Assessment of Professional Competence 專業評核試

Assessment of Professional Competence 專業評核試 KCTang Thu, 25/12/2014 - 23:44

Competency Standards expected of APC Candidates

Competency Standards expected of APC Candidates KCTang Thu, 25/12/2014 - 23:52

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Source: The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors' Quantity Surveying Division's Rules and Guide to the Assessment of Professional Competence dated May 2012.

1. Core Competencies 核心技能

1.1 Measurement and billing 计算工程量及编清单

  1. Able to apply knowledge in construction materials and sciences, construction technologies and building services
  2. Able to identify, ask for, register, interpret, and raise queries to clarify drawings, specifications, variation instructions, works orders and other information necessary for measurement
  3. Able to apply the industry standard methods of measurement or project specific methods of measurement
  4. Able to measure quantities from drawings, and draft and edit item descriptions to reflect specification requirements for the purposes of preparation of bills or schedule of quantities, remeasurement of provisional quantities, variations, works orders, claims or final accounts
  5. Able to measure approximate quantities for bulk-checking of quantities and understand quantity factors such as concrete steel ratios, quantities per floor areas, etc.
  6. Able to prepare pro-forma schedules of rates (without quantities)
  7. Able to interpret preliminaries and preambles and add special provisions to suit the specific circumstances
  8. Able to undertake quantity and other checks for any input document discrepancies and/or omissions and final output document completeness, spelling, omissions, etc.
  9. Able to organize and supervise the measurement, billing, editing, checking, printing and dispatch processes
  10. Able to use bill production, CAD and BIM software to assist

1.2 Pre-contract cost data handling 合同前成本数据处理

  1. Able to retrieve past cost data of similar work and apply in new work
  2. Able to carry out arithmetic and consistency checking on the cost data on returned tenders or vendors’ quotations
  3. Able to compile cost data or pricing comparison from among returned tenders or vendors’ quotations
  4. Able to enquire, search and analyse cost data including building cost and tender price indices
  5. Able to apply discounts, mark-ups, margins and other adjustment factors
  6. Able to appreciate the approximate order of costs for major construction works

1.3 Pricing 计价

  1. Able to appreciate project, industrial and general economic factors affecting the unit costs and quantities of the constituent rates
  2. Able to make adjustments to past cost data or pre-fixed rates for applications in different circumstances
  3. Able to build up prime cost rates for labour, materials and plant, and all-in unit rates for works for the purposes of pricing preliminary cost estimates, bills or schedules of quantities, variations, work orders, claims and final accounts.
  4. Able to build up and analyse preliminaries items, overheads and profits
  5. Able to understand, analyse and apply quantity factors such as concrete steel ratios, quantities per floor areas, etc.
  6. Able to understand contract conditions, specification standards, preliminaries and preambles for pricing the relevant risks

1.4 Pre-contract cost planning, estimating and control 合同前成本计划、估算及控制

  1. Able to understand the build-up of properties development budget, and methods of valuation of construction costs
  2. Able to use cost data including adjustments to various factors such as locations, specification, time and market forces
  3. Able to demonstrate knowledge of various factors affecting economics of design and construction
  4. Able to undertake financial feasibility and comparative design studies
  5. Able to prepare cost plans, update cost plans and carry out cost checks and control
  6. Able to prepare cost estimates by various estimating techniques
  7. Able to evaluate alternative design solutions and life cycle costs
  8. Able to prepare and interpret cash flow projections and profit/loss forecasts
  9. Able to prepare cost reconciliation statements with previous cost estimates and with costs of similar projects
  10. Able to prepare cost analyses
  11. Able to prepare and submit cost data to in-house and/or external data collection agencies
  12. Able to use cost estimating, CAD and BIM software to assist

1.5 Procurement 采购

  1. Able to understand the general principles of laws relevant to the construction industry
  2. Able to apply knowledge in various forms of construction and installation contracts including main contracts, nominated and domestic subcontracts, supply contracts, and maintenance term contracts, etc.
  3. Able to assess the rationale for using different procurement methods to suit the specific project requirements and prevailing circumstances
  4. Able to apply the above knowledge in formulating and implementing the appropriate tendering procedures and contractual arrangements
  5. Able to apply the principles, practices and procedures of various forms of tendering process
  6. Able to prepare the appropriate tender documentation including main contracts, nominated and domestic subcontracts, supply contracts and maintenance term contracts, etc. (excluding “Measurement and billing” under competency 1)
  7. Able to co-ordinate the tendering process including pre-qualification of tenderers, invitation to tenders, dispatch and receipt of tender documents, tender addenda, tender clarification letters, tender questionnaires, tender opening meeting, etc.
  8. Able to evaluate the received tenders including the submission of the required tender information, checking of any arithmetic errors, identification of any apparently anomalous rates and pricing strategies, comparison of quantities measured by tenderers, comparison of tender rates and prices, evaluation and clarification of any qualifications submitted, and negotiation with tenderers
  9. Able to draft letters of acceptance or intent, and compile the formal contract documents from tender documents and other tender submissions
  10. Able to prepare and comment on tendering and preliminary construction programmes, and use scheduling software to assist

