The surveying scene

1st June 2020

When buying a property, it is generally best to have a survey carried out, even if your mortgage lender is also conducting a valuation that involves an inspection. A thorough survey conducted on your behalf may reveal defects or possible costly problems you need to be aware of.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the professional body that sets standards across the profession. The qualifications it awards confirm that the surveyor concerned has passed their exams following rigorous study and training.

Qualification matters

Surveyors can gain various levels of RICS qualification: Associate Member (AssocRICS), Chartered Member (MRICS) and Fellow (FRICS). They can offer a range of survey types, including HomeBuyer Reports and Building Surveys, which are governed by laws and rules that may vary in different parts of the UK.

Other qualifications exist, including the Diploma in Residential Surveying (DipRSurv). This is a route some surveyors take to their AssocRICS. Surveyors may also belong to the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association (ISVA).

Georgian origins

It was back in 1792, during the architectural heyday of the Georgian era, that a group of leading surveyors set up The Surveyors’ Club. This was relatively informal, but in the ensuing decades, membership increased and plans were made for a more structured professional association.

The 19th century saw rapid urban, industrial and transport development, and reliable standards were badly needed. In 1868, about 50 participants gathered at a Westminster hotel and resolved to form the Institution of Surveyors under the presidency of eminent railway surveyor John Clutton.

Victorian charter

Premises near the Houses of Parliament were leased by the institution (still RICS HQ today). Its work was quickly recognised as beneficial to the many ambitious projects of the day and, in 1881, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors was incorporated by Royal Charter granted by Queen Victoria.

Much has changed since RICS became Chartered; its standards and qualifications have been updated over the decades to ensure they meet current needs. Always be certain about the credentials of anyone conducting a survey on your behalf. It is unwise to take any chances when buying a property.

As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.