PhD (Law), M.Sc.(bld)Aust, B.Sc.(QS)Aust, B.Sc.(BE) Colombo , Arch(Aus), ARAIA, FAIQS, FIA(SL), FRICS, F.I.Q.S.SL

The Iron Lady in QS

Prof. WeddikkaraProfessor Chitra Suranganee Weddikkara is the immediate past President of the IQSSL, holding a record of the longest-serving President. Affably known as Chitra amongst her peer contemporaries, Professor Chitra Weddikkara has been an internationally renowned personality in the construction sector. She is a professor of building economics, chartered architect, chartered quantity surveyor, an external examiner, a mentor, and an administrator.

Born as the eldest daughter in a family of five children in Negombo, her primary education started at the Ave Maria Convent in Negombo. For secondary education, she entered into the Good Shepherd College in Kotahena, Colombo. Qualified in Architecture in the year 1975, she subsequently acquired a Bachelor of Applied Science in Quantity Surveying from Curtain University of Technology, M.Sc in Building Studies, and Ph.D. in Dispute Resolution, College of Law, Murdoch University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (A.I.Q.S), Fellow of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Sri Lanka (IQSSL), Fellow of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (S.L.I.A), Member of the Institute of Project Managers (IPMSL), Member of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (R.A.I.A), Associate Member of the Australian Institute of Builders (A.I.O.B), and an Associate Member of the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators.

After several years working in Australia, she came to work in the Department of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa, as a part time lecturer in 1983. With the untimely demise of late Professor H.P. Siri Caldera, she was invited to take over the position of Head of Department of Building Economics. This taking-over was known to be critical for the uninterrupted function of then the newly started four years honors degree course in Quantity Surveying. It was far back in 1987 when there were no local lecturers academically qualified in Quantity Surveying. Amidst challenges surrounded her efforts in the pursuit of funds, staff and studentships, she could successfully establish a unique identity for the Department of Building Economics of the University of Moratuwa. Her five year strategic plan to function the B.Sc QS degree course included lobbying professors and lecturers specialized in the field of Quantity Surveying through various universities and funding agencies such as College of Estate Management at the University of Reading, British Council, Common Wealth Fund, British Volunteer Service Organization (BVSO), Australian Volunteer Service Organization (AVSO), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), to name a few.

At a time only a handful of clients knew what Quantity Surveying really meant, the first ever public awareness event was taken place on 7 December 1990 at the Mt. Lavinia Hotel with participation of a large gathering including then the Minister of Higher Education, Hon Lalith Athulathmudali. It should also be noted that driving force behind new degree courses namely B.Sc in Facilities Management, M.Sc in Project Management and M.Sc in Law and Dispute Resolution in Construction is none other than Professor Chitra Weddikkara. In this manner, the Department of Building Economics became the pioneer institute to offer such courses in the university network. Her academic direction helped earning accreditation among the world reputable professional bodies such as RICS, PAQS, AIQS etc. Indeed, this academic ‘explosion’ is apparently because she at once is an academician with a properly assorted captivating inclination in the industry- an unusual combination in any area of science.

Being widely traveled in the Europe, Americas, Australasia and the Middle Eastern countries, she is a frequent guest speaker at construction related professional venues. She was a senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Recently, the University of West Indies conferred an honorary visiting professorship on attachment to the Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, Faculty of Engineering, St Augustine.

In administrative functions, she is the former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa. She has been a Member of the Senate, Member of By-Laws committee, Member of the Library Committee, Member of Faculty Board, Faculty of Architecture, Member in the Engineering and Architectural Council of University Grants Commission, Member of Curriculum and Evaluation Committee of the Faculty of Architecture, Member of the Board of Higher Degrees at the Faculty of Architecture, and Member of the standing committee on examination offences. Also, she is the Former Chairman of the Board of Architectural Education at the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), a founding council member of the Chamber of Construction Industry, a founding member of International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction, a Member of the Advisory Board for Construction and Engineering Services, former Board Member of the Institute of Construction, Training and Development (ICTAD), Chairperson of the RICS chapter in Sri Lanka, and Member of Constitution Board of RICS, Advisor for the Council of the Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB), Director of the Green Council in Sri Lanka and overseas representative of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors. She was also the Congress Chair of the 15th Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors international conference recently held in Colombo.

Her contribution well over a period of 35 years is significant, enormous and priceless.