1.6 Contractor’s tendering and cost control 承包方投标及成本控制

  1. Able to examine tender documents received and determine the information required for estimate, workload, timetable and resource needs
  2. Able to appreciate the project including the method statement, tender programme and site visit
  3. Able to collate the data obtained from the procurement process to build up the costs
  4. Able to prepare estimator’s report and tender adjudication
  5. Able to respond to pre-qualification and invitation to tender, raise tender queries, attend tender interviews and answer tender questionnaires
  6. Able to scrutinise letters of acceptance or intent, and drafts of contract documents
  7. Able to apply principles of business management to achieve corporate objectives of contracting organizations
  8. Able to plan or program construction works, determine and purchase construction resources (i.e. labour, plant and material), and evaluate productivity methods
  9. Able to undertake financial management of contracting organizations including regular monitoring and reporting on cash flow and analysis of variances between budgeted and actual costs during construction

1.7 Contract administration 合同管理

  1. Able to survey, measure and record site information
  2. Able to monitor proposed construction methods/ sequences and report on actual requirements including preparing cost benefit reports on alternative construction methods
  3. Able to prepare valuations for interim payments
  4. Able to carry out post-contract cost control including preparation of final costs and reporting on financial effects
  5. Able to carry out day-to-day contract administration of a project including attending site meetings and drafting correspondence on contractual issues
  6. Able to prepare or interpret cost/value and other reconciliation statements for management purposes
  7. Able to report on, evaluate and negotiate contractual, financial and extra-contractual issues
  8. Able to prepare and agree final accounts and contra charges

2. Optional Competencies 选择技能

2.1 Dispute resolution 争议的解决

  1. Able to understand various techniques in dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, conciliation, adjudication, arbitration, independent expert determination and litigation
  2. Able to apply knowledge of the practices and procedures of dispute resolution
  3. Able to apply knowledge of the relevant law governing dispute resolution procedures, including evidence of fact and expert evidence

2.2 Project management 项目管理

  1. Able to identify the client’s objectives and develop the client’s brief
  2. Able to carry out feasibility studies, including risk analysis and value analyses
  3. Able to establish the budget and project programme
  4. Able to advise on the selection of project team
  5. Able to establish the lines of communication and manage the integration and flow of design information
  6. Able to establish the time, cost and quality control systems, and monitor, control and report from inception to project completion

2.3 Facilities management 设施管理

  1. Able to apply principles of business management to achieve the client’s corporate objectives
  2. Able to apply principles of facilities management to provide solutions to issues affecting both owners and occupiers of real estate
  3. Able to keep up-to-date maintenance information to determine and implement operational maintenance
  4. Able to maintain a proper procurement system, including invitations to tender, tender enquiries, evaluation of offers received, receipt of non-compliant or alternative offers
  5. Able to manage project costs, time and quality from inception to completion, including value management, risk analysis and financial evaluation

2.4. Risk management 风险管理

  1. Able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature of risks in construction project
  2. Able to apply various methods and techniques used to carry out risk assessment taking into account all relevant factors
  3. Able to implement risk management system in relation to specific projects

2.5 Value management 价值管理

  1. Able to participate and contribute in value management workshops
  2. Able to organize and facilitate value management workshop, including pre-meeting and report writing
  3. Able to understand and apply value methodology

2.6 Advanced information technology 先进的资讯科技

  1. Able to write computer programmes for use on other competencies
  2. Able to set up and maintain hardware or software for servers or computer networks for use by more than one person
  3. Able to develop information technology for use on other competencies

2.7 Bankruptcy, liquidation, determination and termination 破产、清盘、解雇、终止

  1. Able to understand the precautions necessary when bankruptcy, liquidation, determination or termination is imminent
  2. Able to advise on the procedures and rights and liabilities of different parties when such events actually happen
  3. Able to carry out survey, record and value work left incomplete
  4. Able to prepare hypothetical final account and calculate respective final cost liability

