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APC Trainer on...

Conduct Rules, Ethics and Professional Practice (M005)


27 August, 2008 By Alasdair Thompson Grappling with professional dilemas and justifying your actions This article focuses on the mandatory competency associated with ethics and the RICS code of conduct Conduct Rules, Ethics and Professional Practice (M005). The competency covers a wide range of issues associated with how you should conduct yourself as a chartered surveyor, and a candidate is required to have a detailed knowledge of this competency to level 3. This competency is often covered by the chairman of the APC assessment panel and generally covers a wide range of subject matters including the RICS Code of Conduct, RICS Rules and Regulations and other professional dilemmas that a candidate may face. This competency covers issues that quantity surveyors deal with regularly and therefore you will be expected to understand and respond in detail.

Level 1
Competency at Level 1 includes demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role and significance of RICS and its functions. Also an appreciation of your personal professional role and societys expectations of professional practice and RICS code of conduct and conduct regulations, including the general principals of law and the legal system, as applicable in your country of practice. Prior to undertaking the APC assessment you must read and become familiar with the RICS code of conduct and rules and regulations. Question How do the RICS ensure that standards and quality are maintained in terms of both the conduct and advice provided by chartered surveyors? Answer You must be familiar with the latest RICS Rules of Conduct published in June 2007. In particular you need to be familiar with the nine core values: Interpretation Service of Documents

Integrity Competence Service Lifelong Learning Solvency Information to RICS Co-operation You should also be familiar with the fact that the RICS publish rules of conduct for firms who operate as chartered surveying businesses. Question You may also be asked a follow up question asking you to give your opinion on why the RICS have rules and codes of conduct. Answer You need to be prepared to express your own opinion and views and demonstrate to the panel that you have an opinion on what purpose the rules and codes of conduct have. Remember there is no right or wrong answer (or standard answer) it is simply your opinion. However it does need to be thought through, structured and sensible. Clearly issues to cover would revolve around standardisation and consistency of service and approach, maintaining professional standards and governance and regulation.

Level 2
Competency at level 2 involves Provide evidence of practical application in your area of practice, being able to justify actions at all times and demonstrate personal commitment to the rules of conduct, ethics and RICS nine core values. As stated in previous articles this means demonstrating a working knowledge. Question If a client was prepared to pay you in advance for services you or your company was providing, how would you ensure that this was dealt with? Answer Here you will need to demonstrate a working knowledge / understanding of the RICS rules associated with handling clients money and accounting. You will need to discuss the following: Setting up a separate client account which is properly named and clearly identifiable. Providing the client with a statement of the account once it has been set up.

Informing and agreeing with the client on how and when monies will be drawn from the account. Prior to drawing monies sending the client a statement of how much will be drawn clearly identifying the services undertaken and fees to be drawn. Once the draw has been made sending the client a revised statement of account. Once the services are complete providing the client with a complete reconciliation of the account and all drawdowns. Ensuring that everything is auditable and completely transparent. Question If you were going to set up your own business and operate as a chartered surveyor, what insurances would you need to put in place? Answer The key issue here is professional indemnity insurance. You will need to be familiar with the regulations associated with PII and understand that as a Chartered Surveyor you cannot operate without have professional indemnity insurance in place. Professional Indemnity Insurance is very important so you will need to understand this in detail. In addition to this you may want to mention that should you have your own office premises then you would need buildings insurances and you would also potentially need to take out both employers liability insurance and third party liability insurances as well. In addition to the above you should also be ready for a follow up question on professional indemnity insurance regarding run off periods. You should be familiar with the RICS requirements here which is a minimum of 6 years.

Level 3
Competency at level 3 involves Provide evidence of application of the above in your area of practice in the context of advising clients. Here you should be able to apply your knowledge to practical situations that you have encountered in your working life. Question Can you advise on what a conflict of interest is and how you would deal with it? Answer An example of this would be where you may be asked to undertake work on behalf of a contractor but another part of the business is already working for the client on the same project. In these circumstances you would need to explain the situation to your prospective client and then politely decline the opportunity.

Try and relate your answer to your working experience gained to date you may already have experienced such a situation which you could talk about. Question A junior surveyor working in your team incorrectly over certifies on an interim valuation what do you do? Answer The first thing to do is to check the facts and make sure an over certification has actually taken place. Assuming it has, then you need to actually check whether the valuation has been processed of not. If it has not then withdraw it and re-certify. If the valuation has been paid, then you need to remember it is an interim certification and assuming it is not the final certificate then financially matters can be rectified next month. However you will still need to talk to the client, explain the situation, and also ensure that sufficient preventative measures are put in place to stop this happening again in the future. The client may be unhappy, but you must be able to demonstrate that you have recognised the problem and have dealt with it. You will also need to talk to the main contractor to explain the situation so that he understands what the course of action is at the next interim valuation. The key issue to remember with this subject is read and be familiar with the RICS rules and regulations and codes of conduct

APC Trainer on... Risk Management (T077)


14 August, 2008 By Alastair Bloore From understanding risk, to helping clients manage it Construction is fraught with risk whether its the risk of busting the budget or a design that doesnt work. So the risk management (T077) competence of the APC is crucial. In the exam, the assessors will test you on your understanding of risk and how to handle it. At Level 1 you have to show an appreciation of the nature of risk and a knowledge of common risk items in the candidates area of practice. The level 2 competence focuses on your ability to undertake risk assessments and demonstrate knowledge of risk-related tools and techniques. Finally, level 3 tests you on your ability to advise clients on effective risk management processes for a specific project.

Level 1
Question Can you explain to me your understanding of the nature of risk and give me some examples of key risks that might be relevant to projects in your area of expertise? Sample Response Part 1 The Nature of Risk In the sample response we have followed the two part structure of the question. Starting with the nature of risk, the examiner is looking for a clear explanation of the core risk management principles. There is no specific order in which these should be presented and the candidate may wish to note that risk management is a broad subject with varying definitions depending upon the context. For example the terminology in risk management in construction varies to that used in financial investment risk management. Definition of Risk The term risk is often used to describe a future event which may or may not occur. However, risk can be thought of in a broader context which is that risk is any uncertainty related to a future outcome. The candidate may wish to refer to a standard definition such as this one from the APM An uncertain event that if it occurs has an impact on the project objectives. Types of Risk There are two broad types of uncertainty commonly looked at on projects:

o Risk Events, which are the chance that an unplanned event may or may not happen in the future, for example the chance of encountering an obstruction during an excavation. o Uncertainty of estimating, which is a variance in the outcome of a planned event, for example the variance in the purchase price of steel which will be procured in two years time for a project. Types of Impact The impact of a risk can take a number of different forms, with the key project impacts being; cost, time and performance. There are, however, other impact types such as damage to reputation or safety risk. It is important when undertaking risk assessments to ensure the most appropriate impact types are evaluated. Positive & Negative Uncertainty - Many people think of risk as being only events that have a negative impact on a project. However when thought of as uncertainty, then risk outcomes can have a negative or positive impact on the project. Risk Quantification - Risk is often defined as the combination of the probability of an event occurring and the consequence should that event occur. The probability is often described as a percentage with the impact defined in terms of cost or time. This is the basis of the simplest form of risk quantification but there are a range of more complex techniques available. Mitigation The main reason for looking at risks to a project is to consider how they can be mitigated and the likelihood of a project achieving its objectives increased. Sample Response Part 2 Typical Risks Turning our attention to the second part of the question, the candidate is asked to explain some typical risks applicable to their area of experience. This is only competence level 1 and so the candidate may wish to pick a relatively simple example project around which to frame their response. For example, they may have experience in the rail sector and explain that they will highlight some of the key risks associated with the replacement of a bridge structure. In this example, key risks to consider at the start of the project would include: Certainty of as-built information for the existing structure Condition of the existing structure Unforeseen ground conditions Agreement of adjacent owners to secure land for a worksite Availability of key rail related resources to input to the design

Technical approvals Possession availability Possession overrun Disruption to train services during and after works

Level 2
Question Can you please talk me through how you would approach the assessment and quantification of risk on a typical scheme with which you are familiar? Sample Response Because this question is based around a sample project, the various tools and techniques may vary to suit the scenario and so the candidate should clearly outline the type of scheme being used as the example and the perspective they are taking on the project. For our sample answer, we will take a mixed-use development where the client is seeking a project level risk assessment at the outline design stage (i.e. excluding investment appraisal commercial risks). Risk Assessment Process The candidate should first outline the risk assessment process which in this case would generically follow the following steps: Risk identification Risk evaluation Risk response Risk quantification Risk Identification There are a number of common ways to identify risk on a project such as this and a thorough appraisal may combine several of the following approaches: Structured Interviews with key parties involved in the project A risk workshop with a brainstorming activity involving the professional team, client and end user representatives. To keep these sessions focussed it would be common to use prompt headings to focus the team in turn on different areas of risk. Risk checklists which can be used to draw on common risk types identified on previous schemes

Research into recently completed projects of a similar nature The first stage of any approach to identifying risks is to establish a clear understanding of the project scope, stakeholders and objectives and thus what desired outcomes may be at risk. In this scenario, a suitable approach would be a structured interview with the client followed by a workshop with the professional team. Checklists may then be used to ensure all common risk types have been considered. Risks would normally be subsequently documented in a risk register which is often in a simple excel format, although there are more complex risk software systems available. It is important that risks are captured in the register with both a clear short title for ease of reference but also a more detailed description of the cause, event and likely impact that may occur. Risk Evaluation The first level of risk evaluation is normally a qualitative assessment which is often undertaken in a workshop forum. Each risk is evaluated in terms of both its probability and impact using a three or five point scale. It is important that this scale is supplemented by some definitions so that when one person assesses a risk as a high impact, the whole team have a common understanding of what that equates to in terms of time, cost etc. For example, a high cost impact may be defined as a cost impact of between 100,000 and 500,000. Although a range of impact types can be evaluated, it would be most common in this type of evaluation to focus on commercial impacts. Risks that have a time or performance impact would be converted into a financial form, for example a one month delay in opening of the scheme could be equated to the cost of running the project office for an additional month together with the loss off one months rental income. Once qualitatively evaluated, the risks would be ranked by multiplying their probability and impact ratings in order to get an overall risk rating. The risks can then be sorted by risk rating so that the team can focus their efforts on mitigating the most potentially damaging areas of risk. When risks are later recorded in a risk register, a risk matrix showing impacts and probabilities on two scales (e.g. a 5x5 matrix for Very Low to Very High scores) is also usually created, that displays the risk ratings for all combinations of probabilities and impacts. Different ratings are then simply colour coded, usually red for highest ratings, amber for middle ratings and yellow/green for lowest ratings, to give a quick visual display of risk ratings. Another valuable form of risk evaluation is to categorise risks by business area or source of risk. Clients often have set categories to apply to assist their understanding of the nature of the risks being carried by different projects and to help validate ownership of risk responses.

Risk Response Using the risk rating as a prioritisation guide, the risk manager or the professional team (in a workshop forum) can then look at how to respond to the various risks. The overall aim of the risk response is not to eliminate all risk, but to find the most commercially advantageous way of responding to each identified issue. In considering the risk response, the team must take account of the cost / time impact of the mitigation prior to any decision being taken. There is little point in spending more money on mitigating a risk than the cost that may be incurred from the risk itself if it should occur. Risk responses can be generically grouped into a number of categories: Reduce Uncertainty Take action first to eliminate uncertainty if reasonably possible and cost-effective to do so to allow better evaluation of a risk and thus an improved decision regarding its mitigation. Eliminate Take action to eliminate the risk, for example by altering the design to eliminate the feature which is causing the risk. Reduce Take action to reduce either the probability or impact of the risk, for example undertake additional site investigation to reduce the chance of encountering unforeseen ground conditions. Transfer Transfer the risk to another party, for example transfer the risk of sourcing specialised labour to a supplier through the formal contract put in place with them. The team need to take care when using risk transfer as there will normally be a cost associated with the transfer and it is rare that total transfer can be achieved. For example if a contractor carries the risk of timely delivery, although the client may levy penalties if they are late in completing the project, the client is still impacted by the disruption and reputation damage of the delay. The most common forms of transfer are contractual risk transfer and insurance. Tolerate If the risk is of a low impact then it may be cost effective to tolerate the risk and deal with the consequences if and when the risk materialises. Contingency For risks that cannot be fully mitigated or eliminated it is prudent to allow a time and cost contingency in the planning of the project to minimise the overall impact on planned outcomes should the risks occur. This contingency can be estimated based on industry norms and experienced judgement. However it is more appropriate on major schemes, and mandatory with certain clients, to use a more formal risk quantification exercise to determine a suitable contingency level. The careful evaluation of contingencies is a key element in robust project planning.

