Home Articles Professor H.P. Siri Caldera (1934-1989) FAIQS, FCIArb, FIQSSL
Professor H.P. Siri Caldera (1934-1989) FAIQS, FCIArb, FIQSSL PDF Print E-mail

Founder of the Department of Building Economics

By Lakshman Ramanayake MSc, BSc(QS)Hons, MRICS and Kapila Ranatunga MSc, BSc(QS)Hons, MRICS

Late Professor H.P.S. Caldera was the first head of Department of Building Economics at the University of Moratuwa as well as the founder President of Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Sri Lanka. He was an internationally recognised Building Economist and Educationalist. However, he is being perhaps most remembered by the construction industry by his roles as a Chartered Arbitrator, an Expert Witness and a Consultant.

In 1952, he began his career at the Architectural Branch of the Public Works Department. He completed his initial technical studies at the Ceylon Technical College, Colombo. Later he received a six-year fellowship to continue his studies abroad, in Quantity Surveying by the Public Service Commission of then Ceylon.

From 1960 until the end of 1965, he was a resident in Australia where, whilst working as a Quantity Surveyor in the Commonwealth Department of Works, he successfully completed a Diploma Course in Quantity Surveying at Brisbane Technical College (1960-1962), and a Supervision Course at the School of Management in Sydney (1964-1965). On returning to Sri Lanka, having qualified as a Corporate Member of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors he was appointed as the Chief Quantity Surveyor at Public Works Department. During his tenure in the Public Works Department he recognised the wretched state of Sri Lankan construction industry which was poorly performing in financial and commercial aspects owing to the absence of Quantity Surveyor’s active role. Initially, it had been a challenge developing Quantity Surveying to the standard that the construction industry recognise QS’s role as an integral profession in par with other professions.

In a time where many qualified Quantity Surveyors were leaving the country in search of better pastures, Professor Caldera together with few Chartered Surveyors, made a great effort in establishing a Quantity Surveying degree course and an institute to represent Quantity Surveyors. In addition, he was instrumental in pursuing the Sri Lanka Standards Institution to publish the first Standard Method of Measurement for Building Works.

In 1986, he was able to commence the Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying Honours degree course at the University of Moratuwa, to internationally accepted standards. His vision was to develop Quantity Surveyors, who are competent in all aspects and to fill the vacuum of the construction industry of Sri Lanka.

After nineteen years of his demise today we witness that his vision has been accomplished. Fulfilling his wishes, today in Sri Lanka, QS has become an important profession in the construction industry. Furthermore, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - UK and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) have accredited the BSc(QS) Honours degree course.

Professor Caldera was also instrumental in course design and organisation of the National Certificate of Technology in Quantity Surveying. He immensely contributed to the research and development works initiated by the Institute for Construction Training and Development of Sri Lanka (ICTAD), and designed the QS training programmes for the practicing Quantity Surveyors. He represented Sri Lanka in many international events and brought international recognition and honour to the QS profession of Sri Lanka.

Indeed, without Professor Caldera’s personal effort and capability any of the above achievements would not have been accomplished in Sri Lanka. His devotion, dedication and determination exemplify only some of the attributes of a man who through a quiet, patient and altruistic nature gained the respect of people he met in many walks of life and particularly so in the wide circle of academics and professionals he knew.

Professor Caldera sacrificed his personal interests to serve our country. We, therefore, pronounce him as a true son of our motherland. Our gratitude shall reach to late Professor Caldera’s family, his wife and two daughters, as they were behind his accomplishments and sacrifices.