Founder President of the IQSSL

Prof. CalderaA tall man with a pink shirt and earth color trouser wanted to see that no one walking on the corridor. He wanted everyone to be seated at the right table. He wanted to see that all the lecturers are sharp on time. He did not need all the bling, and did not want to do what all others wanted to do. He was confident with what he did. However, time had come for him to leave us at the age of fifty four. A true intellectual left us at a time the entire university network had been closed.

It was Professor H.P. Siri Caldera who was a strict disciplinarian possessed of versatile talents and who never ever flaunt it. Such an outstanding personality acted as an example to all others how to ‘work on time’ and ‘with a true commitment’. Therefore, this write up is penned as a tribute to that memory. Professor Caldera was the founder President of Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Sri Lanka. With a handful of then qualified Quantity Surveyors, he spearheaded the IQSSL towards a strategic direction. He was also the first head of Department of Building Economics at the University of Moratuwa that started the four year internal full time bachelor honors degree in Quantity Surveying. A known fact is that his leadership could successfully withstand the enormous political pressure from those who really did not want to see a bachelor degree in quantity surveying cropping-up in any way.

In 1952, he had begun his career at the Architectural Branch of the Public Works Department. Having completed technical studies at the Ceylon Technical College, Colombo, he had received a six-year fellowship by the Public Service Commission of then Ceylon to continue his studies abroad. From our previous records, we find that he was a resident in Australia during 1960 to 1965 whilst working as a Quantity Surveyor in the Commonwealth Department of Works and he had completed a Diploma Course in Quantity Surveying at Brisbane Technical College (1960-1962), and a Supervision Course at the School of Management in Sydney (1964-1965). His first appointment on return as a corporate member of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors is the position of Chief Quantity Surveyor at the Public Works Department.

Amongst his initiatives is the first Standard Method of Measurement for Building Works issued by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution. Professor Caldera was also instrumental in design and organization of the landmark National Certificate of Technology course in Quantity Surveying, the result of which is some thousands have primarily started their career as Quantity Surveyors, thus filling a considerable technical vacuum in the construction industry.

After 23 years of his untimely demise owing to a heart attack, we witness that his vision has been accomplished. Today, the Sri Lankan Quantity Surveyors have been recognized world over and sometimes the others say it is a mafia.

Professor Caldera sacrificed his personal interests to serve our country. We, therefore, pronounce him as a true son of our motherland. Our gratitude shall reach to late Professor Caldera’s family, his wife and two daughters, as they were behind his accomplishments. His ‘without postponing’ policy must have had him more time than others in pursuit of a unique ideology for Quantity Surveyors that had a revolutionary nom de guerre.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.