AS 2014 Volume 21 Issue 1

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Discounting of quantity surveying fees in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Claasen, Rudolph; Cumberlege, Roy
    English: The discounting of professional fees has become a cause for concern among South African Quantity Surveying practitioners. These discounts are often 30% to 40% and, in some cases, substantially below the Tariff of Professional Fees published by the South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP). The firms which offer these excessively high discounts may be pricing their services well below their in-house operational costs which, with the quality of their professional services, eventually become unsustainable. A quantitative approach was used to conduct a research study to determine the effect of discounting of fees on the Quantity Surveying profession. The data was obtained by circulating a structured web-based questionnaire to registered professional Quantity Surveying firms in all nine provinces in South Africa. Results indicated that when Quantity Surveyors discount their fees, this impacts negatively on the quality of their professional services. Respondents further recommended that there should be some form of regulation regarding the discounting of fees, while others suggested that the current SACQSP recommended fee scale be replaced by the re-introduction of a statutory minimum fee scale which was applied prior to 1988. The findings arising from this research could support potential efforts by the SACQSP to resolve issues regarding this practice and serve to raise awareness among Quantity Surveying practitioners of the dangers inherent in, and resulting negative consequences of discounting their fees.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The carbon footprint and embodied energy of construction material: a comparative analysis of South African BRT stations
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Hugo, Jan; Barker, Arthur; Stoffberg, Hennie
    English: This article describes strategic design decisions that architects can make during the initial stages of a project to minimise the use of construction materials, reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. A proposed prototypical Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station Switch is used as a case study. The investigation focuses on minimising the use of construction materials through an iterative design and assessment process. This article extends an earlier study which analysed existing BRT stations in South Africa by conducting comparative life-cycle analyses (LCA). The earlier study by Hugo, Stoffberg & Barker (2012) identified a series of guidelines to inform the design of low-carbon and embodied energy BRT stations and determined a specific station, the MyCiti station, as the most efficient in terms of its carbon footprint and embodied energy intensity. As a result, the MyCiti station was identified as benchmark for future LCAs of station designs. The Switch prototypical BRT station is purpose designed for the Tshwane1 context and uses the identified guidelines (Hugo, Stoffberg & Barker, 2012) as well as carbon footprint (CF) and embodied energy (EE) of construction systems and materials as design informants generated from a study conducted by Jones (2011b). These informed material choices, use of low-carbon structural systems and integration of multifunctional station components. A cradle-to-gate2 life-cycle assessment compares the CF and EE of the Switch station and an existing South African precedent, the MyCiti station in Cape Town. The Switch station is 35% and 34% (4.08 GJ/m2 & 378.6kgCO2/m2 vs 6.28 GJ/m2 & 574.7kgCO2/m2) more efficient than the existing MyCiti station, in terms of respective embodied energy intensity and carbon-footprint intensity. This prototype is proposed as a benchmark for prospective life-cycle analyses to inform the material choice and design of future BRT stations in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Model for setting priority construction project objectives aligned with monetary incentives
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Ndihokubwayo, Ruben; Crafford, Gerrit; Buys, Fanie
    English: A comprehensive model based on priority project objectives aligned with monetary incentives, and agreed upon by built environment stakeholders was developed. A web survey was adopted to send out a questionnaire to nationwide participants, including contractors, quantity surveyors, project managers, architects, and consulting engineers, requesting them to base their responses on a specific construction project in which they have been involved. The development of the model consists of the combination of results from inferential statistics analyses of 7-point Likert scale questions in three aspects, namely motivational factors (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis), monetary incentives (T-test and ANOVA), and project objectives aligned with monetary incentives (Principal Component Analysis). In total, 164 respondents participated in the survey. The findings revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between demographic groups (gender, age, qualification, experience) of respondents in the importance of motivational factors and monetary incentives. However, a significant difference was found in self-development needs and team working environment where, respectively, the younger age generation displayed more desire towards professional registration, while the older age generation did not favour the mix of skills and experience into the project. It was revealed that the provision of work opportunities to Small, Micro- and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), and Health (HIV/AIDS) and Safety should be prioritised when offering monetary incentives. An understanding of the importance of monetary incentives offered towards achieving project objectives will create conducive procurement environment handling the personnel allocated to construction projects meeting their performance requirements.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The effects of climatic conditions on attitudinal changes towards earth construction in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Bosman, Gerhard; Van der Westhuizen, Diaan
    English: Earth construction is an appropriate method for building houses in arid and semi-arid areas in South Africa due to its low environmental impact and responsible use of on-site resources. A South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) project conducted by the University of the Free State’s Earth Unit focused on attitudes and perceptions towards building materials used to construct houses in poor communities. For this article, quantitative attitudinal responses from the SANPAD survey and objective rainfall and temperature measurements were analysed for the 2004 dry season before rainstorms (n=784) and for the 2006 wetter season during/ after rainstorms (n=609). Using a quasi-experimental research design, the study investigates changes in attitudes after rainstorms in relation to respondents’ preferred building materials, preferred qualities of materials, and reasons for disliking earth materials. This article reports on the results of an investigation into the effects of local climatic conditions on changes in the acceptability of building materials with a focus on earth construction. Results indicate that rainfall reinforces and intensifies people’s disapproval of earth as a building material and shift perceptions from aesthetic considerations to strength/safety/ durability. Severity of rainstorms and extreme temperatures also seem to shape people’s perceptions of materials. Perceptions of earth bricks were more negative after the storms and people became more concerned about rain. Findings suggest a link between climatic conditions and perceptions of earth constructed buildings. An understanding of the present attitudes towards earth construction is necessary in order to support traditional earth construction as an acceptable way forward in contemporary architecture.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Incentive issues in the South African construction industry: Preliminary findings from project stakeholders
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Ogwueleka, Amaka; Maritz, Tinus
    English: Incentives are regarded as motivational tools which can be used to propel construction workforces to achieve project objectives. This article contributes to the existing body of knowledge by evaluating the current practices of incentive mechanisms in the South African construction industry and identifying the challenges confronting the use of incentives. The study adopts both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection. For the quantitative approach, a total number of 52 project stakeholders practising in Gauteng participated in the survey by completing the structured questionnaire. The questionnaire survey is used to obtain information from respondents, in order to assess their perceptions on the impact of current practices of incentives on work productivity and the construction industry. For the qualitative approach, personal interviews were conducted with selected respondents to clarify their answers. The findings reveal ‘unattainable project goals’, ‘poor communication processes’, and ‘inappropriate contractual arrangement’ as the most significant challenges confronting the use of incentives in the South African construction industry. The findings reported in this article show problems frustrating the absolute absorption of incentives in the industry, and also contribute to redesigning the incentive plan so as to improve project performance.