As a globally recognised professional body, everything we do is designed to effect positive change in the built and natural environments.
Through our respected global standards, leading professional progression and our trusted data and insight, we promote and enforce the highest professional standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our work with others provides a foundation for confident markets, pioneers better places to live and work and is a force for positive social impact.
With over 134,000 highly qualified trainees and professionals, and offices in every significant financial market, we are ideally placed to influence policy and embed our standards within local marketplaces in order to protect consumers and businesses. In doing so, we can innovate and progress the development of spaces and places so they are fit for future generations, in addition to the challenges faced in the present.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. The work of RICS professionals is hugely varied – watch our video to see how their work shapes our world.
The Surveyors Club was formed as far back as 1792. However, the foundations of the current organisation started to properly take shape when 20 surveyors met at the Westminster Palace Hotel.
Under the chairmanship of John Clutton, they appointed a sub-committee to draw up resolutions, bye-laws and regulations. This was done in order to establish a professional association to represent surveyors and the growing property profession.
This group, which had expanded to 49 members by 1868, met again at the Westminster Palace Hotel on 15 June 1868 to approve the resolutions and elect the first Council. John Clutton was elected the first president of the Institution of Surveyors. Offices were then leased at 12 Great George Street , which we still use as our headquarters today.
The requirement for such an organisation was driven by the rapid development and expansion of the industrialised world; as infrastructure, housing and transport links grew, so did the need for more stringent checks and balances.
For more than 140 years, our professionals have worked to ensure that, while unlocking the inherent value held within the world's physical assets and developing its potential, we don't spoil the planet for future generations.
Even in parts of the world where the term 'chartered surveyor' means very little, the high standards of our professionals speak volumes. They are viewed by major financial institutions and world governments as the 'gold standard' when it comes to professional regulation in the property sector.
Our Royal Charter requires us to promote the usefulness of the profession for the advantage of the UK public and in other parts of the world. In practice, the charter means that important changes to our constitution – its bye-laws – have to be ratified by the UK Government, through the Privy Council, even after they’ve been approved by a majority of our members voting at a general meeting.
The continued demand for royal charters, which may seem an antiquated concept, shows that they retain their cachet in the modern professional world as a “gold standard” of excellence and integrity.
We are one of a number of professions operating under a self-regulation model, which means our members aren't regulated by government, but are internally monitored and inspected. Our self-established standards of regulation meet, and in some cases surpass, the Government's own principles on better regulation.
Consumer protection and the development of the profession for public advantage are very much at our core. These are the reasons we have retained our Royal Charter status for well over a century. We are very proud of this position and recognise the responsibility placed upon us. This is why we are consistently working to ensure we set the standards for professional regulation, not just in the UK but around the world.
Introducing legislation to regulate a sector of industry which is already applying modern practices, regulating at arms length and operating in a business-like manner, would be costly, time-consuming and unnecessary.
Legislation should only be applied if a self-regulation system is not working – if it is not transparent, proportional, accountable, consistent and targeted. These are the five principles of better regulation determined by the Better Regulation Commission, a division of the UK Cabinet Office, on which we base our own regulatory model.
Effective and efficient regulation of the sector is vital to the profession's success. While the government regularly reviews the approval it bestows on professional self-regulators, we aim to continuously demonstrate that we maintain a regulatory regime that is leading at the front and is fit for purpose.