2.8 Insurances and warranties 保险及担保

  1. Able to understand different types of insurances, bonds and quality warranties normally used in construction or professional services
  2. Able to procure insurances and bonds
  3. Able to vet insurance policies and bonds, draft or vet quality warranties
  4. Able to survey, record, calculate or adjust loss or damage

2.9 Third party technical or professional audits 第三者技术或专业审核

  1. Able to audit quantity surveying work done by other organizations or different departments within the same organization
  2. Able to conduct audits on quantity surveying practices on behalf of quality assurance agencies
  3. (excluding bulk checking recordable under competency 1 and organizing files subject to audit)

2.10 Green building or construction 环保楼宇或建设

  1. Able to evaluate life cycle costs of alternative environmentally friendly features
  2. Able to conduct energy audits
  3. Able to calculate scores for environmental assessment ratings
  4. Able to set up or maintain environmentally friendly features on site or at office

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Preparation for APC

Preparation for APC KCTang Fri, 26/12/2014 - 00:05

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Source: These notes were first released in June 2001.

Preparation before the examination

  1. Understand common practice
  2. Understand reasons behind common practice
  3. Understand possible deviations from common practice
  4. Understand reasons for deviations from common practice
  5. Distinguish between good practice from bad practice
  6. Understand that own office standard may not necessarily be reasonable practice or common practice
  7. Read more and read wide
  8. Read trade newsletters and journals
  9. Read general newspaper
  10. Watch out issues affecting the industry and the society
  11. Watch out new development in technology affecting the industry and the society
  12. Study real examples done by colleagues and others
  13. Base answers on good practice and be practical

Documents to be brougt into the examination hall

  1. Suites of standard form of contracts and sub-contracts for both Building and Civil Engineering Works
  2. Standard Method of Measurement for both Building and Civil Engineering Works
  3. Sample cost estimates
  4. Sample bills of quantities complete with preliminaries and preambles
  5. Sample specification
  6. Sample financial reports
  7. Sample final accounts
  8. Sample insurance policies, bonds, warranties, guarantees
  9. Usual reference books (citation of names of court cases would be impressive but not necessarily useful)
  10. HKIS Newsletters and Journals

Understanding the questions

  1. Number of points being asked
  2. Any tricky points
  3. Any tricky words
  4. Be careful about the relative time and dates

Time allocation

  1. Answer all the required number of questions and their sub-questions
  2. Observe that length of answers should be proportional to the number of marks
  3. Do not write excessively long for sub-questions with very few marks
  4. Reserve time to proof read final answers

Writing down brief points

  1. Address each number of points being asked with a few points (i.e. more than one) of answers
  2. Try to imagine similar situation, use common sense to judge, when faced with something that you do not know or do not have experience


  1. Present the answers in the form of a letter, a fax, an email or a report as requested by the questions
  2. Give date, addressee, project title, subject matter, greetings, signature, c.c., cover page, contents page, as appropriate
  3. Present answers as written drafts ready for typing
  4. Do not be afraid to use cut and paste, stapling, crossing out, etc. in order to catch up time
  5. Do not use correction ink


  1. Do not prepare a detailed cost estimate when a cost per m2 estimate is suffice
  2. Give priority to correct approach, format, formula, consistency in values, relative differentials, rather than spending too much time on improving the accuracy of individually insignificant figures
  3. Check arithmetic
  4. Check transferring
  5. Feel that the totals and proportions are making sense

Expanding points

  1. Set out the points logically, systematically
  2. Be as concise and precise as possible
  3. Be straight-forward and relevant
  4. Be fair and reasonable
  5. Watch out conflicting answers
  6. Do not write things that you do not really understand
  7. Say less rather than say wrongly
  8. Do not just list out all the points you remember from the textbooks
  9. Do not include information just to show your knowledge on contracts
  10. Do not just cite the name of court cases and give conclusion to the issue discussed
  11. Do not cause the assessors to check the casebooks
  12. Avoid putting in answers which are not realistic due to practical reasons or nature of project
  13. Do not be afraid to state reservations

Tact and sensitivity

  1. Be diplomatic, avoid upsetting or creating embarrassment to your business partners in your answers
  2. Do not downgrade the usefulness and contribution of other professions and occupations
  3. Do not simply say that this is outside your scope of work, when you are asked to give opinion on matters which are not entirely QS matters. Try to offer considered and helpful opinion but also qualify that the matters should also be reviewed by other more competent people, like architects, engineers, lawyers, insurance consultants, etc.


