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What’s next for surveying?

RICS Future Of The Profession Report CoverFor eight out of ten surveyors, technology is already having at least a moderate effect on their day-to-day work, according to recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ research.

And that’s despite just over half (51%) saying their organisations still aren’t making the most of what technology’s out there.

Looking at what the future holds in terms of how the industry operates, how it responds to tech, and how it attracts and trains its people, is the subject of the recently published Future of the Profession consultation response report.

Driving change

New ways of working — including workspaces designed specifically to drive culture and performance — increased connectivity, and the growth of technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things are amongst the many drivers for change.

However, RICS adds that while technology offers greater efficiencies, it has its limits. Human characteristics of creativity, problem solving and emotional intelligence are set to continue to be important when it comes to providing a valuable service for clients.

One respondent says: “[There have been some] wonderful changes in technology: 3D surveying and recording, drones and inspections; real time management and reporting… but you still need to know the fundamentals of how buildings are built, occupied and how they decay and should be maintained.”

A number of respondents also spoke about the growing importance of valuing the digital assets of a building, as well as the physical.

Remarks included: “In the property industry, we understand better than anyone the importance of laying down strong foundations to guarantee the longevity of our assets. We cannot limit that to steel and concrete, but must understand how the digital foundations that we lay will be paramount to the future success of our properties.”

Inspiring the next generation

78% of those involved said the sector would be able to attract the right talent in the future. However, when it comes to training, three-quarters said change is needed, with technology set to be integral to the way people are trained, and lifelong learning likely to be increasingly important.

RICS adds: “We need to tackle barriers to entry and encourage a more diverse profession. The way we accredit, train and develop needs to keep pace with technology.”

Mirroring this, feedback urged RICS to work with employers and stakeholders to define the competencies of surveyors and set relevant professional standards, while also collaborating with universities on training programmes.

The report says these drivers of change need to be better understood and addressed, but adds progress has been made in some areas, highlighting work around setting standards around data consistency, as well as efforts through its World Built Environment Forum on sustainable solutions for urbanisation.

The report collated feedback from professionals gathered over the last 12 months and from more than a thousand conversations. This paper, and subsequent feedback, will form part of the organisation’s second major Futures Report, due for publication next year.

In May, the RICS Governing Council kicks off its 12-month strategic futures review.

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