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Difference between Occupation and Profession in Construction Law

Discuss about the Construction Law for Training and Qualification.

Often the two terms profession and occupation are used in an interchangeable manner. Even though these two terms are same, there are quite some differences in between the two. Occupation is the activity which is undertaken by the individuals in order to earn their livelihood. This can be an employment or business which is undertaken by the individual to make money. On the other hand, profession refers to the activity which requires specialized knowledge, skills, training and qualification. To design a building is profession, whilst constructing the building is considered as occupation (Difference Between, 2018). It often implies the individual holding a certificate of practice and being a member of some professional bodies. The people undertaking a profession for rendering personalised services are known as professionals and are guided by code of conduct provided by the respective bodies (Singh, 2015).

Often the lines between profession and occupation are blurred and thin. There is a need for specialized knowledge and extensive training under profession; though, there are no such requirements under occupation. So, the individuals indulged in occupation are not required to have a specialized knowledge of their trade. There is no code of conduct under occupation but the same is present under profession. The training under the former is not necessary but is obligatory under the latter. Occupation is not regulated by statute but the profession is (Singh, 2015). The basis of pay in occupation is production whilst in profession is knowledge and skill. There is no degree of independence in occupation whilst the professionals are totally independent. Per se, there are no responsibilities in occupation and the status or respect level is low; whilst the professionals have responsibilities and have high respect and status (Olivia, 2012). The examples of people indulged in occupation include drivers, accountants, clerks, government servant and shopkeepers. The examples of people indulged in profession include doctors, chartered accountant, engineers and lawyers (Singh, 2015).

There are different players who get involved in the construction projects. These include architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, construction project managers and contractors, also known as builder. Some of these are indulged in profession, whilst the others are indulged in occupation (Birchall & Ramus, 2007). When it comes to architects, they are deemed as professionals. This is because the work of architects is to plan, design and review the construction of buildings. They require specialized knowledge for undertaking their work. When it comes to engineers, they are also deemed as professionals, as they are the people who invent, analyse, building and testing machines, materials, structures and systems, and also in designing them to fulfil the requirements, based on needs of the client, keeping in mind the costs, safety, practicality and regulations (Sido, 2006).

Professionals Involved in Construction Projects

The quantity surveyors are the individuals in construction industry and are deemed as professionals with expert knowledge on construction contracts and costs. They are highly qualified members of profession and they play an indispensable role in the construction, building and in the allied industries like mining (Go Study, 2018). They have to follow the code of professional bodies and also keep in mind the applicable laws. Construction project managers are also professionals as in order to manage the construction projects, there is a need for skill and knowledge base (Study, 2018). The last category, which is of contractors or builders, is one which is categorized under occupation. This is because the builders are just required to work on the instructions provided by the professionals and have to take up the building work of the construction site.

The Code of Conduct given by NZIQS i.e. New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors presents the behaviour, principles and values which are expected of members of NZIQS. The key goal of this code is to make certain that the members of NZIQS observe high standards of corporate and individual behaviour (Mbachu, 2015). This code also brings forth the minimum standard of conduct which is to be followed by the members. When there is a contravention of this code, the members of NZIQS can be disciplined based on the complaints and disciplinary procedure given by NZIQS. This code does not cover every type of the unprofessional conduct in a specific manner; and for the portions which have not been covered, the code can be used to discipline the members, based on the specific situations (NZIQS, 2017).

The code of conduct of the NZIQS gives effective rules and provisions, which are meant to ensure that the quantity surveyors in NZ follow proper standards in undertaking their work. The general standards of conduct are given through this code, which have to be followed by the members of the institute. The Constitution and Rules of the code dictate the manner in which the members not following the code would be disciplined (NZIQS, 2013a). This code is applicable on all members in a collective and individual manner. Where the partner of member, or their employees, fellow directors or ones acting on their behalf breach this code, with the prior knowledge or involvement of member, the member would be deemed to have contravened this code. This code requires the professionals to be honest and fair, to give advice to professional standards, of not injuring the professional reputation of any person, not lying about qualifications, avoiding conflict of interest, refraining from making false statements, being accurate, maintaining confidentiality and advertising dignity of profession (NZIQS, 2018).

Code of Conduct for Quantity Surveyors by NZIQS

The NZIQS Conditions of Engagement are the conditions of engagement which are recommended for procuring and for providing the professional consultation services. The reasons for developing these are for applying these to the scope of services which the members of NZIQS provide when they act in consulting role. The members of NZIQS are qualified to act in consulting roles and these conditions of engagement are to be used by the members to attain better practices in making certain that their commissions are legally and properly confirmed in writing. This particular document can be used as a standalone document which covers the agreement undertaken between quality surveyor and client for providing the professional consulting services; as being a point of reference for incorporating in established practice and in specialised practice in terms of short form agreement; and also as a document which amplifies the requirements in order to match the specific commission by making use of the special conditions (NZIQS, 2013b).

The rules of engagement provide details on the provisions regarding liability and insurance. In such cases where the quantity surveyor contravenes the drawn agreement between them and the client, the quantity surveyor is liable for the reasonably foreseeable losses, expenses, liabilities, damages and claims to the client, which had been caused due to a direct result of the contravention. There is no liability of the quantity surveyor to the client where the loss is consequential or special loss, caused indirectly, which is raised under the tort, contract or in other manner. The quantity surveyors have the maximum liability regarding damages, claims, losses, expenses, and liabilities which had to be five times the value of fees where the maximum limit is of $NZ 250,000 (NZIQS, 2013b).