More than one type of response may be required to manage an individual risk and / or, one response may assist the treatment of several risks. It is very important that for every risk an owner is assigned responsibility to ensure that responses are fully developed and that individual response owners are identified with action due dates for those responses. Risk Quantification There are a number of ways to quantify risk, ranging from the more simplistic expected outcome approach (where the commercial impact of each risk is multiplied by the probability and the results totalled) to more sophisticated quantitative analysis. The most common of the more sophisticated methodologies is Monte Carlo analysis which is undertaken using one of a number of specialist pieces of software. Monte Carlo analysis essentially requires the user to define the nature of each risk / area of uncertainty in mathematical / numeric form to create a risk model. Risk software is then used to run a large number of iterations (in the order of 5000 iterations) of the risk model. Each of these iterations effectively represents one scenario of how the project may outturn based on a random sampling of the risks which is influenced by the various probabilities and risk profiles defined in the model. These scenarios are then statistically analysed to provide confidence levels associated with certain project outturns being achieved. For example, the risk model could be used to evaluate the confidence level associated with the project being delivered within a certain budget level. The analysis can also be used to determine appropriate levels of contingency and to also analyse the sensitivity of the project outturn to various risks or combinations of risks. In this scenario, the Monte Carlo analysis could be used to determine the potential financial impact of the identified risks and thus the prudent level at which to set the risk contingency. Different organisations have varying policies as to what level of confidence the contingency is set, but an 80% confidence level is common. This means that based on the analysis, there is an 80% probability that the financial impact of the identified risks will be within the specified level of contingency. As with risk identification, risk modelling is not an end in itself. The purpose of such analysis is to enable a deeper understanding of project uncertainty and thus better inform decision making.

Level 3
Question On the project you referred to in the Level 2 answer, what advice would you give to the client regarding suitable systems for the ongoing management of risk? Sample Response The level 3 question probes the most important area of risk which is the forward management and reduction of the identified risks. Many clients have

their own risk management procedures and systems with which any consultant will be expected to comply. The purpose of these procedures is to ensure consistency in how risk is dealt with across the organisation and in some cases to enable centralised reporting on risk exposure and action implementation. Assuming that the client for the mixed-use development case study does not have prescriptive systems, then the candidate can give a general overview of a typical ongoing project risk management process. Key elements to this would include the following: Risk Management Plan The project should have a concise Risk Management Plan that sets out how risk will be managed through the life cycle of the job, the systems that will be used, the timing of key reviews and the input required by the various parties. The Risk Management Plan may be a section within the Project Execution Plan and should itself have a clear owner. Risk System It is important that risk information is held in a controlled and structured way accessible to the project team. There are various software systems on the market for managing risk information, however for a single project these tend not to be cost effective and the training requirements become a barrier to use. Thus for this scheme, a simple excel based risk register would be appropriate. The register would capture all the key information such as; risk descriptions, coding, impacts, categorisations, ratings, mitigation responses, action owners, due dates and the like. This can be held by the Project Manager and distributed monthly with the normal project reporting cycle, or it could be loaded onto any project extranet that was being used by the team so that people have continuous access to the latest information. Risk Ownership Whilst the client ultimately carries many of the project risks, a Risk Owner should be assigned to each risk, this owner being the person best able to implement the mitigation actions identified and thus control the risk. Risk Owners are assigned responsibility for delivery of the risk mitigation actions. Ongoing Action Delivery The key element of the risk management plan is following through on risk mitigation actions and it is normally recommended that the risk register has the ability to be sorted by risk action due date. The actions due can then be reviewed as an integral part of the regular project meeting cycle focussing in on issues that are key at that particular stage of the project. Periodic Review The Risk Management Plan will also set down when, in addition to monthly action updates, the risk register should have more of a formal review to identify new arising issues and share knowledge on the updated risks. The reviews may be undertaken in a workshop forum and would be timed with key points on the delivery life cycle. Typical review points would be placed: o Early in each key phase (to promote proactive risk mitigation)

o Towards the end of each phase (to ensure capture of risk information prior to moving forward and for inclusion in forward contingency budgets) o At key milestones and/or approaching key risk events or action dates o When new parties join the team (such as when the contractor is appointed) o At close out (to review the effectiveness of mitigation measures and identify any issues to be communicated to the end user).

APC Trainer on... Construction Technology and Environmental Services (T013)


11 August, 2008 By Dean Mills Essential reading for anyone taking the Construction and Quantity Surveying pathway This week the spotlight is on the Construction Technology and Environmental Services competency (T013). Heres what the RICS Requirements and Competencies guide says about it:: Candidates should have a clear understanding of the design and construction processes commonly used in the industry. They should have detailed knowledge of construction solutions relevant to their projects. This is a core competence under the Construction and Quantity Surveying pathway that must be achieved to level 3. To achieve competency level one, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles of design and construction relating to your chosen field of practice. At level two the candidate will be able to apply their knowledge to the design and construction processes. At level three you will have experience and be competent to advise on the selection and application of particular processes within their area of experience. This should include liaison with specialists and consultants to develop project specific design and construction solutions. So youll need a wide range of knowledge and practical experience relating to your chosen field of practice. Lets look at an example of the type of question an assessor could ask at each level, relating to building technology and in particular mechanical services...

Level 1
Question Can you outline the most common types of ventilation systems in a building? Answer The common types of ventilation systems are: Natural ventilation This describes the process of air entering and moving around a building by natural means and can be provided through; - Openable windows; which are the most basic form of natural ventilation.

- Powered window actuators; which enable multiple windows to be controlled using a control strategy, e.g. the building management system (BMS). The windows can be programmed to open and close depending on the weather. Push button switches or hand held infrared remote control can also be used to power these actuators. - Stack ventilation describes the process of warm air rising upwards through a building and leaving through high level openings. The air leaving the building causes cooler fresh air to enter the building through low level openings such as windows. Mixed mode ventilation This describes a system which contains both natural and mechanical ventilation. The mechanical element is normally a supply only system; however an extract only or a supply and extract system can also be used. The mechanical element provides adequate airflow when natural ventilation is insufficient. Mechanical ventilation Extract only These systems are used in environments where the air becomes directly contaminated by a certain process or activity. These can be found in places such as toilets, kitchens and factories where they can offer consistent and reliable extraction. Mechanical Ventilation Supply and Extract This type of system includes a central air handling unit (AHU) normally containing air filters, along with separate supply and extract fans. With the addition of heating and cooling coils within the AHU the system has the ability to heat or cool air as required, while also having the option of heat recovery to improve energy efficiency. This allows some of the warm extracted air to be re-circulated into the supply, therefore reducing the amount of fresh air to be heated. A ductwork system is required to transport the air around the building.

Level 2
Question Can you identify some of the issues to consider in the design of ventilation systems for buildings? Answer The candidate may outline some of the following issues: Employers requirements The chosen system and design needs to align with what the client wants to achieve from the project and the functional space requirements of the building. Occupants requirements The range of internal conditions which the occupants are willing to tolerate.

Cost The budget available for the project and elemental analysis would need to be considered to determine how much is viable for the ventilation system. The whole life cost of the system should also be a major consideration. External conditions The location of the building needs to be considered and may make natural ventilation wholly or partially un-feasible, e.g. noise and pollution levels and local weather conditions. Control The level of control required will influence the design, e.g. if air needs to be extracted at a certain time from an area e.g. in a manufacturing plant. Space The amount of plant and services space available for ductwork and air handling units. Depth of building If the building is very deep, atriums can be introduced to get air through the building, otherwise mechanical systems will be required. Security The location of the building, its purpose and contents will determine the level of security required. If a high level of security is needed then natural ventilation may not be feasible, or openable windows will need physical barriers such as grilles. Environmental issues A certain BREEAM rating may be desired and may affect the choice of ventilation system. If a mechanical solution is necessary, factors such as the level (if any) of filtration required will be dependent on what items need to be discharged. Any contaminated substances will need to be filtered before they are discharged into the atmosphere.

Level 3
Question On your project X, what ventilation system was used and how did you work with the team to ensure the most cost effective design solution was achieved? Answer The answer will of course depend upon the candidates experience and the type of building they worked upon. The different systems vary greatly in cost with natural ventilation being the cheapest and mechanical ventilation (supply and extract) the most expensive. However, the chosen ventilation system needs to be fit for purpose and natural ventilation would not be suitable for a building such as a data centre, where there are high heat loads. The candidate should consider the design issues identified under level 2, meaning some ventilation systems would be unfeasible. The mechanical system is an integral part of the overall building design and will have a knock on effect on most other building elements, including floor heights and plant space requirements. Therefore when considering the most cost effective solution it must be considered within the overall building context. The candidate would be able to outline their role in working closely

with the design team through the design development to select the ventilation system(s) appropriate for the project. They would then be able to explain how they worked with the design team to get overall best value for money, taking into account the whole life cost. Some of the commercial issues to consider for mechanical systems are: Ductwork distribution through the building Builders work Fire strategy Exposed ductwork and plant (note, depending on location, this may result in increased cost of ductwork, although may save money overall through omitting ceiling finishes) Alternative types of insulation Open plan areas Avoiding over design and providing too high loads Location of plant relative to areas to be serviced Different ductwork profiles available (rectangle, circular, oval) Avoiding unnecessary controls Co-ordination with the building fabric, structure and other services to reduce risk.

APC Trainer on... Project Evaluation (T066)


30 July, 2008 By Alasdair Thompson Feasibility studies, initial financial appraisals, town planning and development appraisal This article focuses on the optional competency Project Evaluation (T066). The competency covers a wide range of issues in relation to projects, including feasibility studies, initial financial appraisals, town planning and development appraisals. If you go for this option then you'll be expected to have a reasonable level of knowledge to level 2. As this competency covers a number of issues, it's common to get asked specific questions in relation to project evaluation. So we're going to focus on one of those issues value engineering and the type of questions that an APC assessor could potentially ask you.These span what is it; what is its purpose; what are the techniques etc. Value engineering is an issue that quantity surveyors deal with regularly and therefore you will be expected to understand and respond in a reasonable level of detail.

Level 1
Competency at Level 1 is generally focussed on having a knowledge and understanding of the competency knowing. In the final assessment, you might not be asked about value engineering directly. It is more common that candidates will be asked about a recent project they have been involved in where the cost plan or tender prices came in significantly in excess of the budget. As this discussion develops, you may get asked a question such as: Question So the cost plan was significantly over budget, what techniques did you recommend to the client in order to review and test this? Answer One of the issues you would be expected to highlight in your answer would be the consideration of value engineering strategies in order review the design, specification and cost currently on the table and consider areas where cost can be reduced without sacrificing quality or completely compromising the design concept. You should then be prepared for a follow up question along the lines of: Question Can you clarify what the difference between Value Engineering and Value Management is?

Answer It is often not appreciated that there is a difference between value engineering and value management. Value Engineering looks at how you generate better value out of a specific process such as a building. For example can you redesign the foundations so that less concrete and reinforcement is used but the new solution still supports the building in the same way? Alternatively, can we use a different roof tile, which still provides the same quality, look and style but is cheaper? Also remember that this is a process the project team adopt and own it is not something the QS does in isolation. Value Management looks at issues at a higher level it considers the process and procedures involved in an industry and considers how to do it better and more cost effectively to generate better value. For example is an entire function out sourced or dealt with internally? Can a particular function in a client organisation be re-engineered to provide better value (e.g. the baggage handling procedure in an airport, or the way mail is sorted at a sorting office)?

Level 2
As we have previously identified competency at level 2 is generally focussed on having an application of knowledge and understanding doing. From a quantity surveying perspective this means demonstrating a working knowledge of value engineering procedures. Taking the level 1 questions a little further to level 2 candidates may well be asked questions along the following lines: Question How did you actually set about value engineering this project that was over budget? What issues did you take account of? Answer Here you will need to describe the value engineering process that the project team adopted: Structured approach managed by one person Involvement of the whole project team including the client Involvement from relevant stakeholders Managed workshops Defined agenda highlighting the issues to focus on Encourage question and challenge Clear defined ownership of actions along with dates for completion (not everything will be resolved at the workshop)

Risks indentified in parallel to the value engineering solutions Clear presentation of solutions and risks Buy in from client to proposed solutions You may also want to identify some specific examples of where successful value engineering has been applied. In addition to this you should also be aware that life cycle cost information is also relevant and should be considered as part of the process. Question What are the benefits of value engineering? Answer There are a number of benefits for both the client and the project team. These include: Clarification of the brief separating needs from wants Improved performance through efficiency savings Identification of alternative designs, solutions or locations Identification of alternative construction methods Empowered staff through multi-disciplinary teamwork Enhanced service / product quality Identification of risk Identification of additional functions that improve the outcomes of the project Improved staff morale, commitment and relationships Rationalisation of the project programme.

Question What are the risks associated with value engineering? Answer There are a number of risk for both the client and the project team that need to be considered and minimised. These include: The exercise is undertaken too late for changes to be effective Inadequate information causing incorrect assumptions Insufficient participation by stakeholders

Insufficient time allocated for the process Inadequate support by senior management Unskilled facilitator using improper application of the methodology.

