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Everything you need to know about
RICS chartered surveyors

At GB Home Surveys, we’re a rapidly expanding team of RICS registered chartered surveyors. Our specific jobs are to carry out home surveys, usually on behalf of a prospective buyer.

If you’re new to the property market, you might have never even heard of chartered surveyors – never mind RICS – which stands for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – or what it is we actually do.

To help you out, we’ve put together this comprehensive article detailing everything we think you’ll ever need to know about RICS registered chartered surveyors.

What is a surveyor?

A surveyor is a professional who inspects (surveys) infrastructure. In our case, we look around residential properties, taking notes on past, present, and future issues.

A surveyor is instructed by a client. Usually, this person wants to buy the house in question but needs an experienced professional to check it for any problems first. The surveyor gathers information which is then compiled into a report and handed back over to the individual. They can use this report and the surveyor’s advice to make an informed decision about how to proceed with the purchase.

Anyone in the UK can call themselves a surveyor, whether they have 50 years’ experience, or none whatsoever. It goes without saying that some are better qualified than others.

What is a chartered surveyor?

A chartered surveyor is a qualified, experienced member of RICS. They are still surveyors but have been through specialist approved courses, completed a set length of work experience, and are held to strict standards of ethics, conduct and professionalism.

The term ‘chartered surveyor’ is protected. Only RICS members may call themselves by this particular profession. Whereas anyone can call themselves a surveyor, a chartered surveyor must have gone through many years of preparation before conducting home surveys. It’s a form of reassurance to the client that they’re paying for a vetted, reliable and trustworthy inspection.

Basically, all chartered surveyors are all surveyors, but not all surveyors are chartered.

What is RICS?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is a professional body promoting “…the highest professional standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure”.

It was predominantly developed to influence the construction and ongoing management of infrastructure in the UK during and after the Industrial Revolution. In June 1868, 49 surveyors met at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London and officially formed RICS.

They had noticed a massive lack of building standards as the fast-growing economy struggled to keep up with its own advances. Regulating these would be highly beneficial in terms of safety (for both builders and residents) and long-term sustainability and cost reduction (for both the homeowner and the government).

Although it’s been through a few slight name variations, RICS is now the leading body of chartered surveyors in the UK with influence around the world. There are more than 134,000 members globally.

RICS’ mission has remained essentially the same for its 150+ years of existence.

How does someone become a RICS chartered surveyor?

There are a few routes you could take to become a RICS chartered surveyor:

  • University – this approach is generally favoured by younger people who aim to get into the profession of surveying. It’s crucial to ensure you enrol on a course that’s RICS approved. Completing a similar degree that isn’t approved won’t be the end of the world, though – you’ll just need to do a post-graduate RICS course. After graduating, you apply for jobs or graduate schemes and take the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This is a work-based qualification and takes two years. On successful completion, you apply for RICS membership and call yourself a chartered surveyor.
  • Transitioning from another role in property – if you’re a qualified, experienced property professional, you might have another route available. If you have a relevant degree and have spent at least five years working in your field, you can jump straight into a condensed version of the APC. It only lasts around 12 months and will allow you to become a RICS member once you’ve completed it.
  • Sava – the Sava School of Surveying is a great way to transition into surveying from a completely different sector. Anyone can apply, from nurses to mechanics, accountants to shop attendants. It offers a Level 6 qualification, the Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation. With the Awarding Body for the Built Environment overseeing it, it allows you to study while you’re working – perfect for adults with pre-existing commitments.
  • Apprenticeships – with the ever-increasing costs associated with heading off to university, many young people turn to apprenticeships. These are generally organised by RICS members themselves. They might put out an advertisement, or school leavers might write directly to them. The candidate would work alongside their studies, gaining experience and, of course, a wage. After completing their degree qualification (usually taking 4-6 years), they can take their APC.

For more information about becoming a RICS chartered surveyor, check out our articles as listed below.

Does my surveyor have to be certified by RICS?

Technically, they don’t – RICS doesn’t own the surveying sector, and anyone can conduct a survey for you.

However, the advantage to hiring a RICS chartered surveyor is the reassurance that comes with it. Here are a few examples of what we mean: 

  • RICS members must have completed many years of studies and work experience. Anyone can call themselves a surveyor, whether they’re experienced or not.
  • RICS holds its members to very high standards of behaviour and ethics. While this should guarantee you a reliable, trustworthy service, it also gives you a governing body to which you can complain if something goes wrong. Standard surveyors are often unregulated: there would be nobody to report your frustration to.
  • Every member of the RICS professional body must complete regular refresher courses, so they’re always at the top of their game. Instructing a RICS chartered surveyor, you can be sure that you’re trusting an up-to-date, confident professional. A standard surveyor doesn’t come with that same guarantee.
  • As a last resort, RICS membership comes with insurance. That means that if a chartered surveyor causes damage or misses something obvious, the fault is covered. This protects both you as a client and the chartered surveyor.

Of course, we would also like to point out that many surveyors do a great job and regularly help clients find faults in properties. We aren’t intending to throw dirt on someone’s good work.

However, as we said above, the advantage of working with a RICS chartered surveyor is the guarantee that comes with it.

What RICS home surveys are available?

RICS chartered surveyors carry out one of three home surveys when instructed by a client.

RICS currently offers three different home surveys, occasionally intermixing them. The names were recently revised to give clients a clearer understanding of what is precisely involved in each.

  1. Valuation (Level 1) – technically not a survey, a valuation gives a potential buyer or seller a reasonable estimate of a property’s value. The figure is based on a few things: the house’s age, condition, appearance, maintenance, local area, building materials and methods, and more. It’s the simplest report available.
  2. Home Survey Level 2 – a Home Survey Level 2 is more in-depth. To conduct the inspection, a chartered surveyor will head out to the appointed building and thoroughly check it for common defects. They will then write up a report presenting their findings and recommendations to the client. In general, a Home Survey Level 2 is appropriate for standard houses built relatively recently using conventional building methods.
  3. Home Survey Level 3 – as the most detailed RICS home survey on offer, a Home Survey Level 3 is another step up. As well as a focus on common defects, the Level 3 involves a much more detailed look at a property’s structural integrity. As you might imagine, these take a little longer to complete and result in a more detailed write-up. This survey level is for old, damaged or modified buildings, such as renovations, barn conversions, historic properties or fire-damaged homes.

How much does a RICS Home Survey cost?

The cost of a RICS home survey is set by the individual, business or company carrying it out. As such, it can vary a little depending on a few factors:

  • Which home survey level was requested
  • The size of the house
  • The condition of the property
  • The local area
  • Any extra services (for example, repair cost estimates)

On average, a home survey can save buyers more than £5,000 in repair costs.

Overall, it’s difficult to pin an exact number on the cost of a home survey because they can vary quite a lot. However, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than a few hundred pounds. Compared to the potential savings, they’re more than worth it.

Can GB Home Surveys help you?

Here at GB Home Surveys, our team of professional RICS chartered surveyors might be able to help you out.

If you’re interested in buying a particular home but aren’t too sure what to look out for, feel free to get in touch with us. We’ll be delighted to informally answer any questions you might have about RICS, home surveys and common housing problems.

You could also take a quick look at some of our other blogs under the ‘Useful Info’ tab above – one of these might help you with your query.

We hope this article has given you all the information you wanted about RICS chartered surveyors. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to email us at contact@gbhomesurveys.co.uk, and we’ll get straight back to you. If you’d prefer, you could give us a ring on 03333 600 685.

Looking for a quote, or maybe you have a question? Get in touch today.

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