provided a framework for ships hard to establish [41, p. 342]. Considering the above
analyzing project hardness and softness in response to a benefits and limitations we consider ADB project comple-
perceived need for more informed use of the terms hard tion archival data as a good source for credible research.
and soft in relation to project management. Seven dimen- A project is a temporary endeavour and usually after
sions have been identified as the key issues: goal/objective completion project team members and key personnel leave
clarity, goal/objective tangibility, success measures, project the project. Furthermore, many projects do not conduct
permeability, number of solution options, degree of partic- post-project appraisal and for those projects it is very hard
ipation and practitioner role, and stakeholder expectations. to find historical project data. However, if projects system-
Based on these dimensions, we consider that ID projects atically write and store a project appraisal report, it will be
possess hard and soft aspects of projects. beneficial to learn about project process and management
ID projects have a goal of reducing poverty and cover throughout the life cycle and for use in future projects.
many sectors in both soft and hard areas. Hard projects The ADB plays an important role of donor for develop-
include agricultural, infrastructure development, water ment projects. Usually, the ADB carefully and systemati-
supply and sanitation and examples of soft projects are cally prepares implementation manuals and detailed post-
resettlement, basic health care, education, social welfare project evaluation reports for public and private sector
and capacity building [2,3,5,16]. Even for projects involv- projects and programs. The post-project appraisal report
ing development of physical infrastructure and facilities, is prepared at the end of the project to record project
the ultimate soft goals of serving sustainable social and related practices, learned lessons, and performance in
economic development always have a priority in the project regards to ‘triple constraints’ – scope, time and cost prac-
evaluation by key stakeholders [2, p. 74]. According to tices. Individuals or organizations use these project records
Youker [3], ID projects are medium to large size projects for future project planning and research. The results of the
or programs. In terms of size, this means the dimension project appraisal are published every year and are available
of the project in dollar value, duration, number of people to the public. The report is prepared under the direction of
on the project, or a combination. Sometimes ID projects the project manager, incorporating information provided
are classified based on priority. Priorities are in terms of by the consultant and contractor as appropriate. Gener-
humanitarian need, emergency situation, or socio-eco- ally, upon completing the project, the executing agency
nomic need. ID project deliverables are goods and services. submits its own completion report to the ADB and within
Most ID projects are initiated for infrastructure and social 12–24 months ADB operations staff visit project site and
development, and are design-develop-build-deliver projects prepare the project completion report [47].
where monetary benefit is not the prime objective [15]. As the ADB deals with Asian country projects, our
focus is on Asia. Among the countries studied two are
3. Research procedure and data analysis emerging economies: China and India; one is a developing
economy: Thailand and one is a least developed economy:
Our research is based on secondary data from ADB Bangladesh. These countries represent almost 50% of the
post-project appraisal reports which have been archived world population where development is an ongoing pro-
by the ADB as a knowledge base of ID projects. cess through ID projects. As of July 2007, for these four
Research based on secondary data offers great opportu- countries we found 100 project reports from the ADB
nities for new studies in operations and supply chain man- website. The percentage of data representation among
agement [41–44]. Within the project management area the countries is China 30%, India 20%, Thailand 19%
research based on archival or secondary data is promising. and Bangladesh 31%. The studied projects were completed
Sun and Meng [45], identify that for construction projects between 1986 and 2007 and are from different areas of
out of 101 reviewed journal articles, research method using development such as agriculture, infrastructure (road con-
documentation and records of completed projects is 49. struction, electricity generation, and telecommunication),
There are several advantages to using this kind of data in public health, financial sector, social welfare, environment
project management and for ID projects. Firstly, because and education. We gather project duration, cost, and per-
of the temporary nature of projects it is difficult to obtain formance data from project budget, schedule and perfor-
necessary past project data from primary sources. Sec- mance related tables, charts and figures. We analyse
ondly, this data is widely available from a source and less numerical data in the form of descriptive statistics and
expensive to analyse [41]. Thirdly, data sourced from causes of delay in the form of charts, tables and discus-
archives is even more objective than primary survey data sion. Other descriptive information has been collected
since it is free from contamination by respondent percep- from the project reports.
K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78 73

3.1. ID project performance analysis and cost. In the next sub-section we analyse the degree of
schedule and cost variance of ID projects.
3.1.1. Project duration and cost
This study addresses performance issues of ID projects 3.1.2. Cost and schedule variation
in terms of the project elements of time and cost. To We determine schedule variation (SV) to be the differ-
describe the project time parameter we consider project ence between planned and estimated duration. A negative
planned duration and actual duration. There are also two SV means the project is late while a positive SV means
common parameters to check budget performance, which the project has been completed before scheduled time. Sim-
are planned budget and actual cost. For data of each coun- ilarly, cost variation (CV) is measured as the difference
try we determine the mean and standard deviation of these between planned cost and actual cost. A negative CV
parameters. In general, we find that most of the studied means over budget or overspent project and a positive
projects are lengthy in terms of duration and take more CV means an under budget project. We also determine
time than expected to complete. Further details are illus- the SV and CV percentage for a group of projects; SV per-
trated in Table 1. centage is the ratio between average SV and average
It can be seen from time performance data in Table 1 planned duration of all the projects (i.e. average SV for a
that for all countries the average estimated project duration group/average planned schedule). Similarly CV percentage
is 55 months and standard deviation is 17.5 months. On the is the ratio between average CV and average planned cost
other hand, actual average project duration is 72 months of all the projects.
and standard deviation is 28 months. Compared to In Fig. 3, we compare countrywise performance of ID
planned project duration, average project delay is projects in terms of average schedule and cost variations.
17 months and project duration overrun is 31.4%. We find average countrywise SV is negative and CV is posi-
Table 1 also shows that ID projects are large in terms tive for all the countries. Comparing project SV and CV
of budget. For the studied projects, planned budget per data, it can be seen that in India average schedule overrun
project varies from US$126–418 million, while the average is the highest (55% of actual schedule) compared to other
budget per project is US$303 million and standard devia- studied nations. In China the variation is around 8.1%
tion is US$253 million. Conversely, the average actual which is not that significant. Conversely, the cost data gives
cost per project varies from US$115–308 million with an an interesting scenario for India. Even though projects in
average cost of US$255 million and standard deviation India take more time than planned, in the end the amount
of US$222 million. It is significant to mention that actual of cost underrun is around 26% of planned cost. For
cost of the ID projects is less than planned cost and cost China, cost underrun is not as significant compared to
underrun per project is on average 14.5% from planned India. Overall, most projects experience schedule overrun
budget. If we compare ID project performance with other and cost underrun.
project management areas, from the Chaos Chronicles Fig. 4 shows performance of the different groups of pro-
report [48, cited in 49] it can be seen that software project jects according to the following four categories: schedule
cost overruns were 189% of the original estimate which in overrun, schedule underrrun, cost overrun and cost under-
general is worse than the performance of ID projects. For run. Among the projects, overall the percentage of schedule
Indonesian construction projects Kaming et al. [30] found overrun and cost underrun projects is higher compared to
that project managers completed 54.5% of projects on cost overrun and schedule underrun projects. The group
time. For groundwater construction projects of Ghana, of scheduled overrun projects (first group from the bottom,
Frimpong et al. [33, p. 322] identified that 75% of the pro- Fig. 4) show most ID projects experience schedule overrun
jects exceeded the original project schedule and cost problems and have some cost underrun. On average 86% of
whereas only 25% were completed within budget and on projects are late, time overrun is almost 2 years, and pro-
time. jects take approximately 39% more time than planned aver-
The above comparisons of cost and schedule perfor- age. On average, a late project experiences cost underrun
mance show how ID projects are executed in terms of time by US$42 million, i.e., 13% of average planned project

