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Intersection and Divergence in CE, QS, and PM: Competencies, Qualifications, and Professional Recognition

Title: "Intersection and Divergence in CE, QS, and PM: Competencies, Qualifications, and Professional Recognition"

Author: "Alexia Nalewaik"

Abstract: Globally, much of the expertise required for project management, oversight, and control is provided by the cost engineering (CE), quantity surveying (QS), and project management (PM) communities. Various efforts have been made to explore intersection and divergence in the competencies of these three fields, but many of those studies have relied on surveys and self-assessment. Ultimately, the outcome from such studies of individuals is an exhaustive list of skills that is so broad as to encompass all possible job descriptions, which dilutes a true understanding of the competencies.

For example, in AACE International’s Cost Engineering journal, a series of over 47 member profile articles have been published. No two members featured in the articles perform exactly the same role in CE, QS, or PM. These articles have clearly illustrated that, once formal education has concluded, each individual’s career path is unique, even unpredictable, and specialisation occurs often. Asking these individuals ‘what they do’ opens a veritable Pandora’s box of potential skills.

A more structured approach is needed, to understand and benefit from the relationship between the three fields. The analysis presented in this paper relied on competency definitions from leading professional associations. Here, “’competency’ is defined as the ability to perform the activities within an occupation to the standard expected for employment,” (Lenard, 2000), and “sufficiency of qualification,” (Little, Fowler, & Coulson, 1984) where qualification can be defined as a “quality [or] accomplishment that qualifies or fits a person for some office or function.” (Little, Fowler, & Coulson, 1984) In the analysis, occupational competency standards are represented by three CE, six PM, and five QS professional associations. These particular standards were chosen for their rigorousness, clarity, and formal structure..

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