Value Management initially started in early 1940s in the US manufacturing industry has increasingly becoming popular within the construction industry community internationally. It has been widely accepted as an important tool in the management of projects. The structured, systematic and multi-disciplinary approach in decision making process is a niche for VM in delivering better value for money project to the client investment. It would appear to be gaining some momentum as an essential management tool in the Malaysian construction sector especially in the quantity surveying practice. Quantity surveyors increasing involvement in VM provides an opportunity for the profession to re-model some of its traditional services in a more positive light and develop leading-edge skills and promote the profession. International practice has associated VM to be part of services offered in the quantity surveying practice; especially in UK has proven to be a natural progression of QS profession. The introduction of VM as early 1980's in Malaysia combined with increasing demand for construction project to facilitate nation progress is shedding a positive light for quantity surveying profession to take lead in developing VM as one of their niche area. Therefore, the quantity surveying profession having the opportunity to take lead of this service which reflect their traditional attributes for providing the best value-for-money advise to the client. This paper shall discuss on the development of VM in Malaysia and the challenges VM face services in QS firm to remain ahead of their competitors.
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Keywords: Value management, quantity surveying, services, marketing
Value Management (VM) is a structured, systematic and analytical process which seeks to achieve value for money by providing all the necessary functions at the lowest total cost consistent with the required levels of quality and performance (AS/NZS 4183, 1994). VM is a process in which function benefits of a project are made explicit and appraised with a value system determined by the client (Kelly et al. 2004). It incorporates a multi-disciplinary effort (Kelly and Male 1993) directed towards analysing the functions of projects for the purpose of improving, maintaining performance and ensuring value for money (Barton 1991) while reducing or maintaining overall life cycle cost.
Additionally, it is a technique for improving client value in projects, products, processes and systems which has been internationally recognized for almost forty years (Kelly et al. 2004). VM as it is known in
the UK and Europe as well as in Australia (referred to as value engineering (VE) in the United States and
Japan), was first introduced by Lawrence Miles in the 1940s in the US and is attracting interest from many sectors of the construction industry across the world (Fong and Shen 2000).
The demand for VM is steadily increasing as clients seek better outcomes from their investments in
terms of capital or other resource inputs and the return may be measured in social, economic or commercial terms (Kelly & Male, 2004). Large, regular procurement clients of the construction industry are increasingly pursuing innovative approaches to the way in which their projects are planned, designed
and delivered to facilitate their business strategies (Kelly et al. 2002). Expectation of a first class service in terms of project performance with enhanced value for money is becoming the essence of every construction project. Realizing the fact of raised demand and expectations in project delivery, VM has been adapted into the construction industry in many countries as a vital role in optimizing project cost and quality (Kelly and Male 1993).
2. VALUE MANAGEMENT IN MALAYSIA
Value Management (VM) was first introduced in Malaysia in 1986 by Prof. Roy Barton from Canberra University to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) (Che'Mat 2010). The introduction of VM was made to various public and private organization eversince to promote on the concept. Although VM was first introduced into Malaysia in 1986 and despite some benefits being observed as a result of its application, it has not become widely practiced in the country (Jaapar and Torrance 2005; Jaapar 2006). According to Jaapar et al. (2006), a knowledge gap exists between the current development and application of VM in the Malaysian construction industry as compared to other developed countries using VM. It is posited that this is largely due to the lack of knowledge and regular practice of VM, and also to a resistance to change by the parties involved during VM workshops (Jaapar and Torrence 2006). Some client organizations in Malaysia have been applying certain aspects and concepts of the VM methodology in their project operations, however due to some unsuccessful outcomes, the take up of VM practices in Malaysia has not been large (Jaapar et al. 2009).
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Despite some resistance to applying VM due to lack of knowledge and stories of negative past experience by clients, many construction industry professionals have acknowledged that VM contributes
to the achievement of value for money. Based on a study conducted by Jaapar et al. (2009), there is a positive future for VM within the Malaysian construction industry as professionals from various segments
of the sector now appear ready to implement VM applications in their future projects.