Table 1
ID project cost and time performance.
Country Planned duration Actual duration Time variation* Planned cost (US$ Actual cost (US$ Cost variation**
(months) (months) (%) million) million) (%)
Bangladesh 59.91 80.53 34.41 126.55 115.86 8.44
China 59.40 67.50 13.63 486.67 460.33 5.41
India 51.03 79.45 55.69 418.29 308.92 26.14
Thailand 46.03 61.09 32.71 305.84 229.53 24.95
Average 54.09 72.14 33.37 334.34 278.66 14.55
*
Variation is negative compared to planned duration.
**
Variation is positive compared to planned cost.
74 K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78

SV (%) Bangladesh
CV (%)
China

India

Thailand

-60.00 -50.00 -40.00 -30.00 -20.00 -10.00 0.00 10.00 20.00 30.00 40.00
Variation (%)

Fig. 3. Countrywise comparison of cost and schedule variations.

% of projects
Cost underrun 86 16 29 58 18

SV (month)

Cost overrun 14 28 51 73 22 SV (%)

CV($million)
Schedule underrun 14 8 14 79 19
CV (%)

Schedule overrun 86 21 39 42 13

0 50 100 150 200 250

Fig. 4. Comparisons of project performance.

cost. Although projects with schedule underrun (second on the weighted average (WA) of the criteria: relevancy
group from the bottom, Fig. 4) are few they have large cost (with host country and ADB strategy), effectiveness (in
underrun. A schedule underrun project on average has achieving objectives), efficiency (in achieving outcome
US$79 million cost underrun which is 19% of project aver- and output), and sustainability [47, p. 7, 9] with weights
age planned cost. 20%, 30%, 30% and 20%, respectively. The ADB ranks
On the other hand, of the cost underrun projects 86% of project performance as highly successful (WA P 2.7),
projects were completed within or under budget, these pro- successful (WA: 1.6–2.7), partially successful (WA: 0.8–
jects were behind schedule by 16 months with about 29% 1.6), and unsuccessful (WA < 0.8). To simplify project
SV (first group from the top, Fig. 4). Projects with cost outcome, our study groups performance rates as success-
overrun (second group from the top, Fig. 4) are few ful for successful and highly successful projects and
(14%) and the average amount of overspending is US$73 unsuccessful for partially successful and unsuccessful pro-
million, i.e., 22% of average planned project cost. jects. The project outcome varies amongst the countries.
Analyzing the time and cost performance for all ID pro- The data indicates that most ID projects (83%) are recog-
jects, it can be seen that only a few projects (13%) are com- nized as successful. The failure rate for Bangladesh is
pleted both within schedule (schedule underrun) and quite high (nine projects) whereas for Thailand it is quite
budgeted cost (cost underrun). In contrast, most projects low (one project).
(73%) are late (schedule overrun) and operate with less Further comparison of schedule and cost variance in
budgeted cost (cost underrun 20%) i.e., most late projects relation to project success rate shows the effect of project
experience cost underrun. We find this to be an exceptional success differs depending on whether schedule and cost var-
nature of ID projects. Comparing time and cost perfor- iance is positive or negative. For cost variance, the more
mance of ID projects with other projects from literature cost underrun, the higher the project success rate. For sche-
[21–23,29–31,36], we can conclude that our finding is dule variance, the later the schedule, the higher the project
unique and that no previous research has identified this success rate. The difference between the marginal means of
unusual performance relation. positive and negative schedule and cost variations repre-
sents an interaction between SV and CV, i.e., these factors
3.1.3. Overall project performance are not independent. Further, a two-factor ANOVA-anal-
The performance of an ADB project is measured by ysis without replication shows interaction between SV and
overall performance rating. The rating is calculated based CV means are not significant.
K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78 75

Table 2
Causes of ID project delay.
Causes of delay Identified number of cases
Bangladesh China India Thailand Total
Lengthy procedure for contract evaluation and award 21 10 11 5 47
Procurement delay 13 7 12 9 41
Civil works and land acquisition delay 15 13 5 3 40
Consultant recruitment delay 20 3 1 1 25
Natural calamities 12 2 2 5 21
Government procedural delay 4 7 7 1 19
Local politics and economic problem 2 2 2 10 16
Loan approval and disbursement delay 1 4 2 8 15
Project staff hiring delay 6 0 0 3 9
New scope addition 0 4 4 0 8
Frequent change of project staff (manager, director) 6 1 0 0 7

3.2. Causes of time overrun and cost underrun occasional unavailability of funds also result in late pro-
jects. The tendency to frequently widen or change project
From analysis, it is apparent that most of the ID pro- scope by the sponsor or host country can create a change
jects are late and require less budgeted cost. We identify of tasks and resource scheduling which may lead to a
and explain the reasons for lengthy project duration and missed delivery date.
large amount of cost underrun. A summary of the causes of delay and a countrywise
breakdown of the data are presented in Table 2. It can
3.2.1. Causes of time overrun be seen that most projects (47 of 73) identify ‘contract eval-
Project time overrun indicates an extension of project uation and award’ as the main cause of delay. The contract
completion time from the planned duration. Ex post eval- process is managed by the host country with the help of
uation and completion reports demonstrate the various donors. The process is lengthy and there is often dispute,
reasons for delay. Summarizing the reasons of schedule bias and inconsistency in the contract. ‘Lengthy procure-
delay, we prepare a comparative list of causes and their fre- ment process’ is found to be the second most important
quency in Table 2. Our analysis shows the major causes of cause of delay for 41 projects. Combining the two main
delay are related to lengthy contract and procurement, civil causes, we can see that 26 projects experience both contract
works and land acquisition, consultant recruitment, natu- and procurement related delay.
ral calamities, and host country government procedures. If we look at causes of delay for late and cost underrun
Procurement is one of the biggest challenges of ID pro- projects according to country, we can see that for Bangla-
jects. Delays in procurement are often caused by long bid desh out of 24 projects, 21 experience delay due to lengthy
evaluation time, operational delays of implementing orga- ‘contract evaluation and award’ and 20 experience delay
nizations, and inexperience of local authorities in interna- because of lengthy ‘consultant recruitment’. For China,
tional procurement. ID projects can often take longer out of 17 projects, 13 projects are late due to lengthy ‘civil
due to protracted land acquisition problems which occur works and land acquisition’; the next major cause of delay
as a result of local politics, land law and religious issues. found in 10 projects is due to ‘contract evaluation and
The influence of local government is another factor con- award’. Out of 20 projects in India, 12 projects experience
tributing to project delay. delay due to prolonged ‘procurement of goods and ser-
Consultant recruitment also leads to delay in many ID vices’; and 11 projects experience ‘contract evaluation’
projects. Usually, consultants are recruited to help in a delay. In the case of Thailand, due to the Asian financial
wide range of activities such as policy advice, management, crisis of 1997, the scenario alters. Projects implemented
engineering services, construction supervision, financial during the period experienced governmental procurement
services, procurement services, social and environmental and financial restriction on borrowing and spending. Out
studies, and identification, preparation and implementa- of 12 projects, 10 faced finance related restrictions that
tion of projects [50, p. 2]. Sometimes causes of delay are caused delay in loan disbursement and procurement of
beyond control such as natural calamities. The conse- goods and services.
quence of floods, landslides, and rivers changing course, Other important causes of delay are related to project
tsunami or inaccessibility of work location often leads to staff hiring, finance approval and disbursement, frequent
project delay. transfer of key project staff, project scope addition, and
In the countries studied, governmental bureaucratic influence of local politics. From Table 2 we can see that
problems include a slow decision making process and insti- some causes of delay are locally dominant. In the case of
tutional or other border issues, and cause frequent policy both Bangladesh and Thailand, floods, and hiring and fre-
changes leading to project schedule delay. Delays in financ- quent change of key project staff are a recurring setback.
ing approval from donor and host country sources and According to the ADB: ‘Change of project directors is a
76 K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78

