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QS in the News May 2021



[1] The dark horse of quantity surveying can reduce embodied carbon and cost at the same time. Quantity surveyors know the cost of every screw and nail going into a building for the purpose of minimising the use of expensive materials. Now imagine if this same scrutiny was also applied to the embodied carbon content of each building material. Recognising the unique position of quantity surveyors to simultaneously strip embodied carbon and cost from a building, last year researchers from UNSW, the CRC for Low Carbon Living and Multiplex set out to work out if embodied carbon could be inserted into the value engineering process. The goal, according to Oldfield, was to discover if structural tweaks could reduce both costs and embodied carbon without forcing architects to go back to the drawing board on their designs. The finding? Changes to the structure of the building can indeed cut both embodied carbon and costs simultaneously. Unsurprisingly, the mass timber option was the most carbon efficient system, seeing a 13 per cent drop in embodied carbon (or as much as 45 per cent if carbon sequestration is considered) and a 5 per cent reduction in capital costs. The best preforming structure for cost was the flat slab, which slashed embodied carbon by 6 per cent and costs by 15 per cent. Australia. [NZBE Link]


[2] Bent building boss and crooked contractor ordered to pay back £1.2m of their ill-gotten gains. In one of the biggest payback orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act ever made in the North East, greedy David Ager and Neil Dunningham have been stripped of their assets. Ager was earning a decent wage as a quantity surveyor for Sir Robert McAlpine when, in a series of complex frauds, he siphoned off huge sums to line his own pockets and that of contractor Dunningham, who was in on the scam. Ager, 38, who admitted a series of money laundering offences, was locked up for three years at Newcastle Crown Court in 2017 while Dunningham, 51, was given 30 months. Ager, who benefited to the tune of £1,424,480.80 was previously ordered to pay back £402,659. Now Dunningham, who made £1,015,363.97, has been told he must cough up £800,000 or face another six years in jail. UK. [NZBE Link]


[3] There was heartbreak, tears and anger on the steps of Parliament as New Zealand's split family migrant community shared stories of how the border rules affected their lives. Iresha Wijetunga arrived from Sri Lanka in February last year, with dreams of a better life with her husband and two young children. The quantity surveyor gained the appropriate visa, but the paperwork for her husband and children took a bit longer. They were approved at the beginning of March 2020 but by the time they were ready to leave, New Zealand had shut its border. [NZBE Link]


[4] Canada, in BC the City of West Kelowna is being sued over developer fees. Around Nov. 22, 2018, the city told Ironclad it needed to pay a “latecomer fee,” which a civil engineer estimated to be $397,796.69. Around May 5, 2020, the city gave Ironclad a notice stating that the latecomer fee was actually $962,851.22. A day later, Ironclad disputed the costs and requested copies of the documentation so they can investigate. After months of ignoring Ironclad’s requests to review relevant information and to make submissions, the city simply gave notice to Ironclad that it had delegated the matter to a quantity surveyor,” the lawsuit says. The city would accept that surveyor’s conclusions and imposed the fee on Ironclad while tying its payment to the occupancy permit for the project’s first building. By November, the city had the matter reviewed by a quantity surveyor. The surveyor said the latecomer fee for Ironclad actually stood at $749,660.40. “Ironclad submits that the process by which the city made the decision — including without input from the only latecomer and in absence of review by an independent third party engineer — was unreasonable,” the lawsuit claims. The company is seeking an order that the $749,000 latecomer fee be returned and that the city reconsider the charge and explain its decision in writing with documentation. [NZBE Link1] [NZBE Link2]


[5] Lancashire nostalgia in 1976: For the love of Boddingtons! Quantity Surveyor Ian ‘Lou’ Clarkson is something of an expert on the birds and the bees. And Lou and his bird like sharing things - particularly a quiet drink together. But the bird isn’t all you might think - it’s a budgie named Bod. And the feathered quaffer is just one example of Lou’s love for a special Lancashire-brewed beer. He’s had the brewery emblem tattooed on his arm! His wife, Jane, wasn’t too keen, however. She even refused to speak to him for a week after got the skinful (of ink). But Lou was not to be deterred. “The budgie liked it,” he said. “Now I’m trying to teach him to whisper ‘Boddingtons’ to me. UK [NZBE Link]


Somewhere around the world a Quantity Surveyor is in the News. Good QS news or Bad, we will bring you regular links to their stories. Join the NZBE Blog



By Matthew Ensoll

FNZIQS. Reg.QS.

Editor New Zealand Building Economist.


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