APC Trainer on... process and procedures (T068)


17 July, 2008 By Stephen Hateley An essential competency for all project managers Process and procedures (T068) is a core competency for project managers. Candidates must demonstrate competence to Level 2. If you recall from previous articles, assessors are trained to ask questions that ascertain candidates progress against the three APC competency levels: Level 1 knowledge and understanding (knowing) Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (doing) Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (advising) The following questions are typical of those that could be reasonably expected at Final Assessment:

Level 1
Question What sort of information would typically be contained within a Project Execution Plan (PEP)?

Answer The candidate should frame a response citing at least some of the following: Background Project definition: o Project objectives o Method of approach o Scope o Deliverables o Constraints o Interfaces

o Assumptions Project management team structure (incl. roles and responsibilities) Communications plan (for stakeholders and team members) Quality plan Project change control: o Reporting o Monitoring o Risk management

Level 2
Question What project management processes and procedures did you adopt on your last project? Answer The candidate may have adopted their clients processes/procedures as clients often impose them on their consultants and contractors. Alternatively, the candidate may have used their firms own processes/procedures and, if so, they should be able to describe them. Often companies systems are accredited and mention/knowledge of ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) is relevant. Finally, the candidate may have used a standard methodology such a PRINCE2. If this is the case they should expect more probing questions to test their understanding as to how this is applied.

Level 3
Question What is PRINCE2 and when could it be used? Answer The candidate should be aware that PRINCE stands for PRojects IN COntrolled Environment. It is a structured method for effective project management. It is used extensively by the UK government and public sector although in theory could be used in any situation to govern the delivery of a project. It contains a complete set of concepts and project management processes. The way in which PRINCE2 is applied to a project will vary considerably. Candidates should know that by tailoring the method to suit the particular circumstances of the project is critical to its successful use.

APC Trainer on... project financial control and reporting competence (T067)
8 July, 2008 By Dean Mills This weeks we tackle change management, a core competence which must be achieved to level three As defined within the RICS Competency Guide, this competency covers "the effective cost control of construction projects during the construction phase. Candidates should be aware of the principles of controlling and reporting costs on any construction project. They should have a detailed understanding of the control and reporting processes used on their projects". The competency requirements for a candidates chosen faculty are outlined with the Pathway Guide which puts each of the competencies into context, and provides a faculty-based explanation of each level. The questions below begin at level one, assessing the Candidates knowledge and understanding, before moving on through levels two and three, to assess the candidates actual experience and the advice provided to clients. In assessing a competence, the Assessor may ask questions at any level, in any order, and will not necessarily ask questions at all three levels if they are satisfied the competency has been achieved.

Level 1
Question: What is the purpose of change control on a construction project? The purpose of change control is to provide a method of assessing and managing change, giving details of consequent cost, programme and scope effect. Effective change control procedures enables the monitoring and reporting of cost changes where they affect the out-turn cost and enables the project team to monitor and appraise programme implications and impact. The Client is made aware of the consequences of a potential change and the effect this will have on the overall project, this allowing an informed decision to be made with a full understanding of the impact of implementation.

Level 3
Question: I see from your summary of experience that you advised the client and implemented a change control procedure on your project X. Can you tell me the key issues you considered in advising the client upon the procedure to be adopted? This question is testing the candidates experience and their approach in advising and implementing a change control procedure. The candidates answer will be based upon their own experience and will of course depend upon the type and complexity of the project and contract, as well as the structure of the client and consultant team. As such, the following answer is fairly generic in outlining the issues for consideration and should be read as a guide only. Answer: The candidate may consider the following issues in preparing their recommendation:

What are the clients objectives in terms of monitoring change? Who are the key decision makers in the design and approval of changes? What are the trigger levels of authority in respect of value, programme and quality? What is the procurement process and how will this affect change control during the design and construction phases? At what point in the design process of this particular project is it appropriate to start measuring change and why? Confirm with the client and/or project manager what costs need to be included within the change, e.g. professional fees, VAT, etc. Who takes responsibility for raising the Change Proposal, dependant upon the type of change? How will the change control procedure link with contract instructions and contractor procedures (e.g. RFIs) during the construction period?

Question: Having advised the client and established the change control procedure on Project X, how was this then implemented? Answer: The candidate may outline the following approach:

The procedure was communicated to the rest of the consultant team through a report and flow diagram, which were prepared and then presented by the candidate at a meeting. This change procedure was also included within the Project Execution Plan. Change Proposal proformas were issued to the design team with instructions for use. A schedule of change control meetings were agreed with the project team.

A register of change controls and a tracker was maintained by the Candidate. Change proposals were fully co-ordinated by the Initiator and checked by the candidate prior to costing and submitting to the client for approval. The candidate monitored the other consultants and the client to ensure the correct procedures were being implemented, e.g. to ensure potential changes are raised at an early stage, the full consequences of changes are established and changes are only instructed following client sign off.

Level 2
Question: Where you have initiated a change yourself, can you tell me the information that you included on the Change Proposal Form (CPF) prior to presenting to the client? Answer: The candidate may outline the following information:

Full description of the proposed change and the reason for the proposal Cost implications, including breakdown and basis of cost Any risks attached to the proposal Implications of functionality and quality, in conjunction with design team Programme implications, outlining how these were derived Buildability or CDM issues Description of the documentation, drawings, etc used and attached to the CPF Implication to project team fees and resource levels Confirmation of design co-ordination by design team Confirmation of funding of change control (e.g. whether funded from contingency, provisional sums, additional funding, etc) and through the change control report, its effect on the forecast out-turn cost Date required for approval Implications of late approval and/ or rejection of the proposed change Approvals box

APC Trainer on... procurement routes (T062)


1 July, 2008 By Alasdair Thompson the various procurement options available, their differences and reasons for use This article focuses on the core competency of Procurement and Tendering (T062). The competency covers a wide range of issues in relation to both procurement and tendering methods within the construction industry and a candidate would be expected to have a good understanding of these matters at level 3. This article focuses specifically on the various procurement options available, their differences and reasons for use. As a quantity surveyor working in either the private practice or contracting sides of the industry this is an issue that will be dealt with regularly and therefore you will be expected to understand and respond in detail.

Level 1
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 1 as demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main types of procurement. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the tendering and negotiation processes involved in procurement. Competency at Level 1 is generally focussed on having a knowledge and understanding of the competency knowing. Question What are the main factors that govern procurement route selection? Answer The three key issues are Time, Cost and Quality. Usually you cannot satisfy all three of these with one option but consideration must be given to the clients list of priorities and the implications of time, cost and quality to get the best route for the client. Question What procurement options are you familiar with? Answer You need to identify what procurement options you are familiar with and demonstrate a brief understanding of each: Traditional Procurement (Client engages design team and contractor direct) Design and Build (Client engages contractor who then employs designers) Management Contracting (Contractor performs the role of managing the works contractors who carry out the works)

Construction Management (Construction manager is employed to arrange trade contracts and monitor them) Framework Agreements (a template contract is agreed for a series of projects) Two Stage Tender (Contractor is selected for first stage on basis of limited scope i.e. preliminaries, overheads and profit. In second stage a full price is negotiated through an open book tendering of subcontracts) PFI/PPP (Private sector designs, builds, operates and finances the asset for the public sector who pays an annual charge)

Level 2
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 2 as Apply your knowledge to the implementation of the procurement routes selected for your projects and to carrying out tendering and negotiation processes relevant to them. Competency at level 2 is generally focussed on having an application of knowledge and understanding doing. From a Quantity Surveying perspective this means demonstrating a working knowledge of the procurement options identified above including the advantages and disadvantages of each. Question What are some of the benefits and pitfalls of the procurement options identified? Answer You will need to identify the key advantages and disadvantages associated with each procurement option: Traditional Procurement Advantages: Control over design process Direct reporting of design team to ensure quality control No built in contractor risk premium Disadvantages: No one person is responsible for the design and construction Design needs to be developed as fully as possible Time / Cost more likely to escalate Design and Build

Advantages: Well established in construction industry Single point of responsibility Early involvement of the contractor Cost Certainty Disadvantages Less control over the quality / specification of the work Contractor will build in risk premium Complex legal issue over novation of design team Management Contracting Advantages: Management contractor has early involvement and manages works contractors Can appoint early Disadvantages: No single point responsibility for design and construction Management contractor only responsible for workmanship to the extent that works contractor is responsible/able to pay Construction Management Advantages: Construction Manager is qualified advisor to employer Construction manager can exercise cost and quality control Disadvantages: Construction Manager has no direct control with the trade contractors Difficult to control cost increases Framework Agreements

Advantages: Only need to negotiate once for a series of projects Prospect of repeat business for consultants / contractors Disadvantages: May not always be best value for money Public procurement regulations may impact Two Stage Tender Advantages: Early involvement of contractor in design / build ability issues Can start on site earlier Disadvantages: Once contractor selected competition is lost and may impact on the pricing Difficult to walk away PFI/PPP Advantages: Risks transferred to private sector Specialist private sector manages construction and operation of asset Disadvantages: Loss of control by public sector Can be hard to show value for money

Level 3
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 3 as Give reasoned advice on the appropriateness of various procurement routes. Manage the tendering and negotiation process and present reports on the outcome. Competency at Level 3 is generally focussed on the provision of reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge advising.

Question You have identified Project X in your critical analysis. Please outline the procurement strategy you adopted and your reasons for the selection of the particular procurement route. How did this tie into the client list of priorities? Answer You will need to talk in detail about how and why you made the decision you did. Link this into the clients priorities and the advantages and disadvantages identified above. Show a clear and well thought out plan with a sensible conclusion. Also identify options that were considered but rejected and explain why they were rejected. Question What experience have you had of Partnering? Answer Partnering is a concept that can be applied to any of the procurement routes above. In the Partnering scenario negotiation rather than competitive tender is the key and experience has shown that in the long run this achieves better results for both contractor and employer, particularly as both parties go into the contract with their eyes open and hopefully no surprises will ensue.

APC Trainer on... demystifying T028 Environmental Assessment


27 June, 2008 Concepts, processes and systems for environmental assessment By Alastair Bloore This weeks question focuses on the concepts, processes and systems for environmental assessment (T028 Environmental Assessment). Level 1 is quite challenging and requires a good all round knowledge of the subject. At levels 2 and 3 you must refer to projects you have been involved in personally.

Level 1
Question Can you explain to me what you understand by the term environmental assessment and the framework of regulations, codes and law that require them to be undertaken? Sample Response This is a broad question that aims to cover most of the ground set out in the competency. So a clear structure is required for the answer. You could respond under the following headings: Types of Environmental Assessment Formal Environmental Impact Assessment The Regulatory Framework For each heading key areas to discuss are noted below. Types of Environmental Assessment At a conceptual level, an environmental assessment is a review and appraisal of the environmental impacts of a project. It will generally be undertaken early in the project and will look at a range of areas where the scheme may have adverse or beneficial impacts on the environment. The objective of the assessment is to fully understand these impacts and seek to minimise them through the design and implementation process, whilst at the same time achieving any predetermined environmental related performance targets. Under the generic heading of environmental assessment there are a wide range of approaches that could be taken. However in the UK built environment, the more common assessments would include:

o BREEAM Ratings o Code for Sustainable Homes Ratings o Energy Performance Certificates o Environmental Impact Assessments Environmental Impact Assessments Although there is a range of ways of assessing environmental impact, the term Environmental Assessment is more formally taken to mean the assessment(s) undertaken to ensure that a new development project aligns with the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations. The assessment is undertaken early on in the project and is usually led by the lead planning consultant. It would often involve the following parties; architect, drainage engineers, flood risk experts, ecologists, landscape architects and transport planners. Other specialists may also be involved, such as hydro-geologists, air quality scientists, noise experts and contaminated land specialists who may be required to deal with particular key issues relating to the nature and location of the development proposal. The Regulatory Framework Environmental Impact Assessments are undertaken to ensure that new developments align with the requirements of the Environmental Impact Regulations (Statutory Instrument 1999 No. 293 The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999). These regulations dictate which types of development are required to be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment and set out the procedure that must be followed before the scheme is granted development consent. This regulatory requirement originates from a European Directive (85/33/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC). BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is an environmental label for buildings, and is typically used as the UK benchmark for building environmental performance. BREEAM is often a mandatory requirement for new buildings, in particular those procured by the public sector, and the level of performance is generally mandated by the client or funding party. There are 11 versions of BREEAM; each is tailored to the specific needs of particular buildings types. BREEAM assessors award points in nine environmental categories and a rating of Pass (25%+), Good (40-55%), Very Good (55-70%, Excellent (70-85%) or Outstanding (85%+) is awarded. EcoHomes and, more latterly, assessments under the Code for Sustainable Homes are similar environmental labels for residential properties. Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates are new requirements that have arisen from the implementation of the European

Performance of Buildings Directive. The timetable for their delivery is dependant upon building scale, occupancy and accessibility (i.e. larger buildings accessible to the public are required to implement the Directive in advance of other building types).

