What is RICS and Why is it Important?

Chartered Surveyors are a crucial part of the property and construction industries as they work with a wide range of people such as architects, ecologists, town planners, property developers, engineers and bankers. 

At the intersection between various fields and disciplines, the roles and responsibilities of a surveyor are dynamic but they play a key role in advising on the technical aspects of buildings and construction projects whilst helping people to make crucial decisions about their development. 

During their career, surveyors may choose to become members of a public regulatory body named the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Doing so requires surveyors to study degrees, undertake training, exams and undergo continued professional development in their field. Chartered Surveyor is a legal title and only those who belong to RICS may refer to themselves as such. 

Why is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Necessary?

Chartered professions in the UK are often those which carry significant trust and responsibility for the public and their safety. Regulation is necessary to ensure the highest standards, as well as correct ethical practice and conduct. Since Chartered Surveyors report their work to a central body and are subject to cross-checks, those hiring their services can do so with a higher degree of trust compared to non-regulated surveyors. RICS also deal with disputes and complaints, so if a problem does arise with a survey then you can be assured it’ll be dealt with sincerely. 


The Benefits of RICS Chartered Surveyors

RICS Chartered Surveyor
This is the RICS building that is located at: 12 Great George St, Westminster, London SW1P 3AD

  • There are multiple ways to become an RICS Chartered Surveyor but each requires a similarly high level of technical expertise combined with real-life experience and certifications of ethical practice. This helps ensures skill, trust and competence. 
  • The RICS has a central reporting system and work is periodically cross-checked and assessed to make sure it meets standards. 
  • Any complaints or disputes will be dealt with internally by the RICS to ensure fairness and Chartered Surveyors can be held directly accountable. 


The Types of Surveyors

Whilst the various barriers for entry into RICS all require similar levels of technical competency and a proven track record of high standards, not every Chartered Surveyor is specialised in the same sector or industry. 

You could say there are 4 main groups of Chartered Surveyors, each with their own specialisms:

Building Surveyors

The most common type of Chartered Surveyor, virtually every Chartered Surveyor will have in-depth knowledge on how to carry out a building survey. Typical surveys include the RICS Condition Report, RICS HomeBuyers Survey and RICS Building Survey. These surveys accurately assess the building and its condition, paying particular attention to its integrity to illuminate any existing issues or pending or developing issues that may develop in time. Building surveyors can grant expert advice on how a building can be modified, for example in the case of listed buildings or commercial buildings with the associated Use Classes

Rural Surveyors

With specialist knowledge on the legalities of rural land use and development, farming and rural industry and land management, this type of surveyor plays a vital role in helping rural developers to easily navigate complex UK and EU legalities for the use and upkeep of land.

Environmental Surveyors

Environmental surveyors play a vital role in making developments greener and more environmentally-friendly in order to conform with government targets that are increasing regulations for reducing carbon footprints to protect the environment. Also these surveyors are often be involved in the following industries:

  • Clean energy.
  • Solar.
  • Waste disposal and emissions. 

Construction Surveyors

Construction surveyors will have specialist knowledge of land types and how this influences construction projects, e.g. laying foundations, as well as on the development and renovation of new and exiting properties.

RICS Chartered Surveyor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does a Surveyor Have to be RICS?

No, and you can’t say that every good surveyor is RICS-registered. However, RICS does help to ensure the highest standards of surveying and with centralised reporting protocols and complaint mediation, RICS surveyors should be the only choice for serious survey projects. 

What Does a Surveyor Look For?

It depends on the survey but a typical survey such as a HomeBuyer’s report will assess varying aspects of the building including its background, information on rebuild costs for insurance (e.g. in case of a house fire), insulation, structural integrity, dampness and other major faults that need to be addressed prior to signing a contract. 

Are RICS Surveyors More Expensive?

RICS surveys like the HomeBuyer’s Survey, RICS Condition Report and the more comprehensive RICS Building Report are most expensive compared to cursory surveys performed by non-regulated surveyors or estate agents but for most buildings other than those build very recently, they’re worth it and in many cases, e.g. for old and listed buildings, they’re essential. For more advanced surveys, e.g. rural, construction or commercial surveys, commercial chartered surveyors will nearly always be worth any additional costs.

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