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News & opinion

7 AUG 2018

Trends weighing ever heavier on our environment

Significant trends – rapid urbanisation, climate change, resource scarcity – weigh ever heavier on our built and natural environments.

The global balance of trade and the geo-political situation is shifting on a constant basis, and technological innovations are displacing and disrupting industries. These developments are leading to the evolution of new tools, techniques and business models, all of which are likely to have a significant impact upon the surveying profession.

We asked incoming RICS President Chris Brooke about the Future of the Profession following the recent launch of our consultation.

Increased challenges

Professionals operating in the built and natural environments should be constantly reviewing the value proposition which we offer to those who require our services. There will be the need for increasingly rapid adaptation by built environment professionals to new trends, business models and customer requirements than has been necessary in the past. Without this adaptation, I can foresee increased challenges to the need for, and the relevance of, the surveying profession.

At the annual Summit of the World Built Environment Forum held in London earlier this year, we discussed many of the risks and opportunities currently facing the built and natural environments, as well as those forecast to emerge in the future. In response, the RICS Governing Council has launched a consultation to secure views from the wider profession regarding how best surveying professionals can prepare and equip themselves for the future.

Active participants within the built and natural environments – both public and private – are already adapting physical buildings, business models, work practices and the use of property to reflect shifting consumer demand, as well as the new technologies which are entering our cities, commercial buildings and homes. As a result, I believe that built and natural environment professionals must understand which technologies, professional services and standards will help meet these demands. This will help ensure the creation of both sustainable and attractive working and living communities.


In order for this to be achieved, I also see the need for the many different parties operating in the built and natural environments to collaborate more effectively and to share examples of best practice. This allows us to learn from each other and continue demonstrating excellence in the areas of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

It is clearly impossible to identify precisely what the future holds, and questions relating to change and disruption are always difficult to answer. However, the more we ask them the more we learn, and the clearer the answers become. We also need as many perspectives as possible. There are no wrong answers when considering how the future may evolve.

Over the next few months, during my presidential year, and well into the future, RICS will be exploring the trends impacting upon the many sectors of the built and natural environment within which our professionals operate. Please join me in considering the future of our profession in the context of the role we currently play across all of our disciplines, and the areas which may present opportunities for RICS qualified professionals going forward.