Level 2
Question Can you explain how these requirements apply in practice to a project type that you are familiar with? Sample Response Level 2 requires you to demonstrate you can apply the above conceptual knowledge in practice. You should outline a project type that you will base your answer on and then provide some specific detail about how and when the environmental assessment process interplays with the project life cycle. For the purpose of this sample answer we will take a major mixed use development on a brown field site in an urban area close to a river. Key issues with this particular development could include; intensification of use with associated increased road traffic, congestion, air quality emission, contamination of the river, noise and surface water run-off attenuation problems. Under the Environmental Impact Regulations this scheme would be identified as requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment. This would be identified early in the project feasibility by either the client or the professional team. Under the procedures the developer would be required to compile an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the likely significant effects of the development on the environment and proposed mitigation measures. The Environmental Statement must be circulated to statutory consultation bodies and made available to the public for comment. The Environmental Statement would be submitted with the planning application and it, together with any comments made, would be taken into account by the competent authority (eg local planning authority) before the decision regarding the granting of planning consent. The preparation of the assessment would normally be led by one of the professional team and may involve the co-ordination of a number of parties including the architect, drainage engineers, transport planner and the like. Additionally there may be a requirement for input from a range of specialists such as hydro-geologists, air quality scientists, ecology advisers, noise experts and contaminated land experts. The areas to be investigated are identified in a Scoping Report compiled at the start of the assessment where all the potential areas of environmental impact are reviewed and either deemed not applicable to the development or requiring more detailed investigation.

The outputs of an Environmental Impact Assessment include the Scoping Report, a non technical executive summary, and further detailed chapters and supporting reports for each of the relevant technical disciplines.

Level 3
Question Can you talk me though an example of an instance where you have provided reasoned advice to a client in relation to the preparation and production of reports based on appropriate environmental assessments? Sample Response The examiner in this case is not asking you to show that you have undertaken the technical work involved in an environmental assessment, but instead they are looking for an example where you advised the client based on the outcomes of an assessment. A typical response would have to be based on your own experience but issues to cover would include: The project type Where the requirement for an assessment originated from Who undertook the assessment The type of assessment Why the chosen methodology was deemed suitable for the project Which regulations set out the requirement for the assessment Key issues raised in the assessment and how the report was distributed and used Examples where cost advice was given on options to deal with any of the issues raised in the report Examples of how some of those issues were taken into account in the subsequent development of the scheme including details of how they were presented to the client and any changes approved

APC Trainer on... procurement unpacked (T062)


19 June, 2008 By Stephen Hateley How to handle a grilling on procurement and tendering This weeks question focuses on the topic of procurement and tendering (T062). This is a core competency for both project managers and quantity surveyors. Candidates must demonstrate competence to Level 3. If you recall from previous articles, assessors are trained to ask questions that ascertain candidates progress against the three APC competency levels: Level 1 knowledge and understanding (knowing) Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (doing) Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (advising) The following questions are typical of those that could be reasonably expected at Final Assessment, particular those who have recorded experience in the public sector (either working as a consultant, contractor or within a public funded organisation) or have submitted a Critical Analysis on a relevant project. Level 1 Working in the public sector, where would you expect to find published tender opportunities for construction works and services? The candidate should make reference to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) (formerly known as the OJEC). It consists of two related series (L for legislation and C for information and notices) and a supplement (S for public procurement). The candidate should be aware that according to EU legislation, all contracts from the public sector which are valued above a certain threshold must be published in the OJEU. Very good candidates would know these threshold limits! They should also appreciate the legislation covers organisations and projects which receive public money (for example Local authorities, NHS trusts, Central Government Departments, Port Authorities are all covered by the legislation and must advertise in OJEU if their contract is covered). Furthermore, they should be aware that some privately funded / managed contracts will also be covered - if a project is in receipt of more than 50%

public funds, it would also be covered by the EU legislation (e.g. the Lowry Centre in Manchester and the Millennium Dome). Level 2 Exactly how are OJEU notices publicised? Is any organisation permitted to bid for every opportunity? The candidate would be expected to know that production of the hard copy version has ceased the term journal is somewhat misleading. It is now be accessed on CD ROM or via intermediaries (such as Tenders Direct). Around 2500 new notices are advertised every week - invitations to tender, pre information notices, qualification systems and contract award notices from over 80 countries world - wide. Around 10% of these are from the UK and Ireland. Level 3 Is any company permitted to bid for every opportunity? The candidate should explain that procuring organisation can elect, subject to the regulations, to follow one of three procedures when issuing a notice. These procedures are: Open - Any company may submit a tender in response to the notice. Restricted - Each company must prove suitability to the contracting authority before being invited to submit a tender Negotiated - The authority negotiates the terms of the contract with one or several companies. This procedure can only be used in certain circumstances. Level 3 What criteria are typically used to evaluate tenders? Candidates show demonstrate an appreciation of the following: Financial (accounts, prices, etc.) Quality systems (ISO 9000 etc) Environmental policy (becoming a major pre-requisite for many authorities) Relevant experience References Site visits may sometimes be used, though they are rare due to high costs and the time involved

APC Trainer on... Design Economics and Cost Planning (T022)


28 May, 2008 By Alasdair Thompson For QSs working in private practice, design economics and cost planning are issues that come up all the time, so in you APC exam, expect a grilling on this! This article focuses on the core competency Design Economics and Cost Planning (T022). As indicated in the RICS requirements and competencies guide it is more likely that this option will be chosen by those working in the professional practice/consultancy environment rather than those working in commercial management or contracting areas. The competency covers a wide range of issues in relation to design economics and cost planning, which needs to be attained to level 3. As a quantity surveyor working in private practice, design economics and cost planning are issues that will be dealt with regularly and therefore you will be expected to understand and respond in detail.

Level 1
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 1 as demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main factors that affect design economics over the whole life of a building and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how cost planning assists in the financial control of projects during the design development stage. Competency at Level 1 is generally focussed on having a knowledge and understanding of the competency knowing. Question What do you understand by the term life cycle costing? Answer Clearly you need to understand the term and briefly cover the key points: Consideration of costs over the whole life of a building not just the capital costs Consideration of capital cost against maintenance costs / replacement costs Getting an understanding of what the clients requirements are in terms of capital and life time costs.

Question Where do you source data from in order to prepare accurate cost plans and provide the client with accurate cost advice at the front end of a job? Answer Here you will need to demonstrate that you understand what cost data is available and where it can be sourced from. You would be expected to cover: BCIS database In house cost data Pricing books / published cost data Clients own cost data You should also make reference to understanding the data and what it is telling you. In particular the fact that you will need to take account of location factors, indexation, project specifications etc. Question What is the difference between an elemental cost plan and a trade cost plan? Answer Understand the differences between different types of cost plans. An elemental cost plan follows the standard elemental heading identified in the Standard Method of Measurement and BCIS elemental breakdowns. A trade cost plan follows trade packages often so it can be sent out for pricing to contractors easily

Level 2
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 2 as Apply your knowledge to the cost management of design development on a project from feasibility to design completion. Prepare and submit cost data to in house and / or external data collection agencies. Competency at level 2 is generally focussed on having an application of knowledge and understanding doing. From a quantity surveying perspective this means demonstrating a working knowledge of cost planning and how a cost plan develops throughout the project: Question How did you develop your initial cost plan through the pre tender phase of the job, ensuring all parties understand the financial position of the project? Answer Here you will need to describe the process of developing a cost plan from scratch and identifying the drawings / source information from which it is based. You would then be expected to communicate the cost plan to the client sit down with the client and talk them through the entire cost plan in detail identifying areas of uncertainty and risk along with contingency allowances. The client will need to understand everything in detail. You will also no doubt

have a similar meeting with the design team. As design develops, the cost plan must be updated in accordance with the design information available. Contingencies and risk are replaced with firm costings where appropriate. The key here is ensuring that the differences between the current cost plan and the previous version are explained in detail to all parties. You should also describe how if prepared properly, the cost plan can be used as a very effective management tool to control the pre contract design process. Question How do you set about calculating the life cycle costs associated with a wood pellet fired boiler against a standard system? Answer You will need to describe here how you would undertake a life cycle cost exercise. Capital costs of both systems will need to be identified. Then you will need to look at the long term costs. Maintenance and parts replacement should be considered you may need to speak to manufacturers here. You will also need to look at other issues such as sourcing the fuel e.g. can you get wood pellets locally at a cost effective price; where will they be stored etc. Once you have undertaken your comparison then you need to provide the client with a recommendation based upon your analysis, your understanding of the project and the clients requirements as well as budget.

Level 3
The RICS guide outlines the requirements at Level 3 as Give strategic and reasoned advice, including the preparation and presentation of reports with reference to cost, time, quality and buildability. Advise on various market factors and trends in construction costs. Comment on accuracy and risk. Competency at Level 3 is generally focussed on the provision of reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge advising. Question How would you deal with a cost plan that is over the clients budget? Answer As identified in level 2, the communication of cost plans is extremely important. It is the clients chance to understand the costs associated with the project, and your opportunity to explain everything in detail. You need to do this in a clear and concise manner. Often cost plans come in at more than a clients budget. In these circumstances you need to approach matters in a positive manner, identifying areas where potential savings can be made possibly in terms of material specification or re-design. Reference needs to be made to value engineering alongside the design team. A question like this presents a good opportunity to refer to a project that you have actually worked on and draw upon your practical experience of what actually happened. Question How would you identify risk within the cost plan? Answer There are several issues to cover here. Firstly, the cost plan should include a level of contingency which generally covers unforeseen events on site this needs to be explained to the client. Secondly you may have

provisional or PC sums within the cost plan. These need to be explained to the client along with the risks of each. Finally, you may also have a risk register or risk schedule, which will include risks identified by the project team. As the design develops and the cost plan develops, hopefully the risks will either be designed out or mitigated to a manageable level, to a point where the risk register only includes a small number of risks

APC Trainer on... sustainability (M009)


23 May, 2008 By Stephen Hateley This week we tackle sustainability (M009), an APC mandatory competency Sustainability competencies test a range of your skills, including professional practice, business, interpersonal and management, and you need all of them to be a chartered surveyor. As a mandatory competency, sustainability only needs to be demonstrated to level 1. But note that it is also an optional competency for some qualification routes that can be achieved at level 2 and 3. If you recall from previous articles, assessors are trained to ask questions that ascertain candidates progress against the three APC competency levels: Level 1 knowledge and understanding (knowing) Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (doing) Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (advising) The following questions are typical of those that could be reasonably expected at Final Assessment.

Level 1
Question What regulations and codes of practice govern the construction industries approach to sustainability? Answer The candidate should demonstrate a broad appreciation of some of the awareness of following: - The Building Regulations - Code for Sustainable Homes - PPS22 Renewable Energy - Energy Certification of Buildings - Site Waste Management Plans - BREEAM Assessment, Etc

Level 2
Question What is the purpose of Site Waste Management Plans and when do they apply? Answer The candidate would be expected to know that from 6 April 2008 it became compulsory for contractors to prepare a Site Waste Management Plan for any construction project with an estimated cost over 300,000. Slightly different rules apply to jobs with a value over 500,000. The idea is that, by becoming aware of how much waste is being produced, contractors then take steps to minimise and reduce it. A person is made responsible for firstly estimating, and then recording how much waste is produced and recycled during the job. The Plan must be regularly updated and lessons learnt as the job proceeds.

Level 3
Question How could a house builder improve the sustainability performance of the houses they build and how could this be proven by them? Answer The Code for Sustainable Homes is a voluntary standard to guide industry in the design and construction of sustainable homes. The Code uses a sustainability rating system indicated by stars, to communicate the overall sustainability rating of a home. A rating of one (*) to six (******) stars depending on the extent to which it has achieved Code standards. One star is entry level above the Building Regulations and six stars is the highest level reflecting exemplary development in sustainability terms. The Code complements the system of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) that also provides key information about the energy efficiency/carbon performance of a home. In terms of practical measures that can be taken, the candidate would be expected to demonstrate an appreciation of some of the following: - Insulation reduce heat loss through building fabric - Household waste storage encourage recycling - Drying space allowing clothes to be dried without energy use - Internal lighting use energy efficient fittings - Ecolabelled white goods - Low or Zero Carbon Techonology use local renewable or low carbon energy

- Cycle storage providing secure cycle storage - Home office providing quiet rooms for home working - External water storage e.g. using water butts for external irrigation/watering - Responsible sourcing of materials - Composting facilities

APC Trainer on... Client Care (M003)


20 May, 2008 By Alastair Bloore How to handle client relationships This week we're looking at how to handle questions in your APC exam on managing client relationships. These crop up under the M003 Client Care part of the exam. As with previous topics, the question has three levels of competence. At level 1 you need to show general knowledge of the principles of client care. At level 2, you must demonstrate you have experience of appyling the principles. The competency definition at level 3 is not particularly specific - it merely says you must provide evidence of reasoned advice given to clients and others - but we suggest how you can respond to this below.

