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Emerging scholar takes top honour for pioneering sustainable housing research

- Wits University

“I wish to advocate that it is the mission of all Quantity Surveyors, local and abroad, to make Sustainability Affordable.”

Malcolm Weaich accepting his award

Malcolm Weaich, a young academic researcher at University of the Witwatersrand, has been honoured with "The Best Overall Youth U/35 Award" at the 13th South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP)  International Research Conference. Weaich was recognised for his research on the "Willingness of End-Users to Adopt Sustainable Housing in South Africa," shedding light on the critical role Quantity Surveyors can play in making sustainability affordable.

Weaich expressed humility and gratitude, stating, “I am humbled, honoured, and thankful to God. Being recognised by the SACQSP is a testament to the dedication and hard work I’ve invested in my field of research", after accepting the award from the President of the SACQSP, Ms Nosiyabonga Mgudlwa Mongane.

He acknowledged the support from his Head of School, Professor Samuel Laryea, who encouraged him to join academia and join his team at the Wits School of Construction Economics and Management at the University.

"I am thankful to my School and University for encouraging me to become a researcher for change, and as a young academic researcher, I hope to inspire others,” said Weaich.

"I wish to advocate that it is the mission of all Quantity Surveyors local and abroad, to make sustainability affordable."

Weaich’s research, titled Affordability for Sustainability is a Reality, delves into South Africa's alarming carbon emissions, ranking twelfth globally, and the financial barriers hindering sustainable living. His study aims to inform sustainable material adoption by identifying preferred materials and investment levels among South African end-users providing a novel way to assess what end-users are willing to pay for, and what Quantity Surveyors need to make more affordable through supply chain management. The research reveals that affordability is pivotal to the sustainability aspirations of urban South Africans across all income brackets. Weaich's findings advocate for Quantity Surveyors' expertise in overcoming financial obstacles and promoting sustainable housing.

Professor Clinton Aigbavboa, Research Chair for Sustainable Construction Management and Leadership in the Built Environment, Centre of Excellence, University of Johannesburg, peer-reviewed and nominated Weaich's research. The co-authors, Dr Prisca Simbanegavi and Dr Pride Ndlovu from the University of Witwatersrand, played essential roles in the study.

Weaich's paper, still pending full publication, competes in the conference theme of Digitalisation of the Quantity Surveying Practice: Towards a Sustainable Profession. The research stood out among 40 publications from institutions across Africa and Europe, affirming Weaich's pivotal contribution to advancing sustainable practices in the field of Quantity Surveying. The full paper is anticipated to be published as a conference proceeding in 2024. Awaiting the release of the complete paper, Weaich’s presentation is currently available for viewing and referencing via the ResearchGate online platform.