However the slow up-take of VM scenario is about to change as the industry professional has started to become aware on the strength of VM for construction projects. The level of awareness and appreciation
of VM as an essential toolset for providing better value has developed sufficiently over time to the extent that the Institute of Value Management Malaysia (IVMM) was established in 2000 with support and
encouragement from Government agencies such as the Professional Services and Development Corporation (PSDC). The latter agency has initiated great efforts to promote and provide training courses in VM within the construction industry. Private organization such as Value Management Academy
(VMA) as well catches the call in providing extensive courses in VM such as VM Professional Course, VM Familiarization and Life Cycle Costing (Value Management Academy 2011) to feed increasing
demand in closing the knowledge gap in VM.
This continuous initiative has opened new opportunities for VM to be accepted into companies at a senior management level. The recently issued Government circular "Value Management Guideline
Circular 3/2009" authored by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department mandates that for every construction project valued at more than RM 50 million, a VM study is required to be
undertaken (Economic Planning Unit Malaysia 2009), This marks the beginning of a new paradigm for
VM in the Malaysian construction industry, which is expected to allow for greater use and development of VM in the sector.
3. VALUE MANAGEMENT AND QUANTITY SURVEYING PRACTICES
Value management study take place at the front end of a construction project in making explicit clients' value system (Kelly and Male 1993). The application at the earliest stage of a construction project offers the most benefits (Barton 1991) and greater potential for cost reduction (Male and Kelly, 1989). This is due to the fact that opportunities for making changes reduce as the project progresses (Refer Figure
1), and the cost of making such changes increases (Potts 2008).
Green (1994) advocates that the structured process in VM is a dialogue and debate among multidisciplinary design teams and decision makers during an intense short-term conference. Ashworth
(2004) claims that the main purpose of VM is to reduce unnecessary costs as projects can be designed and constructed in many different ways and each different design attracts particular costs. Where two different designs satisfy the main client requirements, then the difference between the costs of these designs can be described as an unnecessary cost.
However, Kelly and Male (1991) argued that the total economic management of projects involves considering both cost and value. Eliminating unnecessary cost alone does not contribute to the entire goal
of VM which is the achievement of better value for money. Although many may argued that cost is the
main concern for every construction projects, Kelly and Male (1993) viewed cost as an objective characterization of client's requirements expressed in monetary terms. While having value for money extend the client's requirements into broader meaning which takes into account subjective decision making criteria of the client organization and perceive what is acceptable level of cost for any given project performance and technical specification (Kelly and Male 1993).
Ability to influence cost savings Cost of Changes
Briefing Concept Detail Design Site Operations
Figure 1 - Value Management Potential to Influence Cost (Neasbey et al. 1999)
Green (2007) cautioned that if quantity surveyors are aspire to conduct VM during early stages of projects, they must also strive to overcome stereotypical image of quantity surveyor as "after-the-event" cost cutters. Thus, VM should be seen beyond the realm of traditional cost cutting per se. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (RICS)) published a report in 1992 entitled The Core Skills and Knowledge Base of the Quantity Surveyor which examined the needs for a qualified quantity surveyors in respect to their education, training and continuing professional development (Ashworth and Hogg 2007). The report identified a range of skills and knowledge necessary for quantity surveyors to continue develop in maintaining their role in construction industry (Refer Table
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Table 1 - Quantity Surveyors Knowledge and Skill Base (Source: RICS, 1992)
A subset of construction economic which is cost management emphasizes on cost reduction or substitution (Kelly and Male 1993). It relates to the scope of services and skills offered by quantity surveyor which focus on cost savings. The distinctive competence found in quantity surveyors relies heavily on their analytical approach to buildings and stems directly from their ability to measure construction works (Ashworth and Hogg 2007) where cost and price can be forecast, analyzed, planned, controlled and accounted for (Pheng and Ming 1997). Their extended influence in the fields of contracting, civil and industrial engineering, construction, mechanical and electrical engineering services as well as project management provides a strong base profession to lead in effective value for money construction projects.