Table 3
Causes of ID project cost underrun.
Causes of cost underrun Identified number of cases
Bangladesh China India Thailand Total
Depreciation/devaluation of local currency 16 6 10 8 40
Lower than estimated price for procurement of goods, services, and contracts 9 8 9 6 32
Competitive international bidding 6 9 6 4 25
Less use of contingency funds 6 6 1 1 14
Project scope cut 10 1 1 1 13
Project design change 8 1 2 2 13
Local taxes and interest policy change 5 2 3 2 12

persistent problem in Bangladesh’ [6: PCR BAN: 19192]. the number is quite high and out of 20 projects, 10 iden-
In Thailand, delays in loan approval and disbursement tified inflation as an issue. On average an Indian cost
are prominent. underrun project has 80% inflation. In Thailand, devalua-
In conclusion we can say most causes of ID project tion of local currency by 46% during the Asian financial
delay are related to the host country and the project pro- crisis resulted in significant cost underrun for 8 of 12
curement and contracting process. projects.
A total of 32 projects experienced lower than estimated
3.2.2. Causes of cost underrun price for procurement of goods, services, and turnkey con-
Usually, projects taking more time cost more money. tracts. The main reasons for this significant cost reduction
However, for ID projects the picture is different. Cost are vigorous competition in the bidding process of equip-
underrun implies the project is completed under budgeted ment and materials, changes in market conditions, and
cost, in other words allocated money is unused and substantial reduction in cost interest due to policy changes
accounted for as a loan surplus. At closing of the loan for taxes and interest rates. While the latter is difficult to
account, with agreement of both parties, the unused loan predict, other factors could have been given greater weight
is usually cancelled. We find that most schedule overrun in estimating project costs at appraisal.
ID projects experience cost underrun. Because of this unu- Competitive bidding of imported goods and services is
sual nature of cost and schedule variation relations it is of the third most common cause of cost underrun. Out of
immense interest for this study to identify some central 73 projects, 25 identified this issue. Amongst all countries,
causes of schedule delay and cost underrun. ID projects from China experienced the greatest
We identify major causes behind cost underrun for over- advantage.
time projects and summarize the results in Table 3. We find Less use of contingency funds is another important rea-
the most frequently identified causes of cost underrun to be son for cost underrun in ID projects. Fourteen projects
depreciation or devaluation of local currency, lower than recognised the unused portion of contingency funds as an
estimated bid price, international competitive bidding, important cause of cost underrun. To avoid a possible
and less use of contingency funds. Other important causes funding crisis caused by fluctuations in the price of goods
of cost underrun are project scope cut, design change, local and services there is a tendency to keep a high contingency
taxes, and interest policy changes. in the ID project budget. From data we found on average
Usually ADB project appraisal costs are determined in an ID project reserves 15% contingency within the bud-
USD. The budget contains two elements: ‘foreign exchange geted cost. Among the countries the highest contingency
costs’ and ‘local currency costs’ [47]. ‘Foreign exchange funds are kept in Bangladesh, i.e., 16% of planned cost
costs’ represent the sum of direct payments made in curren- and the lowest are found in China, i.e., 12% of planned
cies other than the currency of the borrowing country for cost.
equipment and materials and consulting services; and ‘local Overall, our study finds late and cost underrun ID pro-
currency costs’ represent the local currency value of all jects experience 20% less budgeted cost and the main causes
goods and services that are procured for the project within are established as local currency devaluation and competi-
the country. If a project spends more in local currency and tive bidding of imported goods and services.
reduces expenditure in foreign currency then the project
will have a loan surplus. Inflation of local currency will 4. Conclusion
result in a surplus of appraisal cost and a considerable
amount of unused loan. This study can be considered as a unique empirical
The case of currency devaluation is serious for all the research that analyses performance of ID projects. We ana-
countries and is identified as a cause of cost underrun lyse ADB funded projects of four countries in Asia. The
in 40 projects. In Bangladesh, out of 24 projects 16 con- studied projects are categorized as large and medium size
sidered inflation as a cause of cost underrun; and on aver- projects in terms of duration and total budget, as soft
age a cost underrun project has 41% inflation. For India, and hard projects in terms of application area, and as emer-
K. Ahsan, I. Gunawan / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 68–78 77

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Citation: Perera, Srinath, Pearson, John and Dodds, Lyn (2010) Alignment of professional,
academic and industrial development needs for quantity surveyors. In: RICS COBRA
Research Conference, 2-3 September 2010, Dauphine Université, Paris.

URL:

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Alignment of Professional, Academic and Industrial Development
Needs for Quantity Surveyors
Srinath Perera
School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University
srinath.perera@northumbria.ac.uk

John Pearson
School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University
john.pearson@northumbria.ac.uk

Lyn Dodds
Sustainable Cities Research Institute, School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University
lyn.dodds@northumbria.ac.uk

Keywords
Quantity surveying competencies, academic, industrial, professional body, RICS, graduate quantity
surveyors

Abstract:
The academic, professional and training needs of Quantity Surveyors are pulled by different

stakeholders in different directions. Academics are interested in producing a rounded graduate with the

basic foundation in knowledge for further development whereas professional bodies are interested in

graduates capable of progression to full professional status through the achievement of the required

core competencies (RICS, 2009). The industry is looking for a graduate who can straight away

contribute to the growth and daily functions of business activity. Hence, there is a three directional

pull on the development needs of the Quantity Surveyor (QS). The present education system of the QS

does not recognise these multi-directional needs and hence often produces a graduate whom the

industry sees as not fulfilling their requirements. This leads to many problems with greater levels of

employer and graduate dissatisfaction and obstacles to early career development of the QS graduate.

