It’s about quantity

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Quantity surveyors are treating their conference in Queenstown next week as a springboard to beef up their profession. 

The Institute of Quantity Surveyors for the first time is running a free education workshop in conjunction with its conference. 

The 90-minute recruitment workshop, at the Hilton Queenstown hotel next Friday, is aimed at both high school students and those already in the construction industry who want to upskill themselves or change jobs. 

Speakers will include quantity surveyors plus lecturers and students from Otago Polytechnic and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. 

Conference committee chair Mick Moffatt, of Queenstown, says: “It’s a great opportunity for students in Years 11-13 to pick the brains of some of the industry’s best surveying professionals and education providers. 

“There may also be carpenters and others working in construction who would like to find out more about retraining or who’d like to become formally qualified.” 

Workshop attendees can also spend one-on-one time with exhibitors and businesses at the conference. 

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson, the conference keynote speaker, says quantity surveyors are playing an increasingly important role. 

“The Canterbury rebuild is a massive undertaking, and large numbers of quantity surveyors will be needed to ensure the rebuild is cost-effective and accurately accounted for.” 

Moffatt says the Queenstown construction industry has also picked up over the past six months. A partner in Rilean Construction, he says the profession is interesting because it intersects with so many disciplines. 

“You see some jobs from the start, from sketch plans, right through to fruition, when you physically walk through the door and you can say, ‘yeah, I was part of that’. 

“I suppose we’re pretty much the accountants of the construction industry with some project management in there as well.” 

The June 13-14 conference – with the Christchurch quake-related theme of ‘Shaken Not Stirred – A Solid Foundation for the Future’ – has several influential speakers covering topics like the Construction Contracts Act, banking and the economy, and effects of the earthquakes. 

Paula Hugens, managing director of local sustainable and passive house design company, Green Being, will lead a discussion on sustainability, design and the environment. “We’ll ask the hard questions such as ‘Can you afford to ignore energy efficiency?’ and question whether energy-efficient design can be cost-effective and reduce costs,” she says. 

Non-construction-related speakers include local council boss Adam Feeley, former New Zealand Olympics chef de mission Dave Currie and Kiwi cricketing legend Sir Richard Hadlee who’ll speak at the James Bond-themed gala dinner. 

About 140 delegates are attending the conference.