Competency Level 1
Question Can you give me an overview of the principles of client care as you see it applies to your area of practice? Answer The level 1 response requires a general overview of client care and the competency guidance notes split the area in to the following three sub sections. The types of issue to be covered under each of these areas are suggested below. The concept of identifying clients / colleagues / third parties who are your clients and the behaviours that are appropriate to establishing good client relationships. Identifying Clients This area should consider both existing and potential new clients. It is important to address that client care for an existing client base is vital and requires active management. The process of identifying new potential clients in a particular market sector and how to attract them to your business Types of Client An understanding that different industry sectors have varying structures and these affect the nature of the client and their general objectives and interests Behaviours An overview of professional conduct with reference to the RICS guidance on ethics and the rules for practices and individuals. The candidate may also wish to input their personal views on what makes a good

client / provider relationship such as clarity of remit, clear communication, setting realistic expectations, timely deliver, quality of outputs, etc The systems and procedures that are appropriate for managing the process of client care, including complaints. Client Care on Projects Clarity of communication lines and ongoing dialogue with the client on the deliverables of the team and their input to the project Client Account Management The process of structured account management, ensuring that developments in the client organisation are tracked and that there is interaction at a number of seniority levels. Additionally the process of maintaining regular contact away from current live projects to identify how assistance can be provided with longer term client business objectives Client Feedback Processes for collecting and responding to client feedback. Alternative processes such as project reviews, informal feedback and managed client satisfaction surveys Client Business Development Activities The concept of arranging off line business development activities and events as a mechanism to build broader relationships with clients Complaints Maintaining alternative lines of communication / routes for complaints and how these should be dealt with by a practice. The RICS guidance on ethics and expected standards of behaviour should be referred to as well as the option for clients to make formal complaints to the RICS The requirement to collect data, analyse and define the needs of clients. The Briefing Process The importance of the briefing process and defining a clear scope of work for the team so that the expectations of both parties are aligned Job Planning The internal process of planning how the clients requirements will be met for both specific deliverables and broader input to the project, together with how this relates to the pricing and management of the commission Continuous Client Management identifying a process to capture any changes to the needs of the client and the project

Competency Level 2
Question Please provide an example of how you have applied a number of these principles within your business activities? Answer At the next level the candidate needs to demonstrate how the above principles have been applied in practice. As the level 1 question is very broad it would not normally be necessary to cover all of the above issues, but the candidate should show some depth of knowledge of particular systems applicable to their work. Taking a typical scenario of a Cost Consultant working on a number of property development projects the types of issue to be detailed could include: Explanation of who the primary client is and any other parties to which there is an obligation to deliver information / outputs both internally and across the professional team. What the candidate did to maintain client care and develop relationships. The specific objectives of the client driven by their business aims and the industry they operate in and how these were interpreted Explanation of the organisations processes for obtaining feedback from clients as a project progresses. This may include feedback to the project team as the job progresses through those managing the project as well as what client satisfaction surveys are undertaken by the company and how these are reported An overview of the companys processes for dealing with client complaints and how corrective actions internally are identified and implemented

Competency Level 3
Question Please provide evidence of reasoned advice given to clients and others. Answer The level 3 competency description (repeated in the question above) is quite vague and does not provide the candidate with any more guidance of what is required beyond the general definitions of the level 1, 2 & 3 competencies. Given the context of the question I would suggest that level 3 competence would involve the candidate having been part of some form of client care initiative, i.e. having been party to the design of the system rather than just having applied the organisations processes as might have been expected at level 2.

Examples of client care initiatives that could be discussed would include items such as: Design and implementation of a client feedback process Design and implementation of process for handling client complaints Active involvement in a Customer Relationship Management system Development of the client identification and client care elements of a business / marketing plan for part of the candidates organisation Because of the lack of clarity in the level 3 competency definition this makes it difficult for the candidate to be sure that they have met the requirements. To confidently submit at level 3 the candidate would want to ensure they have substantial direct experience in an applicable, such as those outlined above.

APC Trainer on... T033 Fire Safety


24 April, 2008 Fire: Prevention and protection This week, we're looking at the effects of fire, how the combustion process operates and the principles of fire prevention and protection (T033 Fire Safety). When you take your APC, at competency level 3, you'll be asked to demonstrate you understand the principles by talking through a fire strategy for a sample building you have been involved in.

Competency Level 1
Question Please provide an overview of the consequences of fire within a building and how fire risk can be reduced through preventative and protective fire safety principles. Answer This is quite a broad question and the candidate should look to break down the response into a number of key areas. The following would be relevant to this question: Provide examples of the consequences of fire Look at how the type of building and enclosure will determine the impact of fire Overview safety principles to minimise risk from fire The Consequences of Fire The consequences of fire can be wide ranging and include: Loss of life Injuries as a result of the fire or evacuation of the building Property damage - both cosmetic and structural Loss of data and records Loss of business Reputation damage arising from difficulties in continuing to trade

Building Type Influences on Fire Impact Three things are required for a fire to start an ignition point (e.g. faulty electrical equipment), a fuel source (e.g. the actual appliance and material around it) and lastly oxygen (which in most instances we cannot avoid). These three elements make up what is known as the fire triangle. In terms of building type, the main influences are on the fuel source and oxygen supply elements of the fire triangle. The design of the building and the materials and appliances that are incorporated into it, will ultimately have an effect to whether a fire could start and consequently spread. There are also features of the building use that affect fuel sources with the simple example being the storage of paper records. Examples relating to fuel sources would include the materials used in the construction and finishing such as timber, furniture, carpets and the like. Examples relating to oxygen supply include open windows and doors which promote rapid fire spread, lift and ventilation shafts which can act as chimneys and ventilation ducts which can allow the spread of smoke and fire. The building may also be fitted with both passive and active fire controls. Examples of passive controls would include fire doors, duct fire dampers and electrical fault protection equipment. Candidates should show they understand in greater detail some of these components, for example with fire doors there could be an explanation of how a fire doors are rated and recognised in existing buildings, the role of self closing devices and intumescent strips, etc. Active controls would include fire detection systems and sprinklers. The candidate could further demonstrate their competence by explaining the difference between heat detection and smoke detection systems, showing an understanding of zoning in a buildings and also how addressable alarm systems can be used in more complex buildings. It is important to be clear that fire prevention must always be considered first before looking at fire protection measures, although this is not to say that fire protection measures should be ignored. Fire Safety Principles To reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring and possible loss of life / injuries that may happen as a result, the professional team need to ensure that key fire safety principles are embedded throughout the process of design and specification. In short, the design and use of the building needs to ensure that the 3 elements of the fire triangle (fuel, heat, oxygen) do not come together. Candidates should demonstrate a basic understanding of Part B Building Regulations and Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, together with how the two pieces of legislation sit together and the relevant enforcing authorities. Further knowledge of legislation could be demonstrated by

explaining how the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 superseded the Fire Precautions Act and the options to design in accordance with the prescriptive requirements of Part B or the Building Regulations or a Fire Engineered solution. Candidates should also show their understanding of how building design and layout affects fire safety by covering topics such as the concept of travel distances within a building, horizontal and vertical escape, building compartmentalisation, what is meant by dead-end corridors and inner rooms together with how these are treated from a fire safety perspective. There are also aspects of fire risk reduction that relate to how the design of the building layout is configured. For example a kitchen provides many potential sources of ignition and the layout would ideally locate this room away from others that could provide major sources of fuel, for example archive storage rooms. Although not specifically the focus of the question here, it would be worth the candidate showing an awareness of fire safety when the building passes into use. This would include maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems, training and organisation of fire wardens, fire risk assessments and personnel evacuation briefings.

Level 2
Question Give a practical example of how a fire can take effect and give examples of the physiological and psychological effects from fire. Provide an overview of the factors that would be taken into account in conducting a fire risk assessment. Answer A simple example of how a fire could take hold would be an electrical fault in a photo copy machine. The electrical system failure could provide the ignition source (although this risk is mitigated to a large degree normally through the protection provided on electrical circuits and the insulation of parts) and the paper in the machine could provide the fuel supply. The fire would initially feed off the oxygen in the building space in which the copier was housed and may then spread to furniture and other elements of the building fabric. The degree to which the fire then spreads within the building then depends on the compartmentalisation of the space, how that compartmentalisation restricts the air flow to the fire and the fire ratings on the components (fire doors etc) that are providing the containment. The physiological effects of fire can include: Smoke inhalation Burns Singed hair

Unconsciousness Death The psychological effects from being involved in a fire incident include: Panic Fear Post Traumatic Distress Disorder Behavioural problems Low self esteem Fire Risk Assessment In undertaking fire risk assessments reference should be made to the Building regulations and Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This provides requirements and guidance on the issues that should be taken into account which include: Sources of ignition Sources of fuel Compartmentalisation of the building The number of width of escape routes including the concept of discounting one stair for MoE calculations The length of escape routes Compartmentalisation of escape routes Smoke discharge systems Emergency lighting of different types including where it is appropriate to use each type Smoke extract ventilation Escape route signage Time it takes to get out of the building Fire detections systems and different categories of fire alarm

Fire suppression systems / devices and the different types of these, for example the use of inert gas suppression in comm rooms

Level 3
Question Talk me though a fire strategy for a building which you have been involved in and explain the factors that were taken into account. Answer The response to the level three question will clearly be specific to the candidates particular experience. Through the response the candidate should demonstrate the application of the principles outlined above in developing the fire strategy and explain how that strategy is validated and then used during the design process. The strategy itself should demonstrate the ways in which the chosen design and specification meet the requirements of the relevant building and fire regulations. It should provide the philosophy around which fire safety and fire protection measures can be further defined as the design process proceeds and sets out the evacuation strategy including any phasing in more complex buildings.

APC Trainer on... Procurement and Tendering Competence (T062)


18 April, 2008 This is a core competency for both quantity surveyors and project managers that the candidate must demonstrate competence to level 3 This week, we continue our look at the competency of Procurement and Tendering (T062). This is a core competency for both quantity surveyors and project managers that the candidate must demonstrate competence to level 3. If you recall from previous articles, assessors are trained to ask questions that ascertain candidates progress against the three APC competency levels: Level 1 knowledge and understanding (knowing) Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (doing) Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (advising) The following questions are typical of those that could be reasonably expected at Final Assessment - particularly if the candidate has experience of working on projects using the construction management procurement route: Level 1 Describe the Construction Management procurement route what are the key issues? The candidate should know that the Construction Manager is essentially a consultant engaged under a secure agreement, who is paid a fee for the organisation and planning of construction work on site ensuring it is carried out in the most efficient manner. The design work is undertaken by a design team engaged by the Employer, while the construction work itself is carried out by a number of so called Trade Contractors, each of whom enters into a direct contract with the Employer. The key issues raised by this procurement route include: There is no single point of responsibility related to the delivery of the project. There is greater role of Trade Contractors in the completion of their design work and co-ordination of their work with other packages. The co-ordination and management at interfaces between different trade packages is of utmost importance.

Level 2 I note from your papers that you work for a Construction Manager describe your companys duties on your current project? The Construction Managers roles and responsibilities go well beyond the scope of work of a typical contractor and require specialist resources for successful delivery. The candidate would be expected to demonstrate knowledge of the following duties: Programming of design and construction activity, including information release programmes, approvals and reprogramming to meet overall completion dates. Advising on buildability construction methodologies and sequencing including assistance with the selection of materials or, in some instances, the use of prefabrication. Commenting on and monitoring the progress of design development. Advising on requirements for preconstruction works, temporary works, mock-ups and testing. Packaging up the works into well co-ordinated and clearly demarcated trade contracts, together with the definition of the transfer of design responsibility. Advising on the pre-qualification of Trade Contractors. Preparing and collating pre-qualification and tender documentation together with the administration and negotiation of the tender process. Managing, planning and controlling the work of Trade Contractors, including the administration of design approvals and inspections. Monitoring and reporting on overall progress, advising on issues related to trade contractor performance and forecasting the impact of design changes or disruption to the progress of the works. Managing financial aspects of the project, including trade contract valuations, claims and administration of contra-charges. Initiating action by the client and project team to mitigate delays or cost overrun.

Level 3 A client wishes to understand the advantages of construction management as a procurement route compared with a more traditional approach what would you advise them? The candidate would be expected to present a response citing some of the following: Acceleration of the overall project programme Enhanced ability to incorporate change into the design Delayed completion of design elements, such as retail fit-out or hotel fixtures and fittings, that can be finished later without affecting the overall programme Involvement of specialist Trade Contractors in design and construction Creation of a less adversarial, problem-solving project culture Level 3 Can a Construction Manager be held liable if a project goes wrong? The candidate would be expected to be familiar with the principles established in the case of Great Eastern Hotel vs. John Laing Construction and be able to comment on its implications

APC Trainer on Procurement and Tendering competence (T062)


10 April, 2008 This week, we guide your through the core competency for the Quantity Surveyor and Construction pathway, which the candidate must achieve at level three By Dean Mills This week's APC Trainer article focuses on the Procurement and Tendering competence (T062) and in particular two stage tendering. Well explain the type of questions the APC assessor may ask and what they look for from the candidate to demonstrate they have achieved the required level of competence. This is a core competency for the Quantity Surveying and Construction pathway, which the candidate must achieve at level three. As noted in previous Building APC articles, to achieve competence levels two and three, the candidate must be able to demonstrate actual experience. At level three, you must give reasoned advice to clients. The questions and answers will be dependent upon the candidates actual experience and the pathway they have followed, so the questions and answers below should be considered as indicative only.