This research aims at investigating the changing development needs of Quantity Surveyors within a

post recession industrial environment that satisfies the aspirations of industrial, professional and

academic stakeholders. The paper will present the initial findings of the research based on a series of

stakeholder interviews examining RICS competencies and academic curricular.


1 Introduction

The role of the Quantity Surveyor (QS) has evolved over the years since its origins in the mid 19th
century (Thompson, 1968) and more recently through a series of reviews under the auspices of the
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The RICS report published in 1971 defined the role
of the QS in a succinct and clear manner (RICS, 1971). It sought to establish the profession as
specialists in measurement and valuation of construction work. This was then followed by the report
on the Future Role of the Chartered QS in 1983 (RICS, 1983) which identified the skills and
knowledge base of the QS while identifying the scope for expansion and diversification of services. A
greater level of detail and definition to the role of the QS was brought about by the by the RICS report
on “The Core Skills and Knowledge Base of the Quantity Surveyor” (RICS, 1992). These provided
the basis for the development of the RICS QS competencies (RICS, 2009).

The direction and the development of the role of the QS were highly influenced in the early 90’s by
the report published by Davis Langdon and Everest (DLE, 1991). This report entitled “Quantity
Surveying 2000” identified threats and opportunities for quantity surveying approaching the 21st
century. Brandon (1992) documented the changes in the role of the QS and provided a detailed
account of the services offered by modern quantity surveying practices. Powell (1998) warned the
profession of imminent changes in the light of changing attitudes of clients, pressures in the business
world, formulation and execution of projects, development of skills base and the effect of Information
Communication Technologies (ICT). The effect of ICT on the profession is something that is
continuing and growing. It will have a profound effect on the profession, the way it operates and
function. Cartlidge (2002), attempts to capture these multi-directional developments and effects
providing an insight in to the future of the practice of quantity surveying.

Today, the training needs of QS are pulled by three different stakeholders in three different directions.
Academics are interested in producing a rounded graduate with the basic foundation in knowledge for
further development whereas professional bodies are interested in graduates who can be progressed to
full professional status through the achievement of the required core competencies (RICS, 2009). The
industry is looking for a graduate who can immediately contribute to the growth and daily functions of
business activity. The present education system of the QS does not recognise these multi-directional
needs of the QS and hence often produces a graduate whom the industry sees as not fulfilling their
requirements. This leads to many problems with greater levels of employer and graduate
dissatisfaction and obstacles to early career development of the QS graduate. This research aims at
investigating and identifying the different views of the three stakeholders while providing a platform
for constructive alignment of these views. This paper describes the research undertaken and provides
an account of the initial findings of the research.
2 Quantity Surveying Education

The roots and the development profile of QS education is well documented in both Ashworth (1994)
and Ashworth & Hogg (2007). Ashworth (1994) describes the traditional development of the QS
through an articled pupil scheme where a senior or principal surveyor trains new QS. The QS
education system has evolved over the years from the early 60’s to date with the predominant method
of producing a surveyor today being through a graduate entry scheme via an RICS accredited degree.
The process is currently undergoing another change with the introduction of the Associate RICS and
Senior Professional routes for membership. It is too early to predict the effect these schemes will have
on the profession although this research aims to identify trends and opinions of both industry and
academia in this respect.

The conflicting concerns of academia, industry (both consulting and contracting sectors) and the
professional body have long fuelled the “education versus training” debate and some conflict between
Educators and Employers through which the RICS steers a sometimes difficult path. On the one hand
it sends messages to the universities that it wishes to see programmes which lean more towards the
“academic” rather than the “technical”, whilst on the other hand it sends messages to employers that
they should accept graduates issuing from its accredited degree programmes as being appropriately
qualified to take positions at higher than technician grade (for which the RICS itself has a specific
training route via the HND / Foundation Degree and now ,through Associate membership). The debate
of the need for a technical grade or otherwise is yet to be fully resolved.

The RICS has created the Competencies referred to above which require active cooperation between
the academic sector (providers of basic subject knowledge and certain academic skills) and the
industrial sector (providers of practical skills training) through the operation of their business.

Both the RICS and the educational sector show similarities in their lack of appreciation of the specific
requirements industry may have of its newly graduated student members. At the same time the
industry does not seem to appreciate that a graduate is a person with higher intellectual capacity to
rapidly further develop their professional skills and technical knowledge. This conflict and lack of
alignment of industry, academic and professional perspectives create a barrier for the development of
the profession as well as the career development of the graduate QS.

Added to this is a more fundamental failure on the part of all parties to appreciate the dynamics of the
market sector. The majority of new graduates appear to be entering more non-traditional QS routes. It
has been shown both through research (Perera, 2006) and through records of 1st destination surveys
(UNN Returns, 2001 – 2008) that a large majority of new graduates find employment not in Private
Consultancy Practice or the Public Sector, as was the case until the mid 1980’s, but with Main
Contracting and specialised subcontracting organisations. Perera (2006) shows that in University of
Ulster more than 80% of graduates either seek employment or prefer to be employed in the non- PQS
sectors of the industry. The situation is very similar in Northumbria University and in many other
universities in the UK. Feedback from Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) workshops has
noted a certain Private Practice bias within the presentation of advice and, indeed there is feedback at
university level suggesting this. Both much of the academic content and the structure of the RICS
would seem directed at the PQS and Government Sector, paying less attention to the skills inherent in
the role of the Contractor’s Surveyor. For their part, those engaged in developing Quantity Surveying
within the construction sector may see this as another barrier to cooperating with the RICS when
required. This is evident by the fact that RICS membership does not grow in the same proportion of
the growth in QS student numbers (Perera, 2006). The emergence of Commercial Management (Lowe
and Leiringer, 2006; Walker and Wilkie, 2002) as a distinct discipline encompassing the role of the
contractor’s QS is a fact that RICS would need to consider in detail in its development of career paths
for the QS.

Leading QS professional bodies worldwide have begun to recognise these developments and trends.
For example, recently the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) established a separate
pathway for contractors’ QS for completing professional qualification.

In summary, it is suggested that the present education system of the QS does not recognise their multi-
directional needs and hence often produces a graduate whom the industry sees as not fulfilling its
requirements. A further factor in the willingness or otherwise on the part of the Industry to accept and
train new graduates must be born of the financial insecurity being experienced by existing members
who might otherwise be more willing to accept the risk of employing and training new recruits. The
problem is compounded and exacerbated by resource constraints caused by the economic recession
being experienced particularly severely by the construction industry.