According to Kelly and Male (1993), an economic management of projects requires a combination use of value and cost, in which the integration between value management and cost management are seen to provide a potential benefits for QS profession. VM was seen to afford quantity surveying profession with plenty of opportunity to develop new skills and help shape new images of the profession (Hogg 1999). Defining their role in a positive way and eliminate negative perception as cost cutter to projects through innovative service will keep the profession at par with their competitors (Poynter Brown, 1992) as cited in Hogg (1999).
Re-modelling the profession into new innovative services takes into account individual's experience, traits, skills and knowledge of a quantity surveyor.
4. CHALLENGES FOR QS PRACTICES TO APPLY VM
A study conducted by Hogg (1999) on leading UK cost consultant revealed that most common reason for low practice of VM among QS practitioners is due to low demand from the clients and their reluctant to spend additional fees for the service. Existing services provided by the quantity surveyor is deemed to include measures for "value-for-money" in which the application of VM is unnecessary. In respond to the result, Green and Liu (2007) argued on the findings which only focuses on VM as cost management services offered by QS. They further extend the paradigm of VM beyond cost itself, but rather on value for client.
A research on VM practice by South African QS has found that 61% of the practitioners believe that VM assist in optimizing value, while 41% facilitates in achievement of functionality (Bowen et al. 2010). The findings indicate that the profession has started to move ahead of the cost realm and started to link along the "value" line for construction clients.
"Value engineering possesses a precise methodology and has been established track record of success. It offers the construction industry an important opportunity to improve the service it provides to
clients" (Green, 1990, pg.2) in Hogg (1999).
"Value management must be taken as part of the process of establishing the client's business case to ensure that the project addresses real needs and adds value' and 'Better ways of providing the same performance, at lower cost, should be pursued - alternative should always be considered - value engineering should be an automatic part of every project and not an option (RICS,1995 p29) in Hogg (1999)
Kelly and Male (1991) as cited in Kelly and Male (1993) concluded that the integration of cost management and value management is best instigated through project management services. This finding is in line with Kelly and Poynter-Brown's idea for VM as natural progression of quantity surveying profession. Re-modelling of the profession images into something more innovative and marketable will keeping up with increasing demand by clients for better services.
According to Bowen et al. (2009), clients are more likely is the key motivation to apply VM for projects rather than innate desire on part of Quantity surveyors. This finding is supported by increasing numbers of Government's regulation which requires construction project which exceeds certain amount to apply Value Management as part of cost management measure. Inevitably, the Malaysian construction industry through the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) has published VM Circular 3/2009 which make mandatory for all public funded projects and programmes costing more than RM 50 million to undertake VM study (Economic Planning Unit Malaysia 2009).
Quantity surveyors is regarded as in great position to influence Value Management implementation as compared to other design team member (Hogg 1999). This statement was initially asserted by Kelly and Poynter-Brown (1990) which claimed that VM is identified as a natural progression for QS profession due to their leading role in VM (Ellis et al. 2005) combined with their knowledge base built from the specialization. Furthermore, a successful VM exercise cannot be guaranteed with the absence of full participation by cost expert or QS (Kelly and Male, 1996) as cited in (Oke and Ogunsemi 2009). Olanrewaju and Khairuddin (2007) as cited in Oke (Oke and Ogunsemi 2009) found that QS practice in Nigerian industry are the most familiar with VM discipline as compared to other profession. This is due to their ability to provide cost advice to client which is one of the main concerns for construction projects.
This stressed that, an opportunity for QS to expand their services offering VM are expected to feed the demand by the industry. The issues face here in the industry now is what are the challenges for QS to offer
VM as their new niche services? The challenge has posed several key questions which need to be
i. Are we ready to make fundamental change to the way we deal with clients?
ii. Does current tertiary QS education offer VM courses as an elective?
iii. What are the roles taken by professional bodies in providing training and education in VM as part of members CPD?
iv. What are the strategies to promote VM as one of the extended QS services?