Level 1
Question What do you understand by two stage procurement and what are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of this route? Answer Two stage tendering is currently very popular in the market and is the preferred route for a number of public sector clients and contractors in general. There are a number of variants on the two stage tendering process and it may be used through a traditional or design and build approach. Typically, a stage one contractor is appointed early on in the design, around RIBA stage C or D, on the basis of limited information, with the objective of achieving cost-certain and time-certain outcomes for the employer through further negotiation with the preferred contractor. A contract for the construction works is entered into at the end of stage two once the detailed design, procurement and planning work is complete. In considering the advantages and disadvantages of two stage, the candidate would not be expected to identify every item below, although you do need to demonstrate a good general understanding. The advantages can be considered from the client and contractors perspective:

Advantages Clients : o Early involvement of the main contractor and their supply chain enables their input into buildability and value engineering as the design progresses o Encourages collaborative working between the main contractor, their supply chain and the design team o Potential for earlier start on site through enabling works o Potential for greater client involvement in selecting the supply chain o Reduced risk of price increases during construction stage, as greater tendering certainty can be achieved through second stage procurement process o Improved programme certainty prior to contract, through early contractor involvement and allowing sufficient time to consider sequencing, lead ins and specialist works o Reduced risk of construction delays due to improved planning during second stage o Potential to transfer a greater degree of design and other construction risk to the contractor o Contractor can help identify and manage risks at an earlier stage Contractors : o Costs of abortive tendering significantly reduced o Profitability secured through first stage and costs secured through second stage procurement o Contractor can influence the design, programme and delivery strategy at an earlier stage o Less risk for the contractor as they are able to achieve greater cost and programme certainty prior to committing to a lump sum Disadvantages/ Risks o Unless all packages are firmed up, or the risk is transferred to the contractor, the client will not achieve procurement cost certainty at the end of the second stage and may commence construction with an element of provisional sums to be firmed up post contract

o Costs can increase and delays can occur if the contractors design information release requirements are not adhered to by the design team o Additional pre construction costs in the appointment of the contractor o Commitment required to the contractors stage two costs prior to achieving cost certainty on the construction works o Procurement takes longer than single stage and this may delay the start on site date o All advantages can be lost if the team fail to engage and therefore the approach and quality of the consulting and second stage contracting team is essential. o A contractor could take advantage of the second stage negotiations leading to cost increases and a higher than anticipated second stage tender o Potential for failure of the parties to agree the contract sum at the end of stage two, leaving the client open to the risk and cost of re-tendering

Level 2
Question On your project [X], which was carried out under a two stage procurement approach, what selection criteria was applied in appointing the contractor at stage one? Answer The candidate should be able to draw upon their experience to explain the commercial and technical/ qualitative criteria used, the weighting applied and why these were applied. Commercial criteria: o The costs requested from the contractor at stage 1 will vary depending upon the contracting approach, the stage of the project, the information available for the contractor to price and whether any enabling works are required. The costs should be split into stage two and construction stage and would typically include : Staff costs Overhead and profit Allowances for risk Design team fees if under a design and build route Detailed preliminaries pricing

The contractor may also be requested to provide a lump sum for enabling works or some early works packages Technical criteria would typically include: o Contractors approach to two stage tendering, including commercial considerations, interfacing with the design team and ability to provide value for money o Relevant experience and track record of contractor o Structure and experience of proposed team at each stage o Appropriateness of resource applied to second stage and construction o Understanding the project objectives and constraints and how these will be achieved o Health and safety track record and approach The weighting of the selection criteria should be agreed with the client prior to tender and communicated to all tenderers. It should be heavily weighted towards the technical/ qualitative criteria to obtain best overall value for money from the two stage process.

Level 3
Question How did you evaluate the stage 1 tender returns and how did you then make your recommendation to the client? Answer The candidate should relate to their actual project in providing the answer to this competency based question, which may include : Tender Evaluation : o Tender returns checked for compliance with the invitation to tender o Arithmetical checks carried out on cost components o Any non compliant tenders treated in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Invitation to Tender o All tenders aligned on a like for like basis and compared with each other and the pre tender estimate o Analysis undertaken of resource levels committed by each contractor and on the merits of the team proposed o Post tender interviews carried out with short listed tenderers

o Tenders scored against the pre-determined selection criteria Tender recommendation report prepared and presented to client, including : o Bid history o Summary of tender returns o Aligned tenders o Scoring of tenders against technical and commercial criteria o Recommendation on what tender represents overall best value for money o Outline of future actions and contracting approach

APC Trainer: Cost Management, T010 and T022


3 April, 2008 By Stephen Hateley Cost Management of Construction, Design Economics and Cost Planning This weeks question focuses on the questions relating to the Cost Management of Construction (T010) competency although they could also be asked under Design Economics and Cost Planning (T022). If you recall from previous articles, assessors are trained to ask questions that ascertain candidates progress against the three APC competency levels: Level 1 knowledge and understanding (knowing) Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (doing) Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (advising) The following questions are typical of those that could be reasonably expected at Final Assessment. Level 1 What are the sources of cost data that are often used by surveyors when preparing estimates? The candidate would be expected to know most of the following: Historic cost information from previous projects undertaken by the candidates company Manufacturer and supplier literature BCIS Cost models and cost data published in industry magazines (such as Building!) Price books Level 2 What in formation would typically accompany a budget estimate for a construction project? The candidate should list and describe some of the following:

A covering letter Executive summary Specification notes Assumptions Exclusions Cash flow information Drawings and other information upon which the estimate is based A list of value enhancing alternative suggestions or options A risk register Etc Level 3 It is 5.30pm on a Friday afternoon. A client phones you and says that they are on their way to a meeting to buy a plot of land. She wants to know how much hotels cost to build? in order to calculate the price to pay for the land. She wishes to have your advice within the next hour. How do you advise the client? The assessors would look for a broad understanding that demonstrates the appropriate level of competency. The candidate should clearly explain that their company could be liable to the client for any information that is provided. They would expect the candidate to convey the difficulty in providing accurate information in such a situation and explore the options to gain more time. The candidate should then describe a logical approach which could be along the following lines: Try and contact a more senior member of staff or discuss with senior colleagues Request further information from the client regarding: o Site location o Site condition o Development area (m2) / number of bedrooms o Quality (star rating) o Timescale

o Site access and service provision o Etc Based on /m2 then calculate a construction cost based on historic cost information (described above). Make allowance for external areas. Provide a range of costs and be clear as to assumptions and exclusions. State a level of accuracy. Confirm conversation in writing.

APC Trainer: Option Appraisal (T060)


26 March, 2008 By Alastair Bloore Options when developing a scheme (T060 Option Appraisal) This weeks question focuses on the appraisal and selection of different options when developing a scheme (T060 Option Appraisal). The competency definitions are quite open and allow the candidate to focus on particular option appraisal methodologies that they may be experienced in provided they can demonstrate a broad base knowledge of the factors involved.

Competency Level 1
Question Can you provide an overview of the generic process for the appraisal of different options in the development of a property project and identify a number of particular approaches. Answer The candidate should seek to demonstrate a basic understanding of the option appraisal process which has generic underlying stages as follows: Option Evaluation Criteria - Determine the evaluation criteria against which the options will be assessed Option Identification Identify and define the options to be evaluated Data Collation Collate the relevant data in each of the selection criteria areas aiming for a consistent level of detail for each option Option Appraisal Evaluate the options against the set criteria in a structured form Option Selection Based on the evaluation, select the preferred option In practice there are a range of recognised appraisal evaluation methodologies which are used in different situations depending on the complexity of the problem and the objectives of the client. A sample of these methodologies would include: Capital Cost The most basic of approaches is to select an option based on simple capital cost. This tends to be appropriate when there are minimal life cycle implications and performance criteria are well defined. The approach is often used when selecting commodity materials, for example aggregates, where once the baseline specification is met then price becomes the dominate factor.

Whole Life Cost A more sophisticated way of appraising options is to consider life cycle costs, commonly over a 30 year period. This is generally used where the client has an interest in the whole life of the asset or component. An example would be the selection of a road surface material where capital costs, maintenance costs and the time to replacement are all important factors to be modelled prior to selecting the optimal solution. In life cycle models a discount factor is commonly applied to reflect the differential value of investment in the present an in future years. The methodology is standard in PFI / PPP projects where the bidder has a long term interest in the project. Pay Back Period In certain business situations a high importance will be placed on the payback period and this may be used as a key decision factor in the appraisal of options. An example would be the consideration of the optimal technology for on site energy generation. The capital and operational costs of the energy generation system would be modelled against the value of the energy generated to determine the period of time required before the income from the system exceeds the expenditure. The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the option. Full Commercial Business Case At a project level it is common to undertake a full commercial business case appraisal of major project options. An example would be the modelling of two options for a mixed use development where the proportions of leisure, commercial, retail and residential use can be varied. Within a full commercial business case the impact of these decisions on whole life cost, revenue and residual values can be considered to give an overall comparison of options. Value Management Structured Option Appraisal This is a particular technique that can be used within a value management approach to the appraisal of options. In this scenario the functionality delivered by the option is evaluated separately from the life cycle cost to determine an expression of value, where value equals function over cost. The value management approach to assessing function is particularly appropriate where there are soft performance objectives, such as enhancing reputation, which are hard to put a financial value against. The functional performance criteria are often weighted so that when each is evaluated and the scores combined, the total performance rating reflects the different importance placed on each of the evaluation criteria. As noted above there are a number of these different methodologies and it is important to select the appropriate one dependant upon the particular problem at hand.

Competency Level 2
Question Can you explain how you would select a particular method for a problem that you may face in your work and what data would be required to support the evaluation.

Answer In this situation it is often useful to put forward an example scenario around which to base the response. For this question a suitable scenario would be the appraisal of two competing options for the design layout of a school. For simplicity let us assume that this is a facility being developed directly by the client rather than under a PFI arrangement. To select the option appraisal method most suitable it is first important to determine what factors will differentiate the options. These factors will clearly include capital and maintenance costs, however there will be other softer factors that are important in the layout such as the quality of the educational environment, ease of operational management and long term flexibility of the facility. In this scenario, because of the softer performance criteria that are hard to quantify in a commercial form, a structured option appraisal using the value management approach would be suitable. The first step in this value management approach is to determine the key criteria against which each option will be rated. These are in turn linked to the objectives of the client. The criteria would also need to be given a relative weighting and although not explained here, there are methodologies for determining these weightings. In this example the criteria could include: 50% - Quality of Educational Environment 20% - Ease of Management (pupil circulation, minimisation of dead ends, etc) 15% - Building adaptability to accommodate long term change in demand / use 15% - Inspirational architecture, providing a land mark building and community focal point For each of these criteria it would be necessary to determine a way of evaluating the options and identifying a score, commonly each being rated out of 10. In some cases there may be structured approaches to determining these scores but often this is a qualitative process based on experienced group evaluation of the relative merits of each scheme. Each scheme is scored against each criteria and the scores combined using the weightings to give an overall rating of how well each option performs against the set objectives. To provide the other part of the evaluation a whole life cost would need to be developed for each option. To enable this to be developed a time period would need to be agreed over which the life cycle costs would be considered. Scheme information at a similar level would be required to develop the capital costs taking care to ensure a consistent approach in the estimating as well as the evaluation of any differential risks between the schemes. To determine the operational costs it would be important to agree the scope of the exercise, for example elements may include cleaning, maintenance, life expiry replacements and client operational costs.

These two sides of the value equation can then be considered in making an overall recommendation.

Competency Level 3
Question Can you talk me though a particular option appraisal that you have been involved in and bring out the key points that were important in the process delivering a robust recommendation? Answer It is not possible to give a sample response to this type of question as it has to be based directly on the experience of the candidate. However, in selecting an example the candidate should be looking for a situation where the options are at a relatively high level (e.g. the mixed use or school layout examples above as opposed to small component selection exercise) so that they can bring into the answer a range of factors. Key areas to bring out of the discussion would include: A short overview of the problem The reasons behind the selection of the methodology The candidates exact role in the appraisal The information gathered and how this came together to present a recommendation Any problems in gathering and processing the information Any problems encountered outside of the formal methodology, for example problems getting buy-in to the recommendation or personal preferences influencing the appraisal Any lessons learnt that would be applied in a similar future situation

APC Trainer: Option Appraisal (T060)


26 March, 2008 By Alastair Bloore Options when developing a scheme (T060 Option Appraisal) This weeks question focuses on the appraisal and selection of different options when developing a scheme (T060 Option Appraisal). The competency definitions are quite open and allow the candidate to focus on particular option appraisal methodologies that they may be experienced in provided they can demonstrate a broad base knowledge of the factors involved.