3 Research Methodology

The RICS Competencies (RICS, 2009) provides a comprehensive list of mandatory, core and optional
competencies for Quantity Surveyors. This research examines these competencies in the light of
current practice and future needs identifying where further improvements are needed. It is very crucial
to identify how these competencies relate to QS curricular used within UK university education
system. There are 43 RICS accredited QS programmes conducted within UK. These different
programmes use different curricular, approaches and fall within university quality assurance systems.
Their professional relevance is governed through RICS partnership agreements. However, there is no
detailed mapping of how RICS QS competencies are dealt within course delivery, and no requirement
to achieve particular levels of competency through undergraduate education. This research examines
these issues in detail in order to make recommendations. Four RICS accredited QS programmes were
taken as case studies to analyse the extent of mapping of these programmes to the RICS competencies.
The results of this analysis are presented in this paper.

Two detailed surveys are currently carried out, one to obtain views of the industry and the other
targeting academia. These will identify the views of each with respect to RICS QS competencies, and
the debate of “training vs education”. The web-based surveys will seek views from the academia
representing all universities delivering RICS accredited quantity surveying degree programmes. The
employer survey targets organisations from the private consultancy sector, public sector and
construction contractors. This research process enables to gather a reasonable amount of data even at a
lower response rate sufficient to carryout detailed statistical analysis.
A forum consisting of ten specialists were identified. These consisted of three academics, three
consulting QS , three contracting QS and one RICS official. A series of interviews were carried firstly
to identify key issues and subsequently these are used to verify the findings of the surveys. The
Content Analysis technique (Berelson, 1952) was used to extract key factors from the interviews while
Delphi technique (Rowe and Wright, 2001) will be utilised to harmonise the views from the interviews
and the findings of the surveys. The initial findings of the interviews are presented in this paper.

4 RICS Quantity Surveying Competencies


4.1 Development of Competencies

Ever since the move away from a series of Professional Examinations, Stages 1 to 3, into graduate
entry to the profession, the RICS has assessed the standard of its applicants through administering tests
of one form or another to determine candidates’ levels of professional competence as explained below:
a. In the 1970’s this took the form of a rigorous Test of Professional Competence (TPC) a 48
hour previously unseen practical multi-faceted simulated real time exercise set and issued by
the RICS but carried out by the candidate in their own workplace. No candidates were
interviewed except for borderline cases. This was very much a “hands-on” practical test of the
would-be surveyor’s skills in the workplace. The disadvantage for many candidates,
particularly those employed by contracting organisations, was that the Test, in all its parts,
tended to mirror the duties of a Client’s surveyor, rather than those of the Contractor’s.
b. In the early 1990’s the above gave way to the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC)
a test administered in a regional Test Centre. Here candidates were required to write an essay
of their choice from a set of previously unseen titles. They would have a set time to produce
their response, after which they would be questioned on this and other matters at an interview
by a Panel of Assessors. Again, the essay scenarios tended, in the main, to reflect the world of
Private Practice, rather than that of Contracting.
c. In the latest manifestation of the APC, instituted in the mid to late 90’s, the candidate must
now prepare a Critical Analysis – a written report centred on a particular project upon which
they have worked in practice and for which they have had responsibility during their
employment since graduating. At interview, at a Test Centre, candidates are required to
present a summary of this report and are also asked questions on it by a panel of Assessors.
The Panel goes on to question the candidate, to verify their attainment, or otherwise, of a
series of Professional Competencies set out in the RICS (2009) publication Requirements and
Competencies (latest edition July 2009).The type and level of experience required should be
driven more by the candidate’s work situation than by universal norms as used to be the case.
Whilst Professional Competencies only emerged during the 1990’s in the prescriptive and detailed
form for all three stages of the development of the Graduate Route. It required maintenance of a Diary
and Log Book by candidates. Candidates had to make diary entries against specific coded professional
skills, forerunners of today’s competencies. One element of their TPC/APC assessment would be the
Assessors’ judgement as to the degree of experience which candidates had picked up in these areas.
An even spread was required across the majority of areas and formulae were created, and issued to
Assessors, indicating acceptable degrees of attainment, chiefly in terms of the balance of time spent
across the range of required skills.
The current Professional Competencies forming the subjects of this research have grown out of the
above. They define a training which “seeks to assess that [the candidate is] competent to carry out the
work of a professionally qualified surveyor”. They are a mix of Mandatory, Core and Optional
competencies (RICS, 2009).
Mandatory Competencies: personal, interpersonal and business transferable skills common to all
routes and compulsory for all candidates. There are ten of these, thirteen for those seeking entry to the
profession via the senior professional route.
Core Competencies: primary skills of the candidates chosen faculty (in this case, QS and
Construction). These must be attained to maximum specified minimum levels. There are seven of
these.
Optional Competencies: selected by the candidate, additional skills relating to candidates chosen
specific route to qualification. This will usually be governed by the nature of the candidate’s
employment. A choice of two must be made from twelve possibilities.

4.2 Interpretation of Competencies

Each competence is expressed in between one and three levels, defined by the RICS as follows:
Level 1; demonstrating knowledge and understanding
Level 2; demonstrating the capacity to apply the above knowledge and understanding
Level 3; demonstrating the capacity to reasoned advice

There is variation between the level which must be achieved by candidates, depending upon whether
the competence in question is classified as Mandatory, Core or Option to complete APC. Mandatory
competencies must be achieved to at least level One, some higher. Core competencies, as one might
expect, must be achieved at level 3while Optional competencies must be achieved to at least level Two.

It is generally recognised that students undertaking the Graduate Route to qualification will achieve
Level 1 capability in areas on which they are engaged during their period of formal university-based
studies, as this consists of acquiring basic knowledge and some basic skills. These will, in most cases,
be possible during the first two years of a Full Time or Sandwich degree.
Capacity to apply the above, as suggested by Level 2, can be acquired, to a certain extent, through
work in class and involvement in university-based Project work during later years of a taught course.
It will more easily be acquired by Part Time students in appropriate employment and those in
Sandwich programmes fortunate enough to undergo an Industrial Placement.
It is unusual for a student on Industrial Placement to be put in positions of leadership or responsibility
in which they would be called upon to give conclusive advice, to clients. It may be that a Part Time
student, dependent upon age and length of time with a certain employer, may be in such a position.
This is not common however.
The research to date appears to bear out the above pattern, both in the type and level of university-
based study and the type and level of attainment expected by Employers. However, whether these are
explicitly considered at the time of design of courses is questionable. Furthermore, the understanding
by industry or academia of the level of competencies required of a new graduate is another factor in
doubt. This research aims to explore these aspects in the case studies analysed in the following section
and the interviews analysed in the section 6.