5. MARKETING INNOVATIVE QS SERVICES
Marketing is defined as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably" (The Chartered Institute of Marketing 2009). While McDonald (2007, pg 16) extended the definition to "the management function which organizes and directs all those business activities involved in assessing and converting customer purchasing power into effective demand for a specific product or service, and in moving the product or service to the final customer or user so as to achieve the profit target or other objectives set by the company'.
Pheng and Ming (1997) assert that marketing is a process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the client's requirements profitability. Their research has analyzed the integration of marketing
mix for quantity surveying services consist of seven Ps (Borden, 1965; McCarthy, 1960). The marketing
mix comprises of product, price, promotion, place, people, physical evidence and process are compared against services offered by QS firm. The study found that product, price and people are the most important component of the marketing mix for QS firm (Pheng and Ming 1997). The product refers to the services offered by QS firms to the client which includes good quality of services, within time-frame and gaining client's confidence through integrity and professionalism (Pheng and Ming 1997).
By focusing on the product aspect out of the 7P's, extending the QS services by way of offering VM as new niche are seen to be converting clients purchasing power into effective demand (McDonald 2007). At present moment, VM can be practiced by various professions as it is not affiliated to any profession. However, the knowledge and skill based of a quantity surveyor having an opportunity to expand this discipline through effective implementation as a new found edge for the profession.
A benchmarking study by Male et al. (1998) revealed that clients identify certain value managers as being suitable for particular types of projects, hence their choice of practitioner is based upon individuals rather than employing consultancy practice. However, should continuous effort in training and exposure given to develop quantity surveyor's skills as competent facilitators, the opportunity for firm to obtain offers from clients are increases.
Marketing VM for QS services need to consider the setback and misinterpretation that exist among the industry professional before it can be offered. This misconception are influenced by the stigma of VM as just another "cost-cutting-tools" which traditionally being labeled against QS profession. There is nothing wrong about the "cost-cutting" labeled to VM, it helps to eliminate unnecessary cost but at the same it is more on "cost saving" with "value-added". There are several setbacks which need to be address before offering VM as part of QS services which includes:
i. Professional fees structure (Baba et al. 2010)
QS services and professional fees are determined based on guideline stipulated under Registration of
Quantity Surveyors Act 1967 which divides the fee structure in accordance to specific category of building and types of work and contract. While the Act stipulated as such, it covers all aspect of basic quantity surveying practice but not on VM. The scale of fees for VM services are separate from the QS basic fees which often become a setback for QS to promote the service which incur extra cost, although the potential savings is positive.
ii. Empowering to become VM Facilitator
Employees need to be empowered and equipped with knowledge and skill in VM. VM need more than analytical skills of a quantity surveyor, but it combine a mixture of management, organizational, team
work, technical and human relation in becoming a good VM facilitator. There exist some misconception
as well between Value Engineering (VE) and VM although principally are the same, but the execution and philosophy of VM are relatively different. Through continuous professional development (CPD) programme, these misconceptions can be overcome. Public and private organizations has much put an effort in offering VM courses to the professionals and leave the choice for the practitioner to increase their profitability of the service.
Should both this setback being addressed, the empowerment of QS profession are expected to shift into new niche area where QS practice will gain its competitive advantages among others.
Empirical evidence indicates that VM at present is considered as a method to assist with decision making in construction projects. It is not recognized as defining occupations as in a job structures, although some organizations had already begin to offer VM as core job description. However, VM requires a skill set that necessitates higher level cognitive functioning at practitioner level (Kelly et al.
2004) rather than facilitating a workshop alone. The opportunity for quantity surveying profession to benefits from the strength of VM in re-shaping their traditional images into more innovative services, are expected to placed their position more marketable in the open market.
In making VM as an extension of QS services in Malaysia, two key issues need to be addressed in order to allow for expansion QS services and gain confidence from the client in hiring QS services.
Solving the fees structure which the client often enough deemed it included in normal basic QS services fees, as well as empowering QS to become a facilitator in VM workshop and leads the team.
The issues are relatively complex especially on the professional fees structure, however, this paper
present a conceptual snapshot on the idea of VM and QS profession while the extension of the issue discussed above are currently being research and will reported.