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The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors

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Quantity Surveyors, project managers, cost engineers or anybody interested in the construction industry and built environment should find really useful information on this large web site dedicated to the quantity surveying profession in South Africa. Our Events Calendar lists seminars and events for quantity surveyors, cost engineers, project managers and other role players in the construction industry. Visit our online store to purchase contracts, documents, apparel and software or take time out to catch up on the latest "News". Browse around... we hope you enjoy your stay! Welcome. We're glad you're here.


QS Association: changing irregular expenditure by changing the watchdog

The report of irregular expenditure on the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Brandfort home is concerning, but commonplace. The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) says this will only change if the right mix of professionals are appointed at the tender phase of infrastructure projects.

Fruitles expenditureThe report by News24 states that “the quantity surveyor's report found fruitless expenditure of R593 622 "with regard to the Winnie Mandela House Project".”

“The appointment of a Quantity Surveyor to calculate and oversee projects should not be an afterthought when budget allows,” warns Larry Feinberg, Executive Director of the ASAQS. “We strongly recommend that the appointment of a Professional Quantity Surveyor becomes part of the legislated tender process.”

A Quantity Surveyor (QS) is best placed to identify deviations from original tenders in terms of both scope and pricing. As such, they act as the client’s watchdog. In the case of public projects, the client is ultimately the taxpayer.

One of the key issues in any public project is to ensure that the tender is awarded to the right contractor at the right price. The training undertaken by Quantity Surveyors allows them to manage the financial and legal processes of a project.

“Professional QSs are also bound by a code of conduct,” explains Feinberg. “If they are found to have contravened the code, they will lose their licence to practice as a QS.

New free resource

The ASAQS is making available a free presentation that can be used (especially by the public sector) to detail the key values that quantity surveyors can bring to infrastructure projects.

The presentation is available here.

Quote of the week

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

Walt Disney

A brief history of the standard system of measurement in South Africa

The development of standard systems of measurement in South Africa took place over many years.

T. Moore recorded the period in our history between 1905 and 1928 in his book "A brief History of Quantity Surveying Institutions in South Africa" which was published in 1929. In it, mention is made of the first published standard system in South Africa.

1906 Standard System"Some time prior to the founding of the Transvaal Society of Quantity Surveyors there had been negotiations between The Transvaal Colony Building Trades Employers ' Federation and T. Moore, Chief Quantity Surveyor, Transvaal Public Works Department, with reference to the preparation of a standard system of measurement. Subsequently at a meeting held in September, 1905, under the Presidency of C.W. Giovanetti (now C.B.E., M.L.A.) , the draft suggestion prepared by T. Moore was considered and the general principles adopted.

The Transvaal Society of Quantity Surveyors later took over the Standard System, and, in 1906, revised and published it (a small green covered book), and it continued in use until 1913."

Further editions followed sporadically that had a progressive tendency of prescribing more and more detail to be included in bills of quantities culminating in the revised fifth edition published in 1985. The committee responsible for drafting the sixth edition reversed this tendency by simplifying the Standard System as it was considered not worthwhile to spend so much time on the preparation of unnecessary comprehensive bills of quantities prescribing that quantity surveyors measure almost all material and labour to the finest detail. The sixth edition was published in 1991 followed by revisions thereto in 1999 and 2013. The 2013 revision was the first to introduce a tabulated format but did not change any of the principles of the 1999 revision apart from rectifying a few obvious errors.

The seventh edition followed soon thereafter, taking into consideration international tendencies, and with the expectation that this latest edition may also be used by countries registered with the Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS) thereby adopting a common set of rules for the measurement of building works as result of more and more work being procured across borders by contractors and professional consultants.*

* Taken from the introduction to the Standard System of Measuring Building Work Seventh Edition Illustrated and Explained now available in our Web Shop

Announcing the ASAQS Elemental Class system

The ASAQS Elemental classification ver. 1 file is developed for Architects when organizing or tagging elements and objects for construction requirements, products, and activities. This version is the most significant step forward for BIM standardization for construction projects in Africa.