5 Competency Mapping Case Studies

QS programme curricular from 4 leading universities in QS education were obtained to carry out an
analysis mapping curricular to RICS competencies. These are presented as case studies A, B, C and D
in Table 1 below. In each case, the syllabus for each module was studied and a judgement formed as to
the mapping of competencies to curricular and to the degree of satisfaction of competencies. These
were applied to each module and to each of the respective three levels of competencies. The “scoring”
system used a scale of 0 to 1 indicating non satisfaction to full satisfaction. The scoring was applied as
follows: 0.25 where addressed at a partial level, progressing by 0.25 intervals until 1.00. For each
competence and at each level a total amassed, based on a number of scores relating to coverage by a
number of modules. Hence, if 6 modules on a degree programme each attracted a score of 0.5 at level
2 in respect of any one competence then the total for that competence would be 3 (Table 1). This is a
somewhat crude measure of satisfaction of competencies but does provide a tool for making
comparative analysis of different QS degree programmes as well as identifying levels of concentration
of competencies. The satisfaction ratings produced in Table 3 are still provisional as these have not yet
been verified through the individual programme coordinators as to the validity of rankings attached.
This approach will bring a consensus view of the satisfaction ratings and provide a reasonable degree
of cross programme comparison.
Table 1 Competency Mapping of QS Honours Degree programmes

LEVEL ONE LEVEL TWO LEVEL THREE


Competency Code Name A B C D A B C D A B C D

Mandatory M001 Accounting principles and


procedures 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mandatory M002 Business planning
0.00 2.25 0.75 0.75 1 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mandatory M003 Client care
1 0.75 1.25 1.00 0.00 0.0 0.50 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mandatory M004 Communication and negotiation
1 0.25 1.00 4.25 3.5 1.0 1.50 0.75 1 1.00 1.00 0.00
Mandatory M005 Conduct rules, ethics and
professional practice 0.75 1.50 1.00 2.00 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.25 0.00 0.00 1.00 0.00
Mandatory M006 Conflict avoidance, management
and dispute resolution procedures 0.00 0.00 4.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 2.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Mandatory M007 Data management


4.75 0.50 3 2.75 2 2.50 1.00 1.75 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.25
Mandatory M008 Health and safety
0.5 0.00 0.25 2.25 1 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mandatory M009 Sustainability
1 0.25 1.25 1.75 0.00 2.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mandatory M010 Team working
1.50 1.00 1.25 4.75 2.75 2.50 1.50 0.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T010 Commercial management of
construction 0.25 1.00 1.50 2.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T013 Construction technology and
environmental services 3.5 2.25 1.25 2.25 3 0.00 1.50 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Competency Code Name A B C D A B C D A B C D

Core T017 Contract practice


0.75 1.75 0.75 2.75 1 0.00 2.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T022 Design economics and cost
planning 1.25 1.25 2.50 1.50 1 0.75 1.25 0.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T062 Procurement tendering
0.5 0.50 0.50 1.75 1 1.00 2.50 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T067 Project financial control and
reporting 2 0.50 1.25 1.00 0.00 1.00 1.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Core T074 Quantification and costing of
construction works 0.5 1.00 1.75 3.00 2 0.00 2.50 0.75 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.00
Optional T008 Capital Allowances
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T016 Contract administration
1.25 1.50 2.00 1.75 1 0.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T020 Corporate recovery and
insolvency 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T025 Due diligence
0.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 3 1.75 1.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T045 Insurance
0.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T063 Programming and planning
0.5 0.75 1.00 1.00 1 2.25 1.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T066 Project Evaluation
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Optional T077 Risk management
0.00 0.50 0.00 0.75 0.00 1.75 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Generally, in terms of curricula and thus syllabi and learning outcomes, Modules of similar or related
nature appear evenly across all years developing each competence over time. Thus, successive
modules move the student onwards from modules in years 1 or 2 which impart basic knowledge and
certain core skills (as per Level 1 Competencies) through to modules in years 3 or 4 whose learning
objectives demonstrate the student (and thus the graduate’s) capacity for carrying out tasks
independently (as per Level 2 Competencies). Exceptionally, a student who undertakes an Industrial
Placement year may enhance their experience in certain skill areas. Such students may be thought to
have attained Level 2. The mapping provided in Table 1 does not consider placement as the level of
attainment of a competence at placement is variable upon the level of experience gained by the
individual than that of the nature of the programme the student is enrolled.

As noted, the progression to Level 2 is not uncommon, where Level 2 can be defined as demonstrating
the capacity to apply the knowledge and understanding (See Section 4.2). Perhaps this is not surprising
for, as was noted in Section 4, there is a general acceptance within the industry that a new graduate
will have achieved Level 2 or something near to this by the time that student leaves university (see
section 6.2.1. below).

Understandably Level 3 is unattainable in the majority of Competencies, given its definition in most
cases, involves demonstrating the capacity to give reasoned advice [to Clients] (See Section 4.2),
notwithstanding the possible exception of certain more mature and experienced students on
placements and similar individuals on Part Time modes. There are examples where students appear to
attain the higher level of competence, specifically in data collection and management, communication
and team-related skills areas. This is mainly due to the fact that it is possible for students to display
these competencies through Dissertation and Project work areas, especially in their Final Year.

Analysis of the satisfaction ratings (Table 1) indicates a significant variance between the extent(s) to
which different academic institutions meet the requirements of Option, Mandatory and even Core
Competencies. It can be seen that some institutions may not even cover all of the competencies.
Specifically in the case of Mandatory Competences, some are seen as too workplace-specific. For
example, mandatory competencies such as Client Care, Negotiation, Conduct Rules and ethics, are
difficult to simulate within a classroom environment. However, some institutions attempt to address
some of these issues through the adoption of a project-based delivery strategy. This may still surprise
the RICS, as they have recently laid increasing emphasis on universities teaching transferable skills
and enhancing employability.
Where gaps appear, perhaps schools are dependent on the staff strengths in particular professional
specialism and are thus selective in what they can/will offer. Data from the academic survey should
clarify the position. If certain universities are knowingly delivering a QS education that falls short, in
certain respects, of what the RICS might expect then this should be considered in the light of the
expectations of Partnerships agreements between such Institutions and the RICS.

Once the above data is verified by the respective programme leaders and the results from the
academics survey have been analysed it will be interesting to see how closely these initial impressions
are mirrored by what is actually happening out there.

6 Analysis of Views of the Expert Forum


The content analysis of the 10 interviews carried out is presented in this section. The interviews
comprised of 3 academics, 3 Private practice QS (PQS), 3 Commercial QS (CQS) and 1 RICS
representative.

6.1 Role of Quantity Surveyor


The interviewees were requested to provide views on the present and future role of the QS. With
respect to the present role of the QS they generally agreed that the role centred on cost advice,
estimating, and measurement. One academic noted that it differed from a contractor’s surveyor to
consultant’s surveyors though others did not stress the difference. There was some disagreement as to
the development of the role of the QS. One PQS noted the role had not changed much whereas one
CQS noted it had changed a lot. There was a strong feeling that the role would become more complex,
taking more concepts such as sustainability and whole life costing into account. 1 PQS stated “We are
looking at the whole life cycle (WLC) of the facility and its use in a wider context”. The importance of
WLC was noted by 2 respondents, 1 CQS and 1 PQS. Two respondents (PQS & CQS) suggested that
the name QS should change to reflect the function more accurately on the lines of Cost Manager or
Cost Engineer. The name change is indicative of observations by other respondents that the difference
between PQS and CQS is narrowing and the two roles are merging. The respondents in general
indicated the need to up skill the QS knowledge base in use of ICT and its impact on the profession.
They also agreed that collaboration and team working should be a more important skill to develop.
Sustainability and project management skills were seen as areas for further development while civil
engineering construction, infrastructure development and mechanical and electrical (energy related)
projects were seen as growth sectors for the future.
One PQS was of the view that there is potential for procurement to revert back to more traditional
methods due to economic pressures. This could be seen as an important possibility that further
enhances the cost control role of the QS.