Competency Level 1
Question Can you provide an overview of the generic process for the appraisal of different options in the development of a property project and identify a number of particular approaches. Answer The candidate should seek to demonstrate a basic understanding of the option appraisal process which has generic underlying stages as follows: Option Evaluation Criteria - Determine the evaluation criteria against which the options will be assessed Option Identification Identify and define the options to be evaluated Data Collation Collate the relevant data in each of the selection criteria areas aiming for a consistent level of detail for each option Option Appraisal Evaluate the options against the set criteria in a structured form Option Selection Based on the evaluation, select the preferred option In practice there are a range of recognised appraisal evaluation methodologies which are used in different situations depending on the complexity of the problem and the objectives of the client. A sample of these methodologies would include: Capital Cost The most basic of approaches is to select an option based on simple capital cost. This tends to be appropriate when there are minimal life cycle implications and performance criteria are well defined. The approach is often used when selecting commodity materials, for example aggregates, where once the baseline specification is met then price becomes the dominate factor.

Whole Life Cost A more sophisticated way of appraising options is to consider life cycle costs, commonly over a 30 year period. This is generally used where the client has an interest in the whole life of the asset or component. An example would be the selection of a road surface material where capital costs, maintenance costs and the time to replacement are all important factors to be modelled prior to selecting the optimal solution. In life cycle models a discount factor is commonly applied to reflect the differential value of investment in the present an in future years. The methodology is standard in PFI / PPP projects where the bidder has a long term interest in the project. Pay Back Period In certain business situations a high importance will be placed on the payback period and this may be used as a key decision factor in the appraisal of options. An example would be the consideration of the optimal technology for on site energy generation. The capital and operational costs of the energy generation system would be modelled against the value of the energy generated to determine the period of time required before the income from the system exceeds the expenditure. The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the option. Full Commercial Business Case At a project level it is common to undertake a full commercial business case appraisal of major project options. An example would be the modelling of two options for a mixed use development where the proportions of leisure, commercial, retail and residential use can be varied. Within a full commercial business case the impact of these decisions on whole life cost, revenue and residual values can be considered to give an overall comparison of options. Value Management Structured Option Appraisal This is a particular technique that can be used within a value management approach to the appraisal of options. In this scenario the functionality delivered by the option is evaluated separately from the life cycle cost to determine an expression of value, where value equals function over cost. The value management approach to assessing function is particularly appropriate where there are soft performance objectives, such as enhancing reputation, which are hard to put a financial value against. The functional performance criteria are often weighted so that when each is evaluated and the scores combined, the total performance rating reflects the different importance placed on each of the evaluation criteria. As noted above there are a number of these different methodologies and it is important to select the appropriate one dependant upon the particular problem at hand.

Competency Level 2
Question Can you explain how you would select a particular method for a problem that you may face in your work and what data would be required to support the evaluation.

Answer In this situation it is often useful to put forward an example scenario around which to base the response. For this question a suitable scenario would be the appraisal of two competing options for the design layout of a school. For simplicity let us assume that this is a facility being developed directly by the client rather than under a PFI arrangement. To select the option appraisal method most suitable it is first important to determine what factors will differentiate the options. These factors will clearly include capital and maintenance costs, however there will be other softer factors that are important in the layout such as the quality of the educational environment, ease of operational management and long term flexibility of the facility. In this scenario, because of the softer performance criteria that are hard to quantify in a commercial form, a structured option appraisal using the value management approach would be suitable. The first step in this value management approach is to determine the key criteria against which each option will be rated. These are in turn linked to the objectives of the client. The criteria would also need to be given a relative weighting and although not explained here, there are methodologies for determining these weightings. In this example the criteria could include: 50% - Quality of Educational Environment 20% - Ease of Management (pupil circulation, minimisation of dead ends, etc) 15% - Building adaptability to accommodate long term change in demand / use 15% - Inspirational architecture, providing a land mark building and community focal point For each of these criteria it would be necessary to determine a way of evaluating the options and identifying a score, commonly each being rated out of 10. In some cases there may be structured approaches to determining these scores but often this is a qualitative process based on experienced group evaluation of the relative merits of each scheme. Each scheme is scored against each criteria and the scores combined using the weightings to give an overall rating of how well each option performs against the set objectives. To provide the other part of the evaluation a whole life cost would need to be developed for each option. To enable this to be developed a time period would need to be agreed over which the life cycle costs would be considered. Scheme information at a similar level would be required to develop the capital costs taking care to ensure a consistent approach in the estimating as well as the evaluation of any differential risks between the schemes. To determine the operational costs it would be important to agree the scope of the exercise, for example elements may include cleaning, maintenance, life expiry replacements and client operational costs.

These two sides of the value equation can then be considered in making an overall recommendation.

Competency Level 3
Question Can you talk me though a particular option appraisal that you have been involved in and bring out the key points that were important in the process delivering a robust recommendation? Answer It is not possible to give a sample response to this type of question as it has to be based directly on the experience of the candidate. However, in selecting an example the candidate should be looking for a situation where the options are at a relatively high level (e.g. the mixed use or school layout examples above as opposed to small component selection exercise) so that they can bring into the answer a range of factors. Key areas to bring out of the discussion would include: A short overview of the problem The reasons behind the selection of the methodology The candidates exact role in the appraisal The information gathered and how this came together to present a recommendation Any problems in gathering and processing the information Any problems encountered outside of the formal methodology, for example problems getting buy-in to the recommendation or personal preferences influencing the appraisal Any lessons learnt that would be applied in a similar future situation

APC Trainer on... Contract Practice (T017)


12 March, 2008 Contract practice: What you should know This week were looking at the core competency Contract Practice (T017). The competency covers a wide range of issues around contracts and how they are used in the construction industry. A candidate is expected to have a good understanding of this side of the business and for quantity surveyors in particular this is at level 3. It is not uncommon to get asked specific questions in relation to contract practice, so candidates need to have a good working knowledge of all key issues relating to contracts and how they work. Here we focus on one of those issues, Liquidated and Ascertained Damages, and the type of questions that an APC assessor could potentially ask, what are they, what is their purpose, how do they work etc. Liquidated and Ascertained Damages is an issue that quantity surveyors deal with regularly. So you will be expected to understand and respond in detail.

Level 1
Often candidates are not asked about Liquidated and Ascertained damages directly. It is more common that candidates will be asked about a recent project they have been involved in and how they developed the contract strategy, why did they recommend a particular form of contract etc. As this discussion develops, you may get asked a question such as: Question So the completion date was a key issue for the client in developing the contract strategy. What mechanisms exist under the form of contract you recommended to protect the clients position with regards to the completion date? Answer One of the issues you would be expected to highlight in your answer would be the Liquidated and Ascertained damages clause. You should then be ready for a follow up question along the lines of: Question Can you clarify what Liquidated and Ascertained Damages are?

Answer Here you will need to demonstrate that you understand what Liquidated and Ascertained damages are, including: Genuine pre-estimate of a clients loss should the completion date be missed. Cost usually expressed per week or part thereof and identified in the contract. Damages cannot be construed as a penalty.

Level 2
As we have previously identified competency at level 2 is generally focussed on having an application of knowledge and understanding doing. From a Quantity Surveying perspective this means demonstrating a working knowledge of the development and operation of Liquidated and Ascertained Damages clauses. Taking the level 1 questions a little further to level 2 candidates may well be asked questions along the following lines: Question How did you actually set about advising the client on the level of liquidated and ascertained damages to insert into the contract? What issues did you take account of? Answer Here you will need to describe the process of developing a figure to insert into the contract and the method of calculating the damages - including issues such as: Loss of rent or other income Additional fees Fines from statutory bodies Costs imposed by other parties on the client Costs incurred by the client as a consequence of not having the building available (storage, rent of other premises, abortive costs etc) Any other costs that justifiably the client will incur if they do not have the building on the agreed date. It may be worthwhile again clarifying that the figure cannot be construed by the courts as a penalty and thus the client needs to be realistic in what he

identifies as potential costs. Demonstrate that you will question and interrogate the reason and logic behind each of the costs in order to ensure you are comfortable that they should be included. Question What is the implication of inserting nil in the appendix against the Liquidated and Ascertained Damages clause? What is the implication of leaving them blank? Answer Answering these questions will allow you to demonstrate that you understand how the clause operates and implications of ensuring that the contract is completed correctly. Placing nil against the Liquidated and Ascertained Damages clause effectively means there are no damages and the client is not entitled to deduct anything if the contract over-runs. If this is not what was intended then the client is clearly in a difficult position here, and the contractor will almost certainly argue that he took this into account when pricing the works. If Liquidated and Ascertained Damages are left blank then the client can pursue unliquidated damages if they wish to do so, but would need to do this through the courts.

Level 3
Level 3 knowledge is generally focussed on the provision of reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge advising. You would therefore be expected to be able to draw upon practical experience of operating Liquidated and Ascertained Damages clauses in order to clearly demonstrate experience in advising clients in such matters. Question Can the client still deduct Liquidated and Ascertained Damages even if he does not actually incur the loss identified in the initial calculation? Answer In essence yes providing the calculation is not deemed a penalty and is a genuine pre-estimate. Question What is the effect of an extension of time from a contractors point of view?

Answer An extension of time serves a number of purposes as far as contractors are concerned, but in the context of this question it removes the liability for Liquidated and Ascertained Damages against the original completion date and sets them against a new completion date. Question Can a quantity surveyor deduct Liquidated and Ascertained Damages from the valuation due to the contractor? Answer No the QS, along with the other project team members can advise the client of the situation with regards to Liquidated and Ascertained Damages, but cannot actually deduct them. This is the clients responsibility. Question Can you explain a bit more about unliquidated damages what are they and how are they pursued? Answer As we have previously identified unliquidated damages tend to be something that are pursued through the courts and generally are demonstrated through the client proving actual loss in a specific set of circumstances. Coming across a situation where unliquidated damages are claimed is not too common, but if candidates can demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the term, this will stand them in good stead during the assessment. By Alasdair Thompson, divisional director responsible for Western Business Unit, Franklin + Andrews Postscript : Building's advice is intended as guidance only and should not replace study.

Readers' comments

Claire Walsh 16 March, 2008 These APC trainer articles are very useful! I am doing the valuation competency to level 2 and I am currently struggling to differentiate between levels 2 and 3 - some example questions on this would be much appreciated. Claire.

Ben Senior 26 March, 2008 The APC Trainer facility is excellent - really helpful. It would be really good if there was an area on the site that had all of the APC Trainer articles listed.

Editor's comment You should be able to find all the APC articles by going to http://www.building.co.uk/apctrainer

mark harris 2 April, 2008 Fantastic questions. Loved the contract practice one as actually managed to answer it correctly! I am in Dubai at the moment and plan to take my APC here. Could you advise how the questions could differ? due to the specific circumstances of the location i.e. JCT isn't widely used here and the projects are bigger so do not tend to experience the full cycle of a project..

Green lessons from Sweden


4 April, 2008 By Will Jones With growing pressure to build quick yet green buildings, the UK should look to Sweden for inspiration There is pressure to build quickly to solve the UK housing shortage but theres equal pressure to build green to combat global warming. British developers, designers, contractors and councils should look to Sweden for the answer. Sweden started to look at energy efficient construction very early, during the oil crisis in the late 1970s and early 80s, says Ole Paus, managing director of WSP Environmental SE. The cost of energy, plus our cold climate made us very aware of conserving it and finding alternative ways of producing it.

Sweden's green legacy


Some 30 years on and this trend is yet to abate. Sweden is doing very well in the environmental stakes because of it. Since the early 1980s cities including Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm have been extending the use of district heating systems that use wood pellets, household waste and biogas, as well as combined heat and power (CHP) plant to achieve up to 80% coverage of urban homes. Today, only 8% of homes depend on oil, they are far more likely to use wood pellet burners. EU targets, such as achieving 20% energy consumption from renewables by 2020, are redundant in Sweden; it had surpassed that marker by 1990. Instead the country sets its own goals. Sweden is set to become an oil-free economy by 2020; its building standards are amongst the toughest in the world; and, properties being bought and sold have to produce a kWh/sqm figure to demonstrate energy efficiency. The result is a country that has the jump on the UK when it comes to sustainable construction. Over the last decade developments such as Hammarby Sjstad in Stockholm and Malmos Western Harbour have become renowned as successful sustainable urban developments on a large scale. We did a study of high density housing in Europe a few years ago and watched Hammarby Sjstad grow, says Andy von Bradsky, chairman of PRP Architects.

It represents all that I see as being beneficial to UK urban design. Good quality homes, sustainable design, great public realm, good infrastructure and a system of procurement that encourages interaction and cooperation between the public and private sectors. Since its completion, weve taken clients and colleagues to visit Hammarby Sjstad. It is a diverse, busy neighbourhood that is full of life and excitement, offering not only the environmental benefits of sustainable design but also the social and economic ones, too. Alexandra Hagen, director of Swedish architect White Arkitekter ab, has been heavily involved in the Hammarby Sjstad development and her practice is renowned in Scandinavia for its sustainable architecture. The scheme is a very well designed and coordinated master plan for an entire area of the city, she says. This is where it differs from the isolated single building approach: politicians, the City Architect, developers and designers came together to make it happen. Similarly, in Malmo, the Western Harbour has been regenerated on the back of a partnership between 13 developers and the City. Trevor Graham, City of Malmo project manager sustainability, says: The first phase, in the late 90s, was very successful. It was funded mainly by public money but developers saw the benefits as they worked on the scheme; now, the second phase is being built to similarly high standards purely on private funds. It made commercial sense to developers and we are now seeing new proposals for the city edge that all feature many sustainable measures and innovations including passive housing, the type that needs little or no heating. Advances in housing design are already afoot in the UK, the most prominent demonstration being at the BREs Innovation Park. However, more importantly, constructors and developers are looking to bring new products to the commercial market, too. One company showing at the BRE Park was ecoTECH. Its Organics home is a closed panel timber frame solution based on the skill set found through the experience in Sweden over the past 30-40 years.

ModernaHus
Skanska has recently imported and adapted ModernaHus from its Swedish operation. It is a medium rise housing solution, now fully certified with BRE for the UK market.

It is a panelised residential concept for four to 11 storeys apartments, says Nick Forwood, head of communities marketing for Skanska UK. Skanska has invested to innovate in process, and, while using tried and tested construction methods, to offer improved quality in finish, faster onsite programmes, and become more cost effective compared to traditional solutions. ModernaHus has been designed to accommodate and be connected to PV solar panels, solar water panels, biomass CHP, ground source heat pumps and the alike. Since the total energy demand of ModernaHus is already 35% less than Part L, the cost of meeting up to 20% of total energy demand for renewable is already reduced. It also uses a whole house ventilation unit with an integral heat recovery extract to recover up to 70% of the warm air produced from the kitchens and bathrooms. Skanska is currently in the process of preparing for its first development using ModernaHus. The scheme will be submitted for planning later this year. However, these home designs are not the whole answer. Von Bradsky says: Sweden deals with its carbon footprint on two levels. The buildings are super insulated and low energy and the neighbourhoods have local energy generators and waste treatment plants. It is a vast improvement of the British model.

The role of the public authority is also very enlightening, from procurement to neighbour hood energy and waste treatment. Procurement is the most challenging element of the UK market but if there was more collaboration and inward investment for infrastructure developers would be encouraged to work with local authorities and build better communities. Graham agrees: Currently Britain has a business model that encourages developers to build boxes for people to live in; they have no incentive to build energy efficient homes. In Sweden, where the developers have become involved with local decentralized energy provision and management, they have a bigger incentive to build better homes and find new ways of providing energy and heat, such as bio-gas, CHP and waste incineration.

UK eco-innitiatives
The British governments answer to promoting sustainable growth and generating a new renewables market is currently rather less sophisticated offer cash incentives to people who install solar panels and then sit back and hope, while the scheme is oversubscribed and people get disillusioned. In contrast, Sweden has the Building and Housing Dialogue, a voluntary code for developing to strict sustainable targets to which four municipalities and 35 companies have signed to since 2003. The Swedish Energy Authority (SEA) also sets up partnering deals with buyers groups to promote design innovation. Eco-fridges, cars powered by ethanol and more efficient bath taps have all come to the Swedish market via design competitions hosted by the SEA, in which the winner is guaranteed large scale purchases of products by the buyers group.

Paus sees the benefits: These initiatives have produced results that include reusing heat from waste water; turning effluent into biogas for car and heating; we even have a large system in Stockholm that uses seawater to cool buildings. The UK is learning. The Code for Sustainable Homes aims to upgrade energy efficiency; the HIPs have energy ratings in them for house buyers; the GLA has imposed legislation that promotes renewables in London. However, the lessons we can take from Sweden do not only involve a new technology or redesigned building type. Integrated working at all levels is the key. From design teams coming together at the very start of a project; to developers working with local councils; the energy authority partnering with buyers groups; and government encouraging alternative energy production, rather than simply giving them lip service, everything is achieved through integrated working. It is the most important aspect of sustainable development, says Paus. Integration and early involvement of all parties at all levels, then you can really influence things and make a real difference to the outcome, whether it is a single house or a city-wide plan.

Assessment of prolonged cruelty


2007 issue 48 By Katie Puckett To become a chartered surveyor you must undertake an assault course than can take years to complete. Success depends on guts, fighting instinct and the tough love of a good employer. In Buildings first APC survey, Katie Puckett finds out what help the top firms offer their raw recruits While other graduates are hurling their mortarboards into the air, jumping into lakes and downing alcopops to celebrate finishing their degrees, its only the first rung in the gruelling ascent to chartership for the poor old surveyor. The real celebration wont be for another two years or more when theyve finished their Assessment of Professional Competence, or APC. The RICS APC is renowned as one of the toughest chartership programmes you can take. The average pass rate is 70%, but this drops to 59% for the building surveying faculty. It takes a minimum of two years to complete and the final months are a full-on process of cramming in preparation for an hourlong interview in front of a panel who might ask you about any area of your chosen specialism. Its not an experience you want to repeat, so what help your employer will give you to make sure you pass first time is an important consideration when youre choosing your first job. Building investigated 60 of the top 100 surveying practices to see how they measured up and set them some tough questions of our own. To get an idea of the size of their APC programmes, we asked the firms how many candidates they had put forward for it over the past 12 months, and how many had passed and become chartered. Results arent yet out for the 2007 autumn session, so the ones here only cover spring this year. Between them, the 60 firms had put forward 519 candidates in the last 12 months, and 439 had passed. Buildings investigation covers about a fifth of the 2,500 surveyors who take the RICS chartership exams every year, and with an average pass rate of 85% among these firms, arguably the cream of the crop. According to the RICS, pass rates do vary among different disciplines. Commercial property has the highest: 77%. The lowest is building surveying with that rather daunting 59% figure. Quantity surveying and project management were in the middle with 69% and 67% respectively. The APC takes a minimum of 24 months, or 400 days. Theres no reason for you to go to your final assessment until youre ready, but if youre working for one of the big commercial property firms, youre much more likely to apply for it after the minimum timeframe, and to pass first time.

Sue Roberts, operations manager at the RICS, suggests that because surveyors in those companies dont become fee-earning until theyve achieved chartership, theres more pressure on them to pass quickly. Buildings investigation bore this out. Among the biggest firms, those that offered the commercial property and residential specialisms had notably higher pass rates than firms focusing on quantity surveying, building surveying or project management. King Sturge, Knight Frank and Drivers Jonas achieved 93%, 97% and 90% respectively. Roberts has also noticed a 19% rise in the number of commercial property candidates in the 2007 autumn session perhaps because its almost the last chance to take the final assessment under the 2002 version of the APC. Last year, the RICS reviewed the programme, upping the degree of technical skills required and extending the earliest you could apply for the final assessment from 21 months to 23. Until now, the two versions have run in tandem, although 90% of candidates in the last session took the 2002 APC. After next springs session, therell be no choice but to take the later version, considered to be harder and potentially slower. Theres a real fear factor, says Roberts. People are perceiving it as a complete change, when really were just tightening it up. One of the most striking shifts in the surveying landscape over the last five years is the entry of legions of non-cognates people who did a degree in something other than surveying. In 2000, about 3,300 people took RICSaccredited degrees and 13% of these enrolled through post-graduate conversion courses. By 2005, the total had shot up to more than 7,200 and half of them came from non-surveying backgrounds. Buildings survey shows how employers have embraced non-cognates only 10 out of the 60 firms that responded ruled out putting them through a conversion course.

How much firms spend


When Building asked how many hours of internal training firms provided and how much they spend on each candidate, we found wed opened a can of worms. The answers only revealed the diversity of training programmes and the anxiousness of firms to provide the most comprehensive support. Turner & Townsend for example, came up with the figure of 12,000 on each candidate, which includes training sessions, workshops, mock interviews, travel, preparation, interview preparation, feedback sessions, mentoring, reviews and study time a pretty exhaustive list. As the APC develops skills that surveyors use in their jobs anyway, a lot of training takes place on the job. Bailey Garner, which put 11 candidates forward in the past year, says that most of its costs relate to one-to-one counselling inhouse, unquantifiable within its 60k annual training budget. Bel Appleby, HR director at property consultant Ridge, hazarded a guess of 50 hours training a year over the course. But its meaningless, she says. I doubt that any employer will be able to give you exact figures on how much training support will be offered.

True, its not an easy thing to quantify not that that deterred all our surveyors. John Rowan and Partners even submitted a sophisticated equation to calculate the hours of internal training: (8 x 3 = 24 - diary sign off, etc.) + (8 - CA review) + (6 x 2 = 8 - mock interviews). Total 40 + internal best practice sessions (8 x 1 x 2 = 16) - 56 hours. But informative though the answers were, together they presented such a confusing picture that we decided to leave them out of the table. What we definitely werent going to leave out was how firms might reward their newly qualified surveyors. After all, when youve put in all that effort, youd like a bit of recognition, wouldnt you?

Rewards and tie-in clauses


Almost all the practices promise a pay review, and often an array of other benefits such as company cars, pensions and private healthcare. Sometimes the perks double up as tie-in clauses so candidates dont up and leave as soon as theyve passed. At Atkins and its subsidiary Faithful + Gould, for example, candidates are given 7,500-worth of cash and company shares, vested for three years, so they have to stay to get the benefit. Although a lot of companies dont have a tie-in clause, among those that do, the most common arrangement is to ask for a refund of the training costs on a sliding scale, depending on how much time has elapsed since the candidate took the exam. MDA, for example, doesnt ask for the 620 worth of APC fees, but it does require leavers to pay back the amount it spends on external university courses up to 5,000. Within the first year of qualification, candidates pay back 100% of the costs, 75% after two years, 50% after three and so on. Whether such tie-in clauses work is a moot point, though MDA says it has invoked its only rarely. Of course, you could always ask your new employer to pay the bill. And perhaps thats the most important benefit of achieving chartership with the demand for skills at an all-time high, newly qualified surveyors are like gold dust. Once youve got those letters after your name, you can sit back in the knowledge that youre one of the most sought after people in the country. Dan Thomas joined Cambridge-based Bidwells in 2004 and passed his APC in project management last November, first time.

When I started working for the building consultancy business, nobody had ever sat their APC as a graduate straight from university before. I was a bit of a guinea pig. I took the job knowing there was no training scheme established, but I got a good feel for the place. We had to start from scratch, everyone was learning. So I had a lot of support because everyone was interested in getting to grips with the process. The best thing is that I was sat next to one of the 16 people who owns Bidwells. Theres a very shallow hierarchy here and a massive variety of experience. I was sitting with guys the same age as well. There were four or five other people doing the APC across the whole business. We learned the best way to get through it is to stick together. One of the guys was doing commercial property, and theres quite a lot of common ground on the ethics side or understanding the sector. Now, with the latest batch of graduates, well all go down the pub and have a Q&A session; we have an extra long lunch break on a Friday with a question of the week that can come from anywhere in the business. As a graduate, youre always in demand you can make a job efficient because you cost less. So you get to work in all different departments I did some building surveying, some QSing, some party-wall surveying. Halfway through the APC I got approached by a large firm offering 10,000 more, it was very flattering but I wouldnt just take a job because it paid more. Judy Wu joined EC Harris in August 2005 and has just sat her APC in quantity surveying and construction. She is anxiously awaiting the result

Every month at EC Harris there is a technical talk from a specialist from a different department on an APC competency, and afterwards you have the contact details of the person who did the talk so you can go back to them. All of these workshops and lectures also count towards the CPD hours that you have to complete. The hardest part is getting all the experience you need. I spent my 24 months training in the private residential team, but for graduates in the latest programme in the London office, EC Harris is piloting rotations over 27 months, so they experience three different sectors. We have final assessment training sessions provided by an external consultant to practice things like presentation skills. Theres also an internal prequalification process which is like a mock interview, six months before the final assessment. That really helped. It is a simulation of the final assessment you submit a document beforehand and have an interview in front of three assessors. EC Harris also run internal final assessment training sessions at its training centre in Milton Keynes on how to improve your presentation. EC Harris has a database of previous questions that have been asked at assessments, so I went through those. Before I had my APC I had about 10 mock interviews from people in different business units in the company. My counsellor was a former APC assessor and he and my supervisor really helped theyd stay in the office until 10pm looking at my critical analysis. I dont think my company could have done any more, but if I could change one thing Id say the RICS shouldnt make us wait 21 days before we get the results. Its been agony!