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Case Study 3

ROC Case Study - 03

These case studies are examples to help you to apply the Rules of Conduct in situations that may arise in your professional practice.

When making ethical professional decisions, you need to:

  • consider the facts
  • identify the relevant RICS standards in the Rules of Conduct and other guidance
  • use your professional judgement, which may require you to balance different interests and principles.

What matters is that you can show that you have done your best to follow the professional standards set by RICS.

Read the case study below

Scenario 3

My client is renovating their properties but they are on a tight budget. Do I have to refuse to work for them if they won’t take the most energy efficient approach to the renovations?

Summary

  • Members and firms should help clients achieve their aims within their budget.
  • Providing advice and options that consider a range of benefits, and thinking about long-term costs and effects is good for clients.
  • The Rules expect you to offer advice, not to force the client to act in a way they do not want.

Rules and behaviours

Rule 3 and behaviours 3.1, 3.5 and 3.10 are relevant here.

Rule 3 requires that you provide a good-quality, diligent service to clients. That means understanding their objectives and their budget, and giving them the best advice you can to help them achieve what they want for the money they have.

Part of providing a good-quality service to your clients includes appreciating their objectives from a long-term perspective and considering all the potential benefits for them of a project. These could include social, environmental and economic benefits, and you should provide advice about options that balance these. This is the expectation set out in behaviour 3.10.

Commentary

In many circumstances, the cheapest financial option may not be the best option for the client. It may lead to higher costs in the long-term or reduce the quality of the asset or those clients willing to rent a property, ultimately reducing the return on the client’s investment. Some approaches or ways of working may damage the client’s reputation or relationship with neighbours, which may lead to inconvenience or additional costs. Part of the role of a competent, ethical professional is to balance these factors and provide advice on the best, balanced option for the client’s budget.

However, RICS members and firms are often acting in an advisory capacity and the final decision will be made by the client. If you give advice and the client instructs you to take an alternative approach, you do not have to stop acting just because the approach chosen by the client is not the most sustainable option.