The ASAQS Elemental classification was developed by the BIM Institute in partnership with ASAQS and endorsed by South African Institute for Architects (SAIA).

ASAQS Elemental classification is intended to address specification requirements through the entire phases of construction on a project.

The Numbers and Titles are structured in accordance with the ASAQS Guide to Elemental Cost Estimating 2016 and version 1 is anticipated to grow and expand in the future.

Classification has been used in the construction world for many years, often without the users knowing it. For example, many architects would recognise that a section element tag called ‘09640’ in their specification dealt with ‘Wooden Floors’. This came from a classification system called Revit Keynote – Metric which comes standard with Revit when tagging elements. This classification structure is useless to any other discipline on a project and cannot be defined for measuring purposes when drafting a Bills of Quantity.

Click here to read on

How will the VAT increase affect our recent purchase of property?

"My husband and I found our dream home through an estate agent, and signed the sale of property agreement on 01 March 2018, a mere month before the new VAT rate came into play. The property, however, only registered in our name after 01 April 2018. What VAT rate is applicable?"

As a point of departure, let us assume that transfer duty is not applicable to this transaction. Instead, the purchaser is liable to pay VAT on the purchase price.

On 22 February 2018, the Minister of Finance announced that the VAT was to increase from 14% to 15% as from 01 April 2018. From now on, vendors and consumers will be responsible to pay an extra 1% on VAT, including, in some instances, on immovable property.

Click here to read the answer and find out how estate agents should charge VAT on their services

ED Message - The ASAQS promise: investing in your skills, the future, and the QS profession

It seems as if everyone I speak to experienced the first quarter of this year at breakneck speed. One of the best ways to gain a sense of control during a time like this is to keep the focus on the core purpose of everything you’re involved in.

The core purpose of the ASAQS is to be an education, resource and knowledge sharingLarry Feinberg association. It also acts as steward of the Cost, Financial & Contractual aspects of the Building and Construction environment, advocating for the livelihood and business interests of the Quantity Surveying Profession, and in doing so, contributing to the socio-economic future of South Africa.

This vision guides our Key Strategic Objectives, our activities, and our priorities.

Investing in your skills

The ASAQS has invested in a variety of upgrades to the EduTech training centre and the renovations are now almost complete. Located at the ASAQS head office in Midrand, the bespoke facilities lend itself towards the type of higher education, knowledge sharing and training that has become a crucial backbone of the built environment.

The facilities can accommodate a maximum of 45 people and it’s important for our members to know that it is as much their facility as ours. Members can book the facility for CDP training, workshops, a board meeting, or a function. Not only does the training centre come with state-of-the-art facilities, but it’s backed with the support structure of catering, presenters, and all of the smaller details that go into executing a successful event.

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FIDIC to the fore

We recently announced a new arrow in the quiver of our member firms, the addition of model documents for use with the FIDIC Red Book (1999 Edition). These documents have been compiled to assist our member firms who work in Africa or are engaged on building contracts where the Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils (FIDIC) contract is used.

The documents comprise the Model tender/contract document for FIDIC Red Book (1999 Edition) dated October 2017 and the FIDIC Red Book Model Bill No. 1 (1999 Edition) dated October 2017. Both documents were produced as a joint initiative by the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) and the Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS). The model tender/contract document is generic for use with any method of measurement, model bill or specification. The Model Bill No. 1 has been prepared for use with building works.

The General Preambles for Trades 2017 published by the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors is designed to support and extend the abbreviated descriptions utilised in this Bill of Quantities by inter alia referring to SANS construction standards. Where such model preambles are not applicable (eg where BS or Euro construction standards are applicable or the design consultants provide other preambles/specifications for insertion), users are to ensure that the abbreviated descriptions when read in conjunction with the Standard System of Measuring Building Work (seventh edition) for works within South Africa or the Standard Method of Measuring Building Work for Africa 2015 (first edition) for works elsewhere in Africa, represent the full description by extending the abbreviated Bill of Quantities descriptions and/or by inserting appropriate preambles or specifications.

