What is a RICS surveyor and what do they do?
RICS stands for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a RICS surveyor is a person whose job it is to provide expert advice and guidance on all matters related to property, land and construction. RICS is the regulatory body for all RICS qualified surveyors in the UK and internationally which offers three levels of membership, to ensure its rigorous standards are met.
RICS Surveyors - what do they do?
There are many different types of surveyors. Their work involves planning and shaping our towns and cities, and helping to build safer, more sustainable buildings and public spaces. They might work on individual homes or huge stadiums. They may be required to help regenerate deprived areas and work in different types of landscapes. They can work to discover more efficient and greener ways to build.
Surveyors work closely with people across many professions, such as architects, ecologists, town planners, engineers, property developers and estate agents.
What does it mean to be a RICS member?
RICS regulates several professional disciplines, such as building, quantity, valuation, and land surveying.
The three levels of membership for surveyors include:
AssocRICS - an Associate member. This level of qualification is usually for working in a single specific discipline, for example the survey and valuation of residential property. Within their specific discipline, and AssocRICS member is qualified to undertake work independently.
MRICS - a Chartered Surveyor member. A chartered surveyor is qualified to carry out instructions on their own account, is usually more experienced than an associate member and crucially being a higher level of qualification, provides a chartered surveyor with the ability to work on a wider range of disciplines.
FRICS - a Fellow member and chartered surveyor. Typically, a very experienced surveyor; FRICS is awarded through dedication to the profession, helping others to become qualified and chartered, and managing/heading up successful organisations.
Types of RICS surveyors
There are many different kinds of roles within the surveying profession, which are very diverse professional disciplines and which all follow RICS standards.
RICS roles in land
Surveying roles in land include geomatics surveyors, mineral and waste surveyors, environmental surveyors, rural surveyors, and planning and development surveyors.
A geomatics surveyor will measure, map out, collect, analyse and interpret information about specific areas of land as well as areas of the sea.
Minerals and waste surveyors (also known as mining surveyors) make use of maps to discover potential mining sites. They also help to extract and manage natural resources as well as plan how to dispose of waste materials correctly and safely.
An environmental surveyor oversees the development and use of land to ensure that the environmental impact is as minimal as possible.
Rural surveyors value assets of farmland and buildings, provide advice on legal and tax issues, and develop the use of farmland and buildings in rural areas.
Planning and development surveyors advise on all aspects of planning and development concerning towns and cities, helping to create happier, healthier communities in the future.
RICS roles in construction and infrastructure
Surveying roles in construction and infrastructure include building surveyors, building control surveyors, project management surveyors, quantity surveyors, and infrastructure surveyors.
Building surveyors oversee the creation of any building project. This could be anything from a small home extension to a colossal stadium.
Building Control surveyors ensure that any construction work complies with building regulations and matters that are controlled by local and central governments.
Project management surveyors lead project management teams to ensure that their work is running on schedule and within budget, usually involving large building and commercial development projects.
Quantity surveyors work on the financial side of construction. They advise on financial matters, prepare bills, and quantify the viability and profitability of building projects.
Infrastructure surveyors are project managers who lead the cost management of any civil engineering projects. These projects could include road, rail construction, and utility investments.
RICS roles in property
Surveying roles in property include building surveyors, property surveyors, valuation surveyors, management surveyors, property agents, and facilities management surveyors.
Building surveyors such as RICS surveyors will also advise if any aspect of the construction does not meet building control standards and the required action to take to remedy this.
A RICS property surveyor will examine the condition of properties to determine their value, for a valuation report. They may also be involved in the sale or rental of all property types, including offices, schools, and housing.
Valuation surveyors can establish the value of buildings. Property valuation reports can be offered by RICS surveyors.
Management consultancy surveyors plan and implement strategies and structures to help improve efficiencies, streamline business operations and boost performance.
When instructing a surveyor for personal property, such as when you want to sell your home or buy a new one, this surveyor will typically be a residential surveyor and be able to advise you about any structural and condition issues as well as provide a valuation of the property.
Instructing a RICS surveyor
The most common type of RICS surveyor in the UK is the residential surveyor. There are different types of surveys that you can commission on residential property.
A RICS Building Survey (Level 3) is a detailed survey where the surveyor will assess the property's condition in great detail. The report will include an assessment of the structural integrity of the whole building. If you choose a RICS Homebuyers survey report (Level 2), this report will be less detailed but more concise although will cover all of the same basic elements that the Level 3 report covers.
To conduct either of these types of survey, a RICS surveyor will visit the property and visually inspect it before writing up the report. They may also advise on how to proceed with the purchase and costs associated with any necessary works - though whether this is included depends on the level of service chosen.
A RICS Building Survey (Level 3) or Homebuyers Report (Level 2) will involve the surveyor undertaking a visual assessment of external and internal features. This includes the roof and windows of the property as well as any brickwork and surrounding grounds and structures nearby that could pose risks to the future well-being of occupiers and the building itself. Inside, they will inspect the walls, ceilings, and any woodwork and will need access to the roof space if you have one. They will use this inspection to determine if any work is required to ensure the property is safe to live in.
What doesn’t a RICS surveyor do?
A RICS surveyor will not assess the safety of the electrics or gas pipes as they are not qualified to do so. It is also important to note that the RICS survey is a visual inspection, and if a surveyor cannot access parts of the property, this will not be included in the report. In instances where access is restricted, the surveyor will typically advise the client about which parts were concealed and how to proceed.
If you are looking for a property valuation, a homebuyer survey, or building survey, contact Houzecheck today. We are ready to give you advice on which survey service is best for you so that you can make an informed judgement and agree the fixed amount you will pay. Our experienced efficient RICS surveyors are waiting to hear from you.
Author: Richard Ballam, Regional Director