Sustainable buildings, cornerstones for environmental viability | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Sustainable buildings, cornerstones for environmental viability

There’s an urgent need to come up with clever ideas that optimise the sustainable performance of the buildings that we live and work in.
There’s an urgent need to come up with clever ideas that optimise the sustainable performance of the buildings that we live and work in.

The time has come to build through public awareness and social opinions to make sustainability a requirement for building construction.

In the world of construction, buildings have the capacity to make a major contribution to a more sustainable future for our planet. Buildings in developed countries account for more than forty percent of energy consumption over their lifetime (incorporating raw material production, construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning).

For the first time in human history, over half of the world’s population now live in urban environments and it’s clear that sustainable buildings have become vital cornerstones for securing long-term environmental, economic and social viability.

Sri Lanka is no exception. The fast pace of change means we don’t have the luxury of time. With urban population swelling by around one million in Colombo itself, there’s an urgent need to come up with clever ideas that optimise the sustainable performance of the buildings that we live and work in.

Given this backdrop, the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Sri Lanka (IQSSL) hosts its AGM on January 26, at the Waters Edge Hotel, Battaramulla to discuss with the stakeholders in the construction industry, at the outset, for a constructive and cooperative attitude towards the industry which will invariably be of benefit to all of us in time to come.

Parliamentary Act

A Parliamentary Act to regulate the conduct of the profession of quantity surveying within Sri Lanka came into effect in 2007 to carry out and transact all matters connected with the institute for public advantage.

Section 3 of the Act provides for eight objectives, namely:

to protect and promote the interests, status, welfare, rights and privileges of the profession and the interests of the public in relation to the profession of quantity surveying; to advise and communicate with public authorities on matters related to quantity surveying;

to arbitrate any dispute on quantity surveying;

to organise lectures and discussions, public books and other materials in order to disseminate knowledge on quantity surveying;

to encourage the study of law and practice related to quantity surveying;

to create and offer awards and prizes for achievements in the field of quantity surveying;

to organise, supervise and control the admission to the membership, to undertake and regulate the education and training, prescribe and approve course of studies, conduct examinations, and collaborate with recognised educational institutions for the furtherance of education, related to quantity surveying; to prescribe qualifications and disqualifications for membership and standards of professional conduct. The scope of the institute as granted by law is substantial and nationally significant. It is promotional as well as regulatory.

More importantly, it governs the membership on its own ‘Rules’ that may come into being from time to time under Section 7 of the Act. Encompassing a wide array of functions related to membership promotion and regulation, these rules have been stipulated in the Extraordinary Government Gazette, Part 1 Section 1, General, 1573/26 dated Oct 31, 2008.


The overall management of the affairs of the Institute has been vested in the Council that comprises 15 members. This Council is empowered by Article 48 of the said gazette to exercise all such powers as given in the Act and the said gazette notification. The Council is a pool of elected officials, a voluntary, remuneration-free service to the institute and can do all such lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Institute.

This is in addition to acquiring properties, disseminating information, developing links with external parties in Sri Lanka and abroad, exercising disciplinary control over membership, and investing funds.

As per section 6 of the Act, the Council shall maintain a register of members.

Section 7 of the Act offers a wide authority space for the Council to organise its own rules of conduct, as mentioned.

These rules further include defining categories of membership, fees payable, procedure in admission, withdrawal, expulsion and resignation, constitution, elections, term of office, vacation of office, powers, duties and functions of the Council, boards and committees, various officers, agents, servants including their appointment, remuneration, dismissal and termination, holding meetings, qualifications and disqualifications of membership, management of property and general management of the affairs of the organisation. Section 13 of the Act is flawless in that the use of titles of membership shall be as per the Rules made under Section 7 of the Act. As per the gazette notification (Article 2 of by-laws, Appendix 1), those members of the institute who are enrolled as Fellow and Associate members shall be entitled to designate themselves and use the title Chartered Quantity Surveyor in the manner as described.

Only the Fellow and Associate members are considered to be corporate members of the institute having voting rights.The design of road map for membership is widespread in that there are eight membership categories namely Fellow, Associate, Graduate, Registered, Technical, Probationary, Student and Subscribing; via four separate routes of membership; graduate, matured, technical and route of approved membership of recognised professional quantity surveying institute.

The latter is basically on reciprocity agreements that may come into force from time to time. The above road map demonstrates fairly a liberal approach in entering the profession, subject to, however, a coherent examination procedure and viva voce, in maintaining standards in the meantime.

One of the hallmarks is the code of ethics guiding the practitioners in making decisions as to conduct themselves and how they resolve ethical issues that might confront them.

For the most part, codes provide ethical framework. The Appendix four of the gazette is all about code of professional conduct and ethics which members of the institute must adhere.

Any member whose conduct is contrary to this code shall be liable to reprimand, suspension or expulsion. It is the responsibility of every member to report to the honorary secretary any apparent breach of this code for necessary action.

Here, the term Professional Misconduct shall mean behaviour which in the opinion of the Council falls short of or directly contravenes professional conduct.

The professional conduct is in turn the adherence to the standard of behaviour befitting a quantity surveyor at all times while engaged in a professional capacity.