User notes guide the member in the use and application of these documents.

Member firms should be signed in on their firm-profile to access these documents from the Firm’s Only Resources section of our website.

Alusani® Course Leader discusses how new time barring rules impact dispute resolution in building projects

While many people in the built environment have a working knowledge of the legal and contractual information to FIDIC, the new changes to the Red and Yellow books makes it crucial for people to invest time in understanding the fine-print contractual details. Cameron Staude, Alusani® Course Leader, says that the updated version – which was released in December 2017 - contain heavily revised claims and dispute resolution provisions that can help contractors avoid expensive legal disputes when understood correctly.

“The new claims and disputes process is arguably the biggest change to the FIDIC suite of contracts. There is now an increased number of deeming provisions as well as time-bar clauses. Contractors who are engaged in any type of public or private construction projects will need to empower themselves with a solid understanding of the new provisions and clauses,” says Staude.

Click here to read on

CBE Bulletin - March 2018

The CBE does a scan of the built environment for this issue and mention the appointment of Minister TW Nxesi as the Minister of Public Works. The CBE congratulates Minister Nxesi on his appointment and extends a warm welcome to him back in the fold of the built environment sector. In this issue, they throw some light on his career.

The feature article is contributed by CBE Council member, Mr RG Sefotlho and it dwells on Disability Rights versus Equity Standards. We also introduce you to CBE newling, Mr Mokgema Mongane, who came on board as Chief Operations Officer (COO) on 01 March 2018.

Click here to download and read the issue

Free resources

Readers are invited to explore our ever-growing collection of free resources.

These can be found by visiting the Free resources section listed under Resources on our menu-bar and include several free publications.

Have you missed something? Browse to the News section!

Think you may have missed something browse to our news section, it might still be there.

New courses added to GoLearning

In order to assist you we have added numerous new courses to GoLearning and will continue to add new courseware during the year.

Efficient - available 24/7 - do CPD when it suits you
Affordable - at a fraction of the cost of a seminar
Targeted - do courses according to your needs

Eat into your CPD requirements with GoLearning by clicking here.

  Weekend Property & Construction News


In order to assist members to plan their diaries this year in terms of forthcoming congresses and conferences they may wish to attend, we publish the preliminary dates of some of these congresses for your attention:

WCPDF Conference – 10 – 11 MAY 2018

Western Cape Property Development Forum’s Annual Conference entitled “Growing Africa’s Premier Destination through Property Development,” taking place between the 10 to 11 May 2018. 

For further details please refer to the web link hereunder.  The conference content is high quality and very relevant and the event is well attended by industry and comes highly recommended.

The African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo taking place 16 & 17 May 2018
Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg
RICS African Summit 30-31 May Sandton City

Register today:-

Cape Construction Expo taking place 12 & 13 September 2018
Sun Parks, Grand West, Cape Town

ICEC-PAQS World Congress 18-20 November, 2018
Sydney, Australia at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre.

Grassroots to Concrete Jungle: Dynamics in the Built Environment

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Submission Deadline: Monday 30 April 2018


What you get: :Banner adverts on the ASAQS website (over 1,000,000 hits/month on average!) A Mini-ad on the ASAQS website and on the Weekend Property and Construction News (over 5,300 subscribers) Preferential exposure of your products and services Targeted marketing at only R484.50 (inclusive) per month
Don't wait, we only have a limited number of slots left.

Contact Bert van den Heever the ASAQS Webmaster


While the ASAQS aims to ensure that its publications represent best practice, the ASAQS does not accept or assume any liability or responsibility for any events or consequences thereof that derive from the use of documents or any other materials, software or resources as they are only intended to provide general guidance to those who wish to make use of it. Such publications, software or resources are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied including but without limitation to warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.