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News & opinion

24 JUL 2019

Demonstrate your knowledge by sharing it, recommends RICS Assessor

According to Brian Gay, volunteering with RICS in the Americas offers a chance to give back to a profession that has supported him and his family over the years.

"I've been lucky to have had good mentors over my career, and feel that as I get, I should give. I'm living my legacy," says Brian. A mid-career professional in Victoria, British Columbia, Brian assesses new candidates on the Valuation Pathway. He tells professionals who are thinking about volunteering as an assessