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Nature of works for quantity surveyors to homeworking.

INTRODUCTION

Homeworking is a common work style for most developed countries. Most developed countries have carried out the concept in their working life since in the 70s. What is more, homeworking is known to serve better work-life style and can give many advantages to the firm and employee. To homeworking, the work performed is generally done independently hence, it does not require team interaction or consistent communication. It also is more likely that the employee can live far from the actual location of the business for which he or she is working because face to face contact at the location may not be necessary. In Malaysia, particularly in construction industry, homeworking concept has been introduced by the Ministry of Public Works Malaysia in 2010. Similar to the homeworking terms, the "Work from Home Pilot Programs" has seen to gather many divisions i.e: Civil Engineering Branch, Structural and Bridge Branch, Architects and Quantity Surveying Branch and the work scope only involve with the use of computers and the internet [1]. The program participants finds that they are able to save or reduce the costs involved while homeworking such as traveling costs, daily costs such as breakfast, lunch, etc. and also the cost of their child care. Further to that, the participant's productivity increased and it is perceived that the program gives a positive impact to the participants involved [2].

The construction industry has a culture of long hours and weekend works. Hence, construction employees struggle to achieve a balance between their work and personal lives [3]. Construction employees are concerned that the combination of long hours and tight deadlines together with a unique characteristic of project-based work further increases their concern on their negative work impacts upon personal life [4]. The industry as a high-risk industry for work stress. Some of the stress faced by the professionals in construction is stress associated with external demands such as deadlines, time constraints and workload in construction estimators [5]. Nevertheless, female construction professionals experience higher levels of work stress than their male counterparts.

Quantity surveying (QS) is an amalgam of several other disciplines (such as economics, law, accountancy, management, measurement, information technology and construction technology) within a unique context of the built environment [6]. With the increasing number of QS firms in the nation, it shows that they play a significant role in the Malaysian construction industry. This is because it provides a growing share of total industry output and employment. QS firms have to embrace the organization's operating business culture [7]. Homeworking is seen as one of the new business cultures for QS firms to execute and presume to survive in construction industry. This is because the competitive industry directly influences QS firms in obtaining and bidding for projects. The scope of QS work involves preparation of documents such as cost estimate, cost plan, bill of quantities, tender document, interim valuation certificate, final account, etc.

Table 1 below shows the tasks and duties carried out by QSs in QS firms. This table was tabulated based on the basic services provided by QS firm [8]. QS works are divided into two (2) parts which is the pre-contract and post-contract. The pre-contract work starts from the initial stage which is the planning, designing and tendering. On the other hand, the post-contract work starts after the Letter of Award (LoA) was sign by the selected contractor for the project and ends after the project has closed the final accounts.

Methodology:

For the preliminary data collection, an interview session was carried out to explore the data on homeworking in QS firms. The data obtained will be used in the final questionnaire. The semi-structure question for the interview is exploratory in nature as limited information on homeworking gathered from the literature. The data obtained from the interview together with the literature review will be a basis to form a final questionnaire survey. There are two methods used in the final questionnaire survey, where the first method is using the online survey questionnaire via kwiksurveys. With this method, a total of 322 QS firms takes part and after two weeks, 17 replies were received via email. Due to the low response rate received using the first method, a postal questionnaire was carried out as a second approach. With the second method, 59 replies were received after one month, hence making up the total of 76 replies were received. After the data were collected, it were then analyzed using computer program which is SPSS and a minimal usage of Microsoft Excel. In this research the data were analyzed using frequency and weighted average. Weighted average is where an average in which each quantity to be averaged is assigned a weight.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

(i) QS nature of works to homeworking:

The analysis that were used in this research are descriptive analysis i.e: frequencies and weighted average. These weightings determine the relative importance of each quantity on the average. Weightings are the equivalent of having that many like items with the same value involved in the average.

Table 2 above shows the nature of work that the respondents think that is suitable for the employees to carry out at home. Based on the table, the percentage of more than 50% were taken and feasibility study, preliminary cost estimate, cost planning, elemental cost estimate, measurement/ taking off, bills of quantity preparation, cost analysis are the types of work from the pre-contract stage that can be done by the employees who homeworking. On the other hand, for the post-contract stage, preparation of interim valuation, preparation of variation order, life-cycle costing, payment certificate and financial statement can be suitably done from home.

The data analysis has shown that, the pre-contract stage such as measurement/taking off and preparation of bills of quantities are the tasks most suitably carried out by the employees at home. It is also supported by the respondents who participated in the interview, where most of them agreed that the suitable task to be carried out by the employees who practice homeworking is on the measurement. Besides, estimation, progress payment, variation order, final account and preparation of tender document can also be done by them at home.

After the percentage of frequencies was obtained from descriptive analysis above, the data were then analyzed by using weighted average analysis. From the table 3 below, measurement/taking-off, preliminary cost estimate, elemental cost estimate, bills of quantity preparation and preparation of variation order have higher rankings than others, with a weighted average of 90 and 75. These work are also agreed by the respondents who participated in the interview session. It is mostly because the tasks such as the measurements are easy to be carried out at home, since the employees' only needs the drawings to execute the jobs.

Summary:

The result of this study shows that the quantity surveying profession is possible to homeworking. It is shown that QS natures of works are quite flexible in a ways that the employees can complete their work at home. There are many QS works that does not require the employee to always be at the office and the task mainly involves drawings and the usage of computer and internet. The equipments that were used to complete the task is a basic needs of an employee and this task does not require a constant supervision. Based on the weighted average analysis, QS works that are possible to homework are measurement/taking-off, preliminary cost estimate, elemental cost estimate, bills of quantity preparation and preparation of variation order.

REFERENCES

[1] FaizahIzzani, Z., 2010. "Kakitangan JKR mulabekerjadarirumah". Utusan [Online], http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2010&dt=0105&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Dalam_Neger i&pg=dn_16.htm [Retrieved June 6, 2012]

[2] Nurul Nadiah, A., 2011. Program perintisbekerjadarirumah. Unpublished Undergraduate thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor

[3] Lingard, H., and V. Francis, 2005. The decline of the 'traditional' family: work--life benefits as a means of promoting a diverse workforce in the construction industry of Australia. Construction Management and Economics, 23(10): 1045-1057.

[4] Wharton, A.S., and M. Blair-Loy, 2006. Long Work Hours and Family Life A Cross-National Study of Employees' Concerns. Journal of Family Issues, 27(3): 415-436.

[5] Pocock, B., P. Williams and N. Skinner, 2007. The Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI): Concepts, Methodology and Rationale. Centre for Work and Life, Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies, University of Adelaide, Adelaide.

[6] Brandon, P.S., 1990. Quantity Surveying Techniques: New Directions, BSP Professional Books, Oxford.

[7] Langford, D.A. and S. Male, 2001. Strategic Management in Construction, 2nd edition. Blackwell Science, London.

[8] Abdullah, F., and I. Haron, 2006. Profile of the quantity surveying practice in Malaysia. Small, 10: 40-4.

(1) NurulAdilah Saludin, (2) Noorliza Karia and (3) Hasnanywati Hassan

(1,3) School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia

(2) School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia

ARTICLE INFO

Article history:

Received 12 October 2014

Received in revised form 26 December 2014

Accepted 1 January 2015

Available online 17 February 2015

Corresponding Author: Hasnanywati Hassan, School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: hasnany@usm.my
Table 1: Tasks and duties carried out by quantity surveyors

Contract Stage   Tasks and duties of QS

Pre-contract     Feasibility study
                 Preliminary cost estimate
                 Cost planning
                 Elemental Cost Estimate
                 Measurement/ Taking off
                 Bills of Quantity Preparation
                 Tender document preparation
                 Cost analysis
                 Tender evaluation
Post-contract    Preparation of Interim Valuation
                 Preparation of Variation Order
                 Preparing and compiling variation claim document
                 Life-cycle costing
                 Value management
                 Risk management
                 Payment Certificate
                 Financial statement
                 Final accounts

Table 2: Nature of Work

Nature of Work                      Frequencies (%)

                                    Yes    No     Maybe

Pre-Contract

Feasibility Study                   52.6   35.5   11.8
Preliminary Cost Estimate           67.1   21.1   11.8
Cost Planning                       63.2   25.0   11.8
Elemental Cost Estimate             71.1   19.7   9.2
Measurement/Taking off              81.6   9.2    9.2
Bills of Quantity Preparation       72.4   15.8   11.8
Tender Document Preparation         36.8   43.4   19.7
Cost Analysis                       56.6   27.6   15.8
Tender Evaluation                   22.4   72.4   5.3

Post-Contract

Preparation of Interim Valuation    55.3   34.2   10.5
Preparation of Variation Order      65.8   21.1   13.2
Preparing and Compiling of          44.8   36.8   18.4
  Variation Claim Document
Life-Cycle Costing                  50.0   28.9   21.1
Value Management                    44.7   35.5   19.7
Risk Management                     39.5   36.8   23.7
Payment Certificate                 51.3   36.8   11.8
Financial Statement                 51.3   32.9   15.8
Final Accounts                      47.4   35.5   17.1

Table 3: Weighted Average (W.A) for Nature of Work

Nature of Work                      Level of    Frequency   Weightage
                                    Agreement   (F)         (W)

Feasibility Study                   Yes         40          60
Preliminary Cost Estimate           Yes         51          75
Cost Planning                       Yes         48          65
Elemental Cost Estimate             Yes         54          75
Measurement/ Taking off             Yes         62          90
Bills of Quantity Preparation       Yes         55          75
Tender Document Preparation         No          33          40
Cost Analysis                       Yes         43          60
Tender Evaluation                   No          55          40
Preparation of Interim Valuation    Yes         42          60
Preparation of Variation Order      Yes         50          75
Preparing and Compiling             Yes         34          50
  of Variation Claim Document
Life- Cycle Costing                 Yes         38          50
Value Management                    Yes         34          50
Risk Management                     Yes         30          50
Payment Certificate                 Yes         39          60
Financial Statement                 Yes         39          60
Final Accounts                      Yes         36          50

Nature of Work                      Total      W.A
                                    (F x W)    [Total (F x W)/
                                               Total (F)]

Feasibility Study                   2,400.00   60.00
Preliminary Cost Estimate           3,825.00   75.00
Cost Planning                       3,120.00   65.00
Elemental Cost Estimate             4,050.00   75.00
Measurement/ Taking off             5,580.00   90.00
Bills of Quantity Preparation       4,125.00   75.00
Tender Document Preparation         1,320.00   40.00
Cost Analysis                       2,580.00   60.00
Tender Evaluation                   2,200.00   40.00
Preparation of Interim Valuation    2,520.00   60.00
Preparation of Variation Order      3,750.00   75.00
Preparing and Compiling             1,700.00   50.00
  of Variation Claim Document
Life- Cycle Costing                 1,900.00   50.00
Value Management                    1,700.00   50.00
Risk Management                     1,500.00   50.00
Payment Certificate                 2,340.00   60.00
Financial Statement                 2,340.00   60.00
Final Accounts                      1,800.00   50.00
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Article Details
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Author:Saludin, NurulAdilah; Karia, Noorliza; Hassan, Hasnanywati
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Words:2045
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