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For many years now, I have been approached by people in the property industry interested in becoming chartered surveyors and this has accelerated with the increased presence of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) in the Middle East. Generally, when I explain the process in detail, the majority of those interested are surprised, since dedication and effort are required to qualify. A significant number of enquiries have come from agents in the UAE who wish to enhance their career opportunities.
The Rics qualification remains one of the most highly respected achievements of any profession and being internationally recognised, it is of particular benefit to expatriates who wish to have a qualification with a global reach. For this article I shall specifically discuss the requirements to become a residential valuation surveyor. However, the same principles shall apply to many other disciplines such as quantity surveyors, building surveyors, property/facilities managers as well as construction professionals.
To become a fully fledged Chartered Residential Surveyor and to be permitted to use the post-nominal title MRICS (Member of the Rics) after your name, you must first obtain a Rics-accredited bachelor's or master's degree - the main route to qualification. Once you have the relevant qualification, the next step is to get a position in a Rics-registered firm or a company where there are Rics-qualified surveyors. The firm or qualified individuals should then be able to assist in the training for the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
The APC ensures that potential members are competent to practise and meet the high standards of professionalism required by the Rics to become a chartered surveyor. It is based on candidates achieving a set of requirements or competencies, including technical and professional practice components and interpersonal, business and management skills.
When graduates start the APC process, they need to decide on the pathway they wish to pursue. This will ultimately determine the career they will take. Those interested in residential property will take the Residential APC pathway, which covers residential property, housing management and development. Others may prefer the Valuation APC pathway, which covers property valuation, residential survey and valuation and machinery and business assets.
A pathway outlines the skills and their level you will have to achieve to be signed off as competent by your elected supervisor and counsellor. The supervisor must ensure the candidate gains the required range and depth of experience and training. Both the supervisor and counsellor should liaise regularly to discuss the candidate's progress. A counselor is commonly an individual within a company who is at the management level or above and has many years of experience in the industry. A supervisor oversees the graduate on a daily basis.
The APC takes approximately two years to complete. It should also be noted that while I am discussing the most common entry point to the Rics, there are other ways to becoming chartered depending on your qualifications and length of experience in the industry (Visit Rics.org/ae/join).
An APC candidate is expected to be skilled in various disciplines. In the case of a residential surveyor, these include inspection, measurement, valuation and building pathology. They must also abide by ethical and Rics regulations. In the second year of the APC, the candidate applies for the final assessment. The submissions include the candidate's details, summary of experience. a case study carried out by him or her, a record of continuous professional development (CPD), an online ethics test and any training certificates.
The final assessment submissions demonstrate to the assessment panel the knowledge and understanding the candidate has gained and the competencies achieved through experience and/or structured training. These submissions must be signed off by your supervisor and/ or counsellor.
The APC's final assessment requires the candidate to sit for an interview by three chartered surveyors who have been trained for the assessment role. The candidate will present a case study and then answer questions on this and all the competencies elected in the chosen pathway. The interview lasts for one hour.
After the assessment, the assessors deliberate whether the candidate is suitable to become a member of the Rics and a chartered surveyor. Once all decisions have been confirmed, after a certain period, the candidate will be informed of the result of the application.
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Source: Catherine Clarice, Special to Property Weekly
The writer has been practising in the UAE for six years and is currently overseeing the Residential Valuation division at Colliers International. She is responsible for the implementation and development of Colliers' House Price Index