6.2 Quantity Surveying Competencies

The RICS QS competencies provide the basis on which a quantity surveyor will be judged capable to
act as an independent professionally qualified chartered surveyor. The respondents were first asked to
consider the competencies in general. The RICS representative noted that there are more prescribed
core competencies for QS than for any other pathway. This was however to be combined with the
understanding that not every competence need be met by the universities and that the RICS welcomed
diversity to reflect the individual strengths of each. Industry CQS respondents noted that the
competencies were relevant and “do adequately describe what we want”.

6.2.1 Expected level of competency for graduate quantity surveyors

Most respondents agree that a Level 1 competence relates to attaining knowledge which could be
expected from graduate QS. Some academics foresee students progressing beyond Level 1 to attain a
portion of Level 2 competencies through practical experience gained from project based work while
part time students and placement students will also be able to progress beyond Level 1. However, one
PQS stated that they would expect graduates to have attained Level 2 in both Mandatory and Core
competencies. This indicates that there is differing interpretation of competencies and the graduate’s
likely level of attainment.

One PQS expressed the view that “contracts are now more important as this forces cost control, it is a
rapidly developing area and students are not up to speed”. This indicates a tension between trying to
cover all the competencies to a particular level and placing certain emphases on areas that are
considered more important. This tension is seen later on in other parts of the discussion and shows that
with different expectations from various sections of the industry that universities cannot be all things
to all people. The RICS representative echoes this, stating that when a course is considered RICS will
be looking at how it maps onto the technical competencies they will be looking more at the core
competencies.

Three respondents (1 academic, 1 PQS, 1 RICS) commenting on the mandatory skills agreed that these
were general competencies covering transferable or softer skills.. One academic noted that they did not
have a specific module to cover these skills but that the student picks these up as they progress through
the course. Three respondents (2 academics, 1 PQS) stated that core competencies largely define the
primary role of the QS With respect to Optional Competencies, one academic noted that these should
allow for flexibility or to pick up on diversification and one PQS noted that candidates should
understand what the competencies cover but they should not bend their experience to fit the
competency, a practice he purported as wide-spread.

When queried about possible additional competencies, three respondents (1PQS, 1RICS and 1CQS)
identified sustainability, business management and planning, accounting, communication (language,
report writing and team working), new building technologies, pre-fabrication, civil and infrastructure
engineering, life cycle costing as possible additional competencies. Some of these are already covered
in some competencies. Since competencies do not give lengthy descriptions of content, these are open
for interpretation.

4 respondents (3CQS, 1PQS) noted that there were areas that were not given enough attention or that
the students had poor knowledge of; valuation (1), measurement (1), building contracts (1),
construction technology (2), M and E services (1), environmental services (1), team working (1), and
data management (1).

3 respondents (2 academic, 1 CQS) were happy with the coverage and felt that there should be no new
additions to the competencies/skills. One PQS stated that contract administration is listed as optional
but felt that it should be core. No respondents felt that there was any obsolete content taught.

One PQS felt that some courses do not deliver what employers want and one academic stated
“students are going out without the necessary skills to undertake their basic job and that is where
employees feel that the universities are letting the system down”. This being said the general view was
that it is not easy to generalise and some courses are better than others and also it is down to other
factors such as the student, mode of study, and employer.

6.3 QS Education System


Six respondents shared their views on the present nature QS education (1 RICS, 2 academic, 2 PQS, 3
CQS). As class sizes get bigger to make courses more economically viable the ability of tutors to
spend more contact time and give more feedback will be compromised by the numbers of students
they have to work with.

One PQS expressed the view that there was too much mass teaching, with a mismatch where the
learning outcome does not map to the industry requirement and also felt that some lecturers need to
update their knowledge so that the graduates should be the ones with the knowledge on the latest
techniques. The respondent did however note that it was not possible to make generalisations and there
were differences between universities and individual lecturers. One PQS also felt that RICS had less
than adequate involvement in regulating curricular while another CQS felt that although there are so
many RICS accredited programmes they were not comparable in most respects.

The academic curricular content was commented on by 5 respondents (1 academic, 1PQS, 3 CQS).
The academic noted that they were able to cover a lot of the core competencies in a 4 year degree and
that they could map modules that they teach to the core competencies. 2 respondents (1PQS, 1CQS)
stated that the coverage was pretty good in general terms. However, the industry respondents felt that
it was difficult to map modules taught at universities to RICS competencies.

On the aspects of curricular development 5 interviewees responded. Two identified measurement as an


area that needs greater attention (1 CQS, 1 PQS). Other areas identified include taxation (CQS),
understanding building technology and construction (CQS), bill of quantities (PQS), cost planning,
preconstruction estimating (CQS) while there was an overemphasis on management of projects
(1PQS, 1CQS).The aspect that caused most concern for one PQS was that graduates had a poor
understanding about construction technology and no real understanding of on-site conditions.
Reflecting on these views it is clear that there is greater attention needed on some core areas of
quantity surveying. But if so, the academics will be faced with the dilemma of identifying which areas
to forego in lieu of areas of expansion.

Two respondents (1PQS, 1CQS) commented that there is a reasonable level of employer engagement
with the universities. However, the level and extent of engagement is one aspect that requires further
exploration.

All 10 interviewees had contributions to make concerning their views on placement. This was
unanimously seen as a positive, if not crucial thing for a student to have. The experience the student
gains from having practical experience cannot be replicated in any other way. The current economic
situation is having a negative impact on the availability of placements.

The majority of respondents (9) stated that Part time students were far better and rounded than full
time students, though this was usually in respect of their dedication to work and approach to the job.

6.4 RICS-Industry-Academic Institution communication

The level of communication and the respondents’ perception was analysed with respect to RICS
Partnerships for programme accreditation, RICS and Universities, RICS and Industry communication,
Industry and universities communication.

The RICS partnership process was seen as facilitating greater discussion but that most
communications still came down to personal relationships. One academic saw the accreditation
partnership as a way to understand how the course is being assessed “so that students come out with
the ability to be Quantity Surveyors”. These indicate the primary role of the RICS partnership
agreement as regulating RICS accredited programmes. However, the level and detail of regulation
was criticised. One PQS felt that there was a conflict of interest in the RICS education board if there
were academics on the board and this led to them influencing the decisions. But, this is questionable as
the role of education board is not necessarily to project the view of industry alone. A balanced
representation perhaps might be useful. Lack of consultation with the professional group was also
noted adding that RICS communication with industry was not good. One CQS did not know about the
partnership arrangements. Another felt that there was a real inertia around working out solutions to
problems that were identified. There was recognition of the difficulty involved in getting all three
parties around the table and keeping the lines of communication open.

