Why Regulation Matters in your Surveying Business
As surveyors, we aim to provide our clients with accurate, reliable, and professional services. Meeting the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regulation requirements is essential to achieving this goal.
Unfortunately, it’s often considered the boring part of running a business and can be overlooked as we get busy with our work, businesses and generating income in uncertain times. As a chartered surveyor with a background in defect and valuation claims, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of adhering to these standards and the personal consequences for surveyors when they don’t.
Why RICS Regulations Matter
RICS is an internationally recognised professional body that promotes and enforces the highest land, property, and construction standards. The institution's regulations are designed to protect consumers and maintain the integrity of the surveying profession - our royal charter exists for the public advantage.
At its best, regulation in all sectors is there to support, so it doesn’t help for any regulator to call themselves ‘the police’. In whichever industry you work, regulation starts with working out how you want to do business and the standards you want to meet, achieve and exceed. And it’s very often motivated by our own experiences - of poor and stressful past work environments, for example. It can drive our businesses in the right direction when we start to work for ourselves.
The problem is keeping up with it. Creating and shaping a business based on a fear of getting it wrong means we are more likely to make harsher short-term decisions we can’t stick to. It’s like yo-yo dieting; we all know a healthy eating plan is much more likely to be enjoyed and get results; it just feels a bit longer to get the results we want.
We must also remember that regulations, standards, and guidance can be best practices or, in the case of the RICS Home Survey Standards - a minimum standard.
Well-run businesses are less likely to get claims, and if they do, they are less likely to be complex, so paying attention to your business makes sense. The problem is, if we don’t make the time to work on our businesses, things slip, and we trip up.
Tips for Ensuring Compliance with RICS Regulations
There are some practical steps surveyors can take to ensure their business is ready to meet RICS regulations:
- Despite surveyor grumbles about RICS, they do hold some good quality free CPD Red Book Compliance Workshops. Register for them whenever offered and set yourself an annual reminder to review your processes.
- Where you have the most support in your business, you have the most success, so ensure all your staff - employees or contractors understand the importance of the RICS regulations and how to comply with them in their daily tasks. If you ask them, they also have some great ideas to implement.
- Set up an online library, a black box if you like, that anyone in your business can access at any time. We often have a technical library to get to the juicy defect stuff, but only sometimes for the regulation. Remember to keep it up to date or delegate responsibility to someone.
- Plan your CPD with intention. We shouldn’t just meet the hours required of us. Include learning how to run and improve your business; it can count as formal CPD, too.
- Listen to one of my favourite Surveyor Hub Podcasts with Larry Russen, where we talk about Larry’s career and what it means to self-regulate. Give it a listen, and I hope you find it insightful.
Pride in your profession also means pride in your business, which clients value. Being clear on your business's standards can enhance your credibility for future employees, stay current with industry trends, and provide clients with the highest level of service.
A career in residential surveying is not for the faint-hearted; we need to be in it for the long term. Ensuring your business remains compliant with relevant regulations and thrives in a competitive market takes a healthy eating plan, not a yo-yo diet.
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