The code also requires a duty of care to be deployed when the services are provided by the quantity surveyors, where they have to make use of the reasonable care, skill and diligence which is normally expected from any competent professional. They have to abide by the standards while carrying on their work, which is expected from the quantity surveyors. They have to carry out the work with high standards which are expected from the quantity surveyor professionals. Further, the quantity surveyors are required to follow the orders, policies and standards published by NZIQS. Furthermore, the quantity surveyors are required to give advice which is in full accordance with the normal professional standards. When it comes to the matters of accuracy due to the reputation of profession being dependent on good faith and accuracy, there is a requirement for the quantity surveyors to follow the highest standards of professional competency. Thus, through the NZIQS code of engagement, the quantity surveyors are expected to take care and follow the best standards to undertake their professional obligations. Where this is not done, the quantity surveyors would have to bear the professional liabilities, for which they may have to bear a liability of five times the fee or up to the maximum limit (NZIQS, 2013b).

Conditions of Engagement for Quantity Surveyors by NZIQS

Continued Professional Development or CPD refers to the process through which the skills, knowledge and experiences are tracked and documents which a person gains in both formal and informal manner as the person works, which is beyond their initial training. CPD basically records the experiences and learning and then assists in their application (Allen, 2009). It is a planned, lifelong and constant process which helps the professionals in developing their qualities and also in improving their skill set resulting in their empowerment, improving agency and developing the organizations (Padwad & Dixit, 2011). It is significant as CPD helps in making certain that the individual is competent in the profession, and it is a process which has to be undertaken across the career of the professionals (Kloosterman, 2013).

The key goal of a properly planned CAD is to safeguard the public, employer, professionals and the career of such professionals. CPD ensures that the individual has the capabilities which are up-to-date based on present standards. It makes certain that the skills and knowledge are maintained and enhanced helping in delivering the professional services to the clients. It also allows for meaning contributions to be made at the workplace and in staying interested. CPD also allows for deeper understanding on being a professional and brings a greater appreciation of the impact of work done. And depending upon the particular profession, it also allows for improved protection, environment, economy, property, sustainability and quality of life (Kloosterman, 2013).

There are a number of professional bodies which have made CPD mandatory. One of such institutes is The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators. They have mandated CPD through the bylaws covered under section 4.1 and 4.2 (CICBV, 2016). The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia have also mandated CPD and expect the midwives and nurses to take the accountability and responsibility in their participations in order to declare their practices as competent, current and safe (James & Francis, 2011). The Pharmacy Guide of Australia has also mandated CPD due to its different advantages (Fisher, 2015). Again, for the nurses of Australia, CPD has been made mandatory (Ross, Barr & Stevens, 2013). Even in the quantity surveying profession in South Africa, CPD is mandatory; and this is also done in Australia by AIQS (Cruywagen, 2007; AIQS, 2012). 

Where the CPD is mandated for the NZIQS, it would make certain that the quality and skill set of the quantity surveyors is enhanced. However, in this context, it can be claimed that the code of conduct given by the NZIQS and the Conditions of Engagement given by the NZIQS are enough measure to keep the knowledge and skill base of quantity surveyors. It can also be claimed that indulging in separate mandatory CPD is a waste of time and other resources. The training and development aspect under CPD is particularly costly, and there is a lack of direct link between performance improvements and CPD. Though, the chances of such claims being successful are highly unlikely. Even though CPD has not been mandated by NZIQS as of now and there is a debate since last number of years in this context, there is a need for adopting the CPD as a mandatory exercise, as it would allow for the quantity surveyors to keep themselves updated regarding their profession. This would in turn help them in providing their services with excellence, as through these trainings, they would stay updated on the varied problems which can be raised in their profession. All in all, to further improve the level of services and to work in interests of the different stakeholders, it is beneficial to mandate continuing professional development for all the members of NZIQS.


AIQS. (2012). Continuing Professional Development Guide-Lines and Rules. Retrieved from:

Allen, M. (2009). What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)? Retrieved from:

Birchall, S., & Ramus, J. W. (2007). Contract practice for surveyors. Oxon: Routledge.

CICBV. (2016). Mandatory Continuing Professional Development. Retrieved from:

Cruywagen, H. (2007). Continuing professional development for the quantity surveying profession in South Africa: commentary. Acta Structilia: Journal for the Physical and Development Sciences, 14(2), 91-103.

Difference Between. (2018). Difference between Occupation and Profession. Retrieved from:

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James, A., & Francis, K. (2011). Mandatory continuing professional education: What is the prognosis?. Collegian, 18(3), 131-136.

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NZIQS. (2013b). Conditions of Engagement. Retrieved from:

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Ross, K., Barr, J., & Stevens, J. (2013). Mandatory continuing professional development requirements: what does this mean for Australian nurses. BMC nursing, 12(1), 9.

Sido, K. R. (2006). Architect and engineer liability: Claims against design professionals. New York: Aspen Publishers.

Singh, S. (2015). Difference between Occupation and Profession. Retrieved from:

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