Surveyors are extensively trained to provide distinct professional services and advice relating to property, land and building construction. A firm of Chartered Surveyors with a multi-disciplined skill set is a key contact for all property owners, landlords, tenants.
A good firm of surveyors will be able to ensure a professional resource is available to advise or provide surveying services for a wide variety of requirements and can meet the following five key criteria:
- Relevant experience that meets your requirements
- Regulated by the RICS
- Highly recommended with good references
- The right attitude
1. Relevant experience
Surveying is a very broad field with many specialist fields within it. Take any two surveyors and you will probably find that their experience and specialisms are poles apart. We recommend exploring whether the surveyor you want to work with has relevant experience with your type of property development, sector, or with providing the exact service you need.
Do they have direct experience of legislation that affects your development? Do they have a proven track record with similar developments?
One of the benefits of choosing a full service property consultancy with a number of chartered surveyors is that you may find the different specialisms you will need both in the short- and long-term within the same organisation.
This is particularly useful for when you have more than one property or you prefer consistency in service provider for your property requirements.
2. Qualifications and regulations
Most surveyors will have completed a relevant undergraduate degree in a topic such as Surveying, Construction or estate management, Property Development or similar, however there is an increasing number of flexible routes into surveying, including conversion courses and on-the-job training towards accreditation.
They are then required to gain two to three years’ work experience before taking the RICS professional assessment interview, known as the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
For someone to become a Chartered Surveyor, they must be accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which gives clients unparalleled confidence in the skills and quality of the individual or firm they’re hiring.
The RICS regulates the profession, is responsible for setting professional standards, protects clients and consumers and provides continuous training requirements required to deliver the highest standards of quality and service.
All RICS accredited Chartered Surveyors are required to have ‘adequate and appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance’ in place that complies with RICS rules and standards. Depending on the surveyor’s insurance, different services may be covered to varying degrees from one firm or individual to the next.
Although a reputable surveyor will be covered for the services they provide, it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask for details about a firm’s Professional Indemnity Insurance and what it covers.
As with most of the products and services we buy in life, there’s a lot to be said for word of mouth recommendations, referrals and references. Does the surveyor you want to hire come highly recommended through your business network? If not, do they have testimonials and recommendations from other firms? Are there case studies you can read about how they have supported similar projects to your own? Choosing to hire a surveyor with excellent references can simplify the process of deciding which firm to engage for your project.
5. The right attitude
It’s hard to quantify what makes the ‘right’ attitude. In part we’re talking about ‘chemistry’, that feeling in your gut that a particular surveyor or firm would be a good fit for your project. You may find two or more equally experienced and capable firms but the decision about who to hire could come down to which firm – or individual within that firm – complements your own values and ethos. It’s essential that you feel able to work with your surveyor and that you trust their objective standpoint, their advice and the information they provide.
The ‘right’ attitude might also be centred on specific issues that will affect your project. For example, if you’re passionate about minimising the carbon footprint of a property development or you want to reduce emissions or create a healthy building for residents, then you would be advised to hire a surveyor who understands and can support meeting these environmental concerns.
For these reasons we would always recommend using independent firms of surveyors, as you are much more likely to be able to talk to and meet directly with the qualified professional carrying out the work you are requesting. In larger firms or surveying departments within other organisations, you can often miss this personal contact and end up with a report and invoice in your inbox without an opportunity to talk things through with the surveyor carrying out the work.
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