  1. Make reasonable assumptions
  2. State all necessary assumptions, which are usually expected to be given in formal answers, explicitly in the answers
  3. State that certain assumptions are subject to technical input or comments from other consultants
  4. Do not make assumptions just to make answers easy or avoid answering the real issues (Duck-outs)


  1. Do not repeat in the backups information that has been adequately covered in the front answers, assessors' task will be easier
  2. Avoid inclusion in backups some points conflicting with the front answers, without valid argument
  3. Use backups to show your thinking process and evaluation between different options before putting forward the selected single option in the front answers

Giving conclusions

  1. Give simple conclusions to various views or points expressed

Giving recommendations

  1. Do not just list out all the pros and cons
  2. Give your recommendation to solve the problems posed to you
  3. Give sensible recommendations
  4. Give practical solutions
  5. Watch out that things theoretically or contractually correct may not be practically good solutions
  6. Give theoretically or contractually correct interpretation but at the same time do not be afraid to suggest practically good or commercially viable solutions

No "right" answer

  1. Note that there may not be absolutely right or wrong answers
  2. Demonstrate that you have considered different possible interpretation or courses of actions, and explain why you would choose a particular one as your recommendation

What not to do

  1. Do not give answers to defeat the purposes and use of the QS profession
  2. Do not give answers to suggest that other professions or occupations are more superior
  3. Do not collude
  4. Do not show the name of yourself or your company in the paper

Proof reading

  1. Watch out conflicting views
  2. Watch out reversed meaning due to inclusion or omission of negative words like "no", "not", etc.
  3. Watch out empty spaces with missing words that you have blocked out by correction ink


  1. Be simple
  2. Use correct tense
  3. Observe grammar
  4. Avoid usual errors
  5. Number sub-paragraphs for clarity

What and what not to enclose

  1. Include in the submission all front answers and backups to your answers
  2. State the standard form of contract and the method of measurement used and do not enclose them
  3. Arrange the front answers and backups systematically to show the flow of your thinking process and to assist the assessors to follow the logic of your answers
  4. Any special notes to assessors should be given at the front of your submission
  5. Enclose only relevant information
  6. Do not enclose irrelevant information for the sake of making your submissions look more informative

Attending interview

  1. Be calm
  2. Smile
  3. Be confident
  4. Give clear expression
  5. Give reasonable length of response
  6. Share past experience
  7. Observe professional conduct
  8. Be fair and reasonable
  9. Show continuing professional development
  10. Do not change profession

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Shortfalls when Attending Professional Interviews 專業評核面試時的缺失

Shortfalls when Attending Professional Interviews 專業評核面試時的缺失 KCTang Fri, 26/12/2014 - 00:07

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  1. Not prepared to answer technical questions
  2. Not bringing along own CV
  3. Only superficial knowledge of how things are usually done without knowing why
  4. Insufficient exposure to the full spectrum of quantity surveying services
  5. Unable to describe the various methods of carrying out pre-construction cost estimates
  6. Unable to describe the meaning of elemental cost estimates and cost analysis
  7. Unable to distinguish clearly the differences between lump sum contracts with and without BQ
  8. Unable to describe different types of contracts
  9. Not familiar with the private form of building contracts
  10. Unable to describe the implications of a letter of intent
  11. Unable to describe names of different types of warranties and guarantees
  12. Only superficial knowledge of the differences between on-demand and on-default bonds
  13. Unable to distinguish between the two categories of insurances under a Contractors' All Risks and Third Party Liability Insurance
  14. Unable to describe the meanings of "cross-liability clause" and "right of subrogation"
  15. Unable to fully describe the valuation rules for variations
  16. Unable to appreciate circumstances warranting a deviation from the contract rates
  17. Unable to distinguish between prime cost sum and prime cost rates
  18. Unable to describe the usual formula for adjusting prime cost rates and the rationale behind
  19. Unable to describe the situation leading to time at large and the implications of time at large
  20. Unable to describe the items admissible in the calculation of the rate of liquidated damages for delayed completion
  21. Unable to describe the procedures leading to the imposition of liquidated damages for delayed completion
  22. Unable to describe the heads of prolongation and disruption claims
  23. Unable to distinguish between head office overheads, project overheads and site overheads
  24. Unable to demonstrate awareness of the latest trends of the profession and the industry
  25. Inspired to change profession

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