The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently issued a Practice Alert to remind regulated members of their professional and regulatory obligations when undertaking home surveys for consumers. In this blog post, we'll explore three key reasons why the RICS Practice Alert matters and must be remembered.
1. Ensuring Consumer Confidence
The RICS Practice Alert is a reminder of the importance of maintaining consumer confidence in the quality and professionalism of RICS members. Home surveys are a crucial step for consumers in the process of buying property, and they must be able to rely on RICS firms and members to carry out this activity to the highest professional standards. By adhering to the RICS Rules of Conduct and the Home Survey Standard Professional Statement, RICS members can help ensure that consumers have confidence in the home survey and the advice they receive. The alert emphasises the importance of clear communication with clients, transparent contractual arrangements, and appropriate professional indemnity insurance. It also highlights the need for RICS members to be appropriately qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable about the location and property type they are surveying.
Ensuring that consumers have confidence in the home survey process and the Home Survey itself, is essential for maintaining trust in the industry and avoiding any potential legal disputes. It also ensures that we as residential surveyors remain needed.
2. Maintaining Professional Standards
The RICS Practice Alert is also a reminder of the professional and regulatory obligations RICS members have when undertaking home surveys for consumers. By maintaining the highest professional standards and ensuring that services are provided by competent individuals with the necessary expertise, RICS members can help maintain the reputation of the profession and uphold the public interest.
The alert outlines the importance of honesty, integrity, and diligence in delivering professional services, valued traits in any setting. It also emphasises the need for RICS members to maintain their professional competence (which of course would include carrying out relevant and appropriate CPD - see requirements here). By doing so, RICS members can ensure that they provide a 'good-quality and diligent service' to their clients.
Maintaining professional standards is crucial for upholding the profession's reputation and ensuring that RICS members continue to be trusted by clients and stakeholders. It also shows that we value ourselves, what we do and why we do it.
3. Promoting Sustainability
While it's not particularly explicit, the RICS Practice Alert is also a reminder of why it is so important to promote sustainability in Home Surveys. You can read more about what sustainability means here. By delivering appropriately on aspects such as, but not limited to, energy efficiency and resilience in Home Surveys, RICS members can help homeowners to better understand property risks and, for example, regulation in relation to their prospective purchase (or property already owned).
Sustainability and its very inclusion in Home Surveys, enable RICS members to deliver meaningful advice and recommendations (within the relevant scope). If we consider consumer confidence and the maintenance of professional standards as essential to the delivery of Home Surveys, then sustainability content must form part of a Home Survey. This is not merely about mentioning ‘climate change’ or commenting on an EPC, but bringing sustainability into the very heart of a Home Survey and ensuring that ‘members and firms [must] act in the public interest’ and provide a good-quality service.
With the increasing focus on sustainability and climate change, delivering sustainability in Home Surveys can help RICS members stay ahead of the curve and meet the growing demand for environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient homes.
In conclusion, the RICS Practice Alert matters and must be remembered because we cannot afford to deliver poor service to consumers. While the Practice Alert does not necessarily say anything that any professional and competent residential surveyor does not already know, it serves as a reminder that we don't just need to ensure consumer confidence, maintain professional standards or promote sustainability. We must also ensure that we belong to a profession that endures. With increased access to data and technology always knocking on the door, this Practice Alert reminds us of the importance of ‘service’ and knowing that we can deliver the expertise and advice that consumers want and importantly need, both now and into the future.
To find out how I can support your company in meeting standards and requirements for home surveys, book a call with me here.