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A Royal Treat

Written by  Author |   Wed, 08 July 2015 09:09


Why Qatar conducts an exclusive interview with Robert Jackson, Director Middle East, RICS.

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. RICS’ name promises the consistent delivery of standards - bringing confidence to the markets they serve. It accredits 118,000 professionals and any individual or firm registered with RICS is subject to the company’s quality assurance.

With offices covering the major political and financial centers of the world, RICS is ideally placed to influence policy and embed professional standards. It works at a cross-governmental level, delivering international standards that will support a safe and vibrant marketplace in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, for the benefit of all. RICS regulates and promotes the profession; maintains the highest educational and professional standards; protects clients and consumers via a strict code of ethics; and provides impartial advice and guidance.

RICS continues to expand its presence around the region with the recent opening of a new office in Qatar. On this occasion, WhyQatar had the following interview with Robert Jackson, Director Middle East, RICS.

When was RICS established, by whom and how has it developed?

We’ve been around for 147 years now. Initially established in the UK, RICS operates under the Royal Charter that sets our objectives when setting and enforcing standards related to land, property and construction.  We work at the highest technical, professional and ethical standards. Working in the public interest we ensure high standards of ethical principles. Currently, we operate in all major real estate markets of the world. We have 180,000 members globally and we are still the only professional body that awards chartered status to surveyors involving quality surveyors, land surveyors, dispute resolvers, building surveyors and more.

How is such a big organization managed?

We have 500 member staff that help run the organization as a business, efficiently and on a global scale. We actually work in partnership with our members in each country where we operate. Our country members operate within groups or boards. We act on the market insights with those boards and we help introduce positive changes in the markets where we have member boards.

What can you say about RICS’s objectives?

We cover 20 different objectives all related to land, property and construction including conventional land surveying, geomatics, geographic surveying, planning in the construction sector by providing project managers, in addition to quality surveyors, building surveyors, building control, ant right into the asset life cycle, when we have professionals who value these assets. We have dispute resolvers (arbitration, mediation), expert witnesses, in addition to facilities managers. We have 20 different professions that cover the whole life of the built environment.

Who can be a member and what are their obligations?

Anyone can be a member of RICS provided that they work in one of the professions that we cover. We have a very rigorous entrance process for particularly such a chartered status. We have various breeds of memberships comprising the M-RICS (for members), our chartered qualification, F-RICS (Fellowship, also chartered, is awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the profession), Students (junior in careers), and Assoc-RICS (associate qualification for those with vocational experience). What we look for in our members is a combination of academics, experience and skills. Not only they should have the skills, but they must know how to apply those skills to different situations and also help advise the clients. Yet, we apply the APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) for maximum results. The APC is the practical training and experience which, when combined with academic qualifications, leads to RICS membership. The objective of the APC is to ensure that the applicant is competent to practice as a chartered surveyor. The APC normally consists of a period of structured training and a final assessment interview.

What about the designation of professional members and fellows of the RICS? What are their mission?

RICS professional groups embrace the wide range of disciplines covered by chartered surveyors. They are international in their outlook and are coordinated by individual boards and a designated staff director. Professional groups also provide technical advice across the RICS organization. They contribute to the RICS public policy agenda, and develop and maintain strategic alliances with other professional bodies and industry organizations/groupings. Most groups are also responsible for maintaining alternative designations (e.g. chartered quantity surveyor; chartered facilities management surveyor).

What’s consistent in the various professions is that our members should follow a strict code of ethics. What’s quite unique about RICS is that we have a standalone division called the Regulation Division whose sole responsibility is ensuring that each and every member is following the RICS ethical and technical codes. This gives full confidence to the employers and the clients who need the services of chartered surveyors. 

What about your commitment to sustainability?

Commitment to sustainability is incredibly high on our agenda. Nowadays, sustainability has become a very big word. When we talk about sustainability, we include company best practices comprising economic sustainability and environmental sustainability. Actually, we are working jointly with the United Nations. We have the UN Global Compact, a best practice tool kit that suggests businesses operating in the built environment to follow best sustainable practices. The Global Compact covers many pillars addressing issues about labor, welfare of the staff through to how to act with high integrity, how to follow ethics, in addition to embracing environmental sustainability.  

What can you say about RICS’ international presence?

We started as a UK organization 147 years ago, but during the last 20 years, as the real estate markets have become global, RICS has done the same. Now we have presence in all major real estate markets around the world.

Why did you decide to have a physical presence in Qatar?

We obviously had an interest in Qatar for several years. We set a presence in the GCC in Dubai in 2007. Since then, we’ve seen a growing number of members in Qatar. We had to be here to support these members. Moreover, we offer products and services including dispute resolution. We train professionals as mediators, arbitrators, judicators and expert witnesses. We also offer Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) through our appointments panels. Only those who are able to reflect the high standards of knowledge and experience expected by RICS are able to join a panel.

We deliver occupational training and advisory services and help developers and governments to implement the right standards and regulations. We will sit with the stakeholders to put the appropriate standards and regulations about land, property and construction, we will help drive transparency and create a more confident and robust real estate market in Qatar.

So, we needed presence on the ground in Qatar with an appropriate registration. Our decision is two-fold, first to support the industry and second because of the growing number of RICS members in Qatar now reaching almost 900.

 

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