Adam Ding: Five Quick Questions

AAOM is happy to introduce the first  presenter in the 2013 Great Minds Symposium. 

Adam  Ding is  an instructor at Red River Community College in Winnipeg  who specializes in Quantity Surveying and Construction Management.   

His presentation will address critical  questions and concepts relating to the cost approach for property  assessment. –Rick Sherrin

Adam, what do you do for a living?
I used to be a professional quantity surveyor in BC, providing cost advice to the provincial government, local school districts, regional health authorities, financial institutions, private developers, architects and engineers etc.

Nowadays, I work for Red River College here in Winnipeg as an instructor for the new Construction Management Degree Program.

I love quantity surveying as a profession, yet–I also like my present job–as I am training more people to go into that direction.


What is your  specialty, or area of expertise? Most of the projects  that I’ve worked on are in the building sector, which includes commercial, institutional, industrial and residential buildings, although sometimes I am called upon to work on heavy/civil projects as well.

The focus for “pre-construction” quantity surveying is to establish the project budget, and then to monitor/control it through the design phases.

I am the owner’s “watchdog” for the project. My advice is critical for the owner to get the government funding; to utilize the funds wisely for the design; to  ensure the project will be tendered within budget; and hopefully  covers the construction uncertainties as much as possible.

The work is also fun for me, as it requires the thorough understanding of owner’s needs (project requirements) as well as the construction aspect of the equation.

What characteristic defines an excellent Quantity Surveyor? It’s a good question and the answer really depends on whom you work for. Right off the top of my head:

~Communication/presentation skills;
~Hardworking and enjoying the work;
~Having a big picture about the project;
~Also attention to details when necessary;
~Ability to use the in-house computer system;
~Able to develop/manipulate Excel spreadsheets;
~General knowledge of building systems from ground up (civil, architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical);
~Knowledge of cost books and access to people resources;
~Initiative to carry about own cost research;

People tend to place certain emphases on some factors over others.

My view is no one is perfect but everyone shall strive for excellence.

What is the single most important idea that you want to communicate to the assessors of Manitoba? I believe most assessors in your organization work as public servants. My current employer is also a public entity.

While a balance of work and life is important, we shall act to protect the best interests of the general public. To do that effectively from one’s own job/role, a good understanding of the organization’s mission/vision/system is also critical.

Finally, what are you passionate about?  Currently, my passion concerns my Construction Management students here at Red River College. It’s a new degree program, and I have been trying to put a lot  of effort into it.

Many of our students are succeeding not because their technical knowledge/work experience, but because they have the right attitude, work ethics and personal integrity. Some of them have been working for Hydro, MIT as well as big contractors such as PCL, Bird etc.

Increasingly our students are beating their competitions from other engineering-based programs in the college as well as universities. I look forward to seeing them working for the City in the future.

Thank you, Adam. We look forward to your presentation in April!

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