Curtin Malaysia’s Department of Built Environment hosts series of insightful guest lectures

Miri – 28 November 2023 – The Department of Built Environment at Curtin University Malaysia’s Faculty of Humanities and Health Sciences has played host to a series of enriching guest lectures by leading academics from four different universities as part of its ongoing commitment to providing students with valuable industry insights.

The guest lectures for the department’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management and Master of Science in Project Management students focused on diverse aspects of project management within the construction and engineering realms.

The first lecture on ‘The Role of Quantity Surveyors in Project Management’ was delivered by Ts. Sr. Dr. Zakaria Mohd. Yusof, who was formerly an Associate Professor (Profesor Madya) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). His topic enhanced the students’ understanding of the multifaceted  role and responsibilities of quantity surveyors within the built environment. The students also gained a better understanding of the broader responsibilities of this profession in respect to project management from Ts. Sr. Dr. Zakaria, who taught at UTM for over 30 years.

A second lecture on ‘New Perspectives and Ideas through the Rapid Adoption of Value Management – Malaysia Experience* by Associate Professor Sr. Dr. Saipol Bari bin Abdul Karim from Universiti Malaya focused on value management, a profession which is increasingly critical in the built environment.

According to Sr. Dr. Saipol, who is a Consultant Quantity Surveyor (CQS) registered with the Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM) and Educational Development Director of the Institute of Value Management Malaysia (IVMM), the Malaysian government has elevated value management to greater significance in construction projects. It has also made it mandatory to conduct value management in in public programmes and projects valued at RM50 million and above.

Furthermore, although curricula for construction management often includes value management, it is worthwhile for students to delve into the Malaysian context, such as the history of value management in Malaysia, initiatives taken by the Malaysian government in relation to value management, and the practical applications of value management in Malaysian construction projects, particularly in controlling project costs and quality.

“Value management is a rigorous, systematic effort to improve the value and optimise the cost of projects, programmes, facilities and services. It spans various industries and roles, and quantity surveyors can further enhance their skills and knowledge in this area. This will give them an added advantage in their career development,” said Sr. Dr. Saipol.

A third lecture entitled ‘Project Integration Management: Tasks Managers Cannot Delegate’ was given by Dr. Ali Al-Ashwal from Western Sydney University.

Dr. Ali, who holds two prestigious credentials – Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), USA and Certified Practising Project Practitioner (CPPP) from the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) – gave an insightful presentation on project integration management.

He said that according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is a set of standard terminology and guidelines for project management, project integration management is critical as it has significant impacts on the entire project life cycle process, from initiation to closing.

“Project integration management is the coordination of all aspects of projects such as time, cost, stakeholder requirements, client expectations, resources, and so on, to ensure that they are successful. Project managers play a critical role in this aspect, and is a responsibility they cannot delegate to others,” said Dr. Ali.

He added that it is worth noting that the project manager’s role in the digitalisation and SDG era goes beyond the traditional project management responsibilities.

“Project managers and construction managers have to possess a deep understanding of advanced digital technologies, be adept at managing interdisciplinary teams, and navigate the ethical and strategic considerations unique to managing a project,” he said.

“A skilled project manager or construction manager can contribute significantly to the success of digital initiatives by ensuring effective planning and monitoring, communication, risk management, and alignment with organisational objectives.”

The fourth and last lecture was by Distinguished Professor Wang Chen of National Huaqiao University, China, who spoke on ‘Latest Advanced Technologies in Engineering Construction Project Management (ECPM)’. Dr. Wang is Head of the Department of Construction Management at the university.

In his lecture, Dr. Wang delved into the application of digital technologies in the realm of Engineering Construction Project Management (ECPM). He shared the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of 17 different types of digital technologies in project management.

“With the world undergoing a profound shift towards a digitalised era, the role of project managers has evolved to align with this contemporary landscape. This evolution has given rise to numerous novel job positions that have surfaced in the age of digitalisation, with roles like robotics project managers being prominent examples,” he remarked.

“This digital transformative trend has highlighted the importance of adapting to the changing technological landscape and the dynamic demands it places on professionals in the field of project management.”

Head of the Department of Built Environment, Dr. Low Wai Wah, said the guest lectures provided an effective platform for construction management and project management students to engage with industry and academic experts and gain valuable insights into the latest trends, methodologies, and challenges within their respective fields.

She said the enthusiastic participation and positive feedback from students underscored the success of the event, reinforcing Curtin Malaysia’s commitment to nurturing well-rounded and industry-ready graduates.

Curtin Malaysia, the largest global campus of Curtin University in Western Australia, is located in the heart of Borneo, Malaysia. It is committed to excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement, providing a global education experience with strong foundations in innovation and industry connections. The Department of Built Environment is dedicated to preparing students for dynamic careers in construction, project management, and related disciplines.

Information on Curtin Malaysia can be found on its website at, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

(L-R) Ts Sr Dr Zakaria Mohd Yusof, Sr Dr Saipol Bari Abdul Karim, Dr Ali Al-Ashwal, Prof Wang Chen