Surveying from the Top

BBQ speaks to Inga Vanqa, Managing Director of Inga Vanqa Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers


Inga Vanqa Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers (IVQS) has built a reputation as one of the fastest growing built-environment consulting firms in South Africa. The company was founded in 2013 by Inqa Vanqa, Managing Director, operating from his parents’ garage in Queenstown. Having worked in the built environment for 10 years and having acquired both local and international experience, Vanqa felt it was the perfect time to venture out on his own.

The first two years were very tough,” he says. “Clients didn’t pay on time and I ran into cashflow problems which hindered the growth of the business. As difficult as things were, I never compromised on the quality of the services that I was rendering to my clients, and I always delivered on time.

That is what has helped us to build such a good reputation and I have maintained that till now. Reputation is everything and I protect ours jealously because once the reputation is gone it’s very difficult to rebuild.”

Quantity Surveying deals primarily with management of budgets in construction projects in order to ensure that the client gets maximum value for money and every cent invested into a project is accounted for. In addition, Quantity Surveyors play a pivotal role in the procurement process of a project where we assist and advise clients on the best strategy of procuring contractors. Lastly, Quantity Surveyors provide contractual advice to their clients assisting them in making informed decisions before, during and post the construction of a facility. Quantity Surveying has evolved immensely over the years and is now being used in other industries outside of construction such as mining, petrochemicals, energy, etc.

“Our mission is to provide quality project advise to our clients through our in-depth knowledge of the built environment using our specialist skills and expertise. The vision is to always exceed client expectations and always leave a mark in our projects through our exceptional quality service offering.

Ethics and integrity is the foundation upon which we operate. We pride ourselves with the most transparent, ethical and professional conduct at all times, ensuring that our clients receive value for their investments at all times. We are also fully committed to the codes of conduct stipulated by our affiliated professional bodies.”

IVQS offers an expansive ranges of services that include Quantity Surveying; Construction Project Management; Green Building Consulting; Project Audits and Arbitration. When it comes to the cxompany’s competitive advantage within the industry, Vanga explains that having worked for some of the biggest firms in the world before starting the firm, helped a lot in planning and building IVQS to what it is today.

“I know what practises work both internationally and locally and I know where the pitfalls are. Each project is unique and we treat them as such as what has worked in the past might not necessarily work today. We have embraced technology and have some of the latest technologies available both locally and internationally and that our competitive advantage.

Passion and the exuberance of youth also works for us, we’re a firm of young people with fresh ideas of how to tackle problems, I always encourage new ideas,” he says.

Currently IVQS are involved in a number of exciting projects. IVQS is leading the construction of a state-of-the-art office blocks in Aliwal North and in Queenstown where the firm was appointed as both Principal Agents (project leaders), and Quantity Surveyors for both projects. IVQS are also leading the construction of a SARS (South African Revenue Services) customs warehouse at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).

“My immediate goal is to grow the footprint of the firm to at least all the nine provinces, we currently have a presence in Queenstown, East London and Bloemfontein. Expanding into other African countries is also on the cards and we are in talks with a few potential clients in Lesotho and Botswana,” explains Vanqa.

The road to success for IVQS has not been without its challenges, with late payments continuing to be a problem. “We have had clients who have taken up to a year to pay us, and it has taught me to be very careful with how I manage the company finances, says Vanqa. “That’s why I always make sure there are enough cash reserves to carry us through the periods of non-payment. We are also operating in a space where the profit margins are getting lower and lower due to increased competition and price undercutting by competitors. That has led me to diversify the business and introduce other services such as property development and a plant (construction machinery) hiring business, we have now expanded our revenue streams and that has helped with cashflow into the business.

Inga Vanqa started his career in 2004 after completing his Quantity Surveying studies. After working for a small firm in East London for three years, in 2007 he moved to Johannesburg to work for a multi-national firm which introduced him to the mining industry. “I learnt a lot during my time there and before I left to start IVQS, I was leading multi-billion rands mining projects both in South Africa and internationally. During that time I also acquired a Masters degree in the Built Environment and qualified as a Professional Quantity Surveyor (PrQS) and as a Professional Construction Project Manager (PrCPM), with the respective professional bodies, and these credentials gave me a firm foundation upon which I started the business.”As Managing Director, Vanqa leads a vibrant team of profressionals, and says that each day is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. “My days a spent travelling between meetings and visiting sites. The odd day that I spend in the office is spent compiling project reports, putting together proposals, doing general office administrative functions as well as supervisory roles to the staff at the office. I’ve been blessed to have acquired a considerable amount of knowledge both academically and through work experience and I enjoy imparting that knowledge to my juniors and mentoring them as they grow as professionals. Regardign his leadership style and what he believes to be true leadership, Vanqa believes that one can never lead people into doing that which he as a leader is not prepared to do himself. When I started this business, I couldn’t afford to employ staff, so that meant that I did it all; from making coffee to balancing the books, deliveries to cleaning, filing to answering phone calls, in addition to the fulfilling the core functions of the business. The positive side about it all is that I know exactly how those functions are meant to be done, as I have done then myself before, and it makes it easier for me to lead and manage the people I now employ to do them.

I have also learnt the value of effective communication in running a business; communication is in most cases neglected and to me it can make or break a project and even a business. Leadership is also about taking responsibility and being accountable and owning up to your mistakes and shortfalls,” concludes Vanqa. 

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