With specific reference to the communication between RICS and universities 4 respondents (2
academic, 1 CQS, 1 PQS) made contributions. The 2 academics noted that they had a good rapport
with the RICS. The CQS did not know about this while the PQS thought that some had good
communication with RICS and others did not.

The general consensus with respect to communications between RICS and industry was that it is in
need of much improvement, although it is beginning to move in the right direction. There is a need for
increase in regional and local level of involvement (2 academic), fees scales need to be more realistic
(1PQS), and RICS needs to be more in touch with leading edge work (1PQS). Three respondents (1
PQS, 2 CQS) did not really have any contact with RICS through their role in the company with one
commenting that RICS has lost its focus on members and become a business instead of an institution
(CQS).

The communication between universities and industry were generally seen to be reasonable although it
was added that universities try the hardest and industry needs to be better at communication. The state
of the economy was seen as a factor that influences level of communication (1 academic). Greater
involvement of the industry as a stakeholder in the development of programmes, face to face industry
consultation and industry taking programme development and contributions as part of their corporate
social responsibility were seen as steps that can be used to improve the situation.

6.5 RICS Membership path ways

The RICS recently revised their membership pathways. Accordingly, two interviewees (1PQS, 1CQS)
stated that they are not familiar with the new routes of membership other than the graduate route. A
total of seven (1 RICS, 2 academic, 2 PQS, 2 CQS) expressed that they are happy with the graduate
route of membership. One CQS did note that it was sometimes hard to push graduates into becoming
chartered, suggesting that this was due to a combination of fees and not seeing any advantage in
becoming chartered. Another problem that exists is that more specialised contractors did not give the
graduate a wide enough experience in some competencies (1 academic, 1 RICS).
The new associate pathway was stressed as not being a shortcut to becoming chartered surveyor by the
RICS representative. One academic said that it was a nice idea but did not see its relevance and felt
that it was not clear enough where the cut off point was between the two levels while another
expressed some reservations. One PQS felt that it may lead to people aiming for a minimum standard
and that ASSOC RICS is not good enough to be recognised. 1 CQS noted that it was helpful to people
who don’t have degrees but to then progress to MRICS or FRICS was a very convoluted route.
Another CQS said their company had looked at this route but gone back to the graduate route. These
sentiments suggest there is lack of understanding about the new route as well as some doubt as for the
need for this new route.

There was a mixed response to the new senior professional route. 3 respondents stated that they were
not happy with this route. 1 academic viewed it as a rubber stamping exercise. One CQS said “my
main problem with that route is that it doesn’t test technical competence”. One PQS did not think that
people should just be given MRICS for their long experience and although it provides an opportunity
to get practitioners into mainstream RICS, they should still fit the APC model and competencies. One
academic warned that the RICS have to be careful not to be seen as an institution desperate to get new
members in. On the positive side 1 PQS noted that it was good and had worked well for them, adding
that the CIOB are doing the same thing.

The RICS representative noted that unless the company has signed up to the structured training
programme they should not take on a graduate for APC. Three respondents (2 CQS, 1 PQS) stated that
they did have a structured training programme. One PQS noted that there were very low completion
rates for the APC and felt that this was due to very poor levels of basic knowledge and that there were
big gaps between what is learnt at university and what is needed to get chartered. The possible reasons
for this were seen as employers not seeing it as important and that they lack a structured training
programme. It was also noted that it is difficult to provide all the training in three years. Smaller
companies often struggle as they do not have the volume or frequency of work types to enable them to
have a smooth training process. One PQS was highly critical of the APC process itself, stating that it is
a daunting process that makes candidates unduly nervous. The RICS process compares with the CIOB
less favourably as the CIOB process is friendlier and they help you to get through it.

6.6 Education Vs Training

All 10 respondents considered what a university should provide with regards to QS education. They
were requested to respond to:
a. Provide an overall academic knowledge and a good foundation in Quantity Surveying, or
b. Concentrate on training students for direct QS employment.

6 respondents agreed with statement a (2 PQS, 1 CQS, 1 RICS, 2 academics). 2 respondents agreed
with statement b (1 PQS, 1CQS). 1 CQS felt that it should be a bit of both, a balance of academia with
vocational on a 50/50 basis. One academic was undecided. One CQS stated that over the last 30 years
they have seen the quality of technical Quantity Surveying become diluted and warned that if the trend
continues we would lose technical standards forever.

In overall terms most wished to see a sound academic background for the graduate quantity surveyors
but did not want to see any compromise on the level of knowledge. They also seem to expect
improved technical competence in graduates going to the industry.

7 Conclusions

This paper provides an account of the development of quantity surveying education from its roots to
present day university based education. The paper presents a set of interim findings of a detailed
research project that aims at developing a frame work for constructive alignment of industry, academia
and professional body in quantity surveying education. The graduate route is the main pathway to
become a chartered quantity surveyor in the RICS. However, there is an increasing discontent from
industry at the level of competence of graduates. This research investigates this issue by first analysing
the quantity surveying programme curricular of four leading QS programmes spread across UK. It
maps the curricular to RICS competencies and attempts to provide a level of satisfaction ranking to
indicate relative levels of satisfaction of competencies through the programme content. Subject to the
limitations of this analysis (discussed in section 5) it can be concluded that some programmes do not
meet some RICS core competencies at even Level 1. The analysis and the interpretation of
competencies also reveal that there is no clear prescribed level of expectation of level of achievement
of competencies by graduates. This is at present open to interpretation as both academia and industry
interpret completely different expected levels of satisfaction of competencies. This in itself is a source
of friction and dissatisfaction both on the part of industry and academia. It begs the question that if
there is no bench mark to say that graduate quantity surveyor should have achieved different
competencies at a certain level then it is open for interpretation and one would naturally have to expect
different standards.

The research also involved a detailed structured interview of a forum established as experts. The
forum consisting of industry practitioners, academics and RICS representatives provided vital
information and perceptions as to the different angles of this problem. The issue of non availability of
a benchmark standard to interpret the level of satisfaction of competencies by graduates was further
confirmed by the interviewees. There was discontent with the role of RICS in QS education as well as
their communication and engagement strategies. There was also a good deal of satisfaction expressed
(specifically by academics) on the RICS partnership process in accreditation of programmes.
However, this is not to say that there is no scope to improve.

The research is not conclusive as there are two ongoing surveys that will provide a vital insight in to
the views of both industry and academia. Further ongoing research will produce an overview of the
perceptions related to QS education and provide a platform for re-direction and re-shape of the QS
education system.

Acknowledgments

Authors wish to acknowledge programme leaders who provided detailed programme information for
case studies and RICS officials who helped in numerous ways. A special acknowledgement for both
Mr Keith Hogg and Professor David Greenwood of Northumbria University for their continued
support for the project.

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