More than a decade
ago I was introduced to the field of Quantity Surveying, the experiences have
been both interesting and challenging. The needs of clients are ever changing
so as the expectation of clients from their financial and contract managers
(QS) on projects becoming complex. The complexity of projects emanates from
technological advancement that impacts on construction materials, construction
methodology and change in building codes. Government ministries and agencies,
civil societies, financial institutions, funding organizations are demanding
more transparent, quick, but yet efficient procurement methods.
Traditionally the tripod of client requirements or the assessment
of project success is on QUALITY, SCHEDULE and COST. I will limit my interest
on quality today (subsequent write-up would consider other parameters of
project success, like satisfying project stakeholders, and meeting project
business or social requirements.
The term QUALITY is a bit ambiguous in the modern day quality
management system. It’s more simplified on ICT projects, yet ambiguous on
construction and engineering projects. In most cases we limit our definition of
quality to zero defects during defect liability period or at the point when
final certificate was issued.
Modern days project management gives clear robustness in
managing project quality and this can be addressed using variety of criteria or
tools like (Cause and Effect diagram, Scatter Diagram, Histogram, Pareto diagram,
Control charts, Flowcharts, etc.). Quality consider the following factors and
for purpose (Eventual Performance cum functionality of project)
defect (Performance cum functionality at the point of project delivery)
with specification/requirements (Comparing intended specification with achieved
of good quality and cost of bad quality (Cost of good quality covers training,
document processes, testing and inspection cost; while cost of bad quality
includes, rework, scrap, liability, warranty work, lack of repeat business from
It’s wrong to believe a project was successful simply because
it was completed on schedule and within the cost\budget. The parameter of
QUALITY travels far in considering whether the scope and stakeholders’
requirements are met or not. it’s important to note that the competing elements
or forces in Nigeria construction industry always almost makes project a
failure, it’s not a mere assertion, a project is not of good quality if the
cost of delivering quality as defined in the project requirement management
plan exceed the ‘cost ‘of bad quality.
I recently travelled to my hometown Ipetumodu, Osun State,
Nigeria, and I noticed a Solar powered street lighting project initiated,
supervised and financed by Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), which the people
in that community praised about 3 years ago has completely stopped working, another
similar project by ECN with equal abysmal result along Ede Road after OAU
Campus gate in Ile-Ife, Osun-State, all still comes back to our perception of
project quality! The objective was to show that ‘we are working as a
Commission’, not thinking of the project sustainability and quality issues. The
folly has permeated the core of our governance structure that a state like Osun
thought the only way of achieving quality education was to demolish foremost
academic institutions physical assets in the state, the Aregbesola led
administration demolished St. Augustine Catholic Primary School, Ipetumodu, the
School I graduated from in 1998 (Arguably the best public Primary School in Ife
North Local Government), the foremost Fakunle Comprehensive High school, Osogbo
was demolished, while leaving wide virgin land alone to build new educational facilitates.
I believe the government didn’t consider the economic loss of complete
demolition of built assets. These are few out of many ill-conceived projects
like various Borehole projects sponsored by (Ogun-Osun River Basin Development
Commission), Health and educational facilities across the country, and diverse
uncompleted programme of government. I was not surprise when an illustrious
professor of Quantity Surveying, Prof. Godwin Onajite Jagboro recently choosed
to deliver an Inaugural Lecture at Obafemi Awolowo University; titled, ‘UNMASKING THE TOWER OF BABEL AND THE SCOURGE
OF ABANDONED PROJECTS IN NIGERIA’, I was not opportuned to attend, I believe He
must have done thorough and robust academic dissection through his scholarly
mind, and recommends solutions to our plague of ill-conceived projects that
fill the horizons of our nation.
These thoughts filled my heart:
kobo used as bribe on capital projects limits the possibility of achieving
quality project, or increases the cost of quality. How then can we work in
order not for politicians to see project as avenue to unconstitutionally feed
from public treasury?
long are we going to continue initiating projects based on political prejudices
and not on effective needs assessment plus due diligence?
is wrong in conducting life cycle costing of real estate and construction
we say our political leaders understand QUALITY leadership that is built on
sustainable growth, rule of law, and strong institution?
we individually evaluated the cost of delivering quality projects, products,
and/or services over cutting corners and taking the easier paths?
is my role as a trained Quantity Surveyor in ensuring quality project without
allowing my clients to pay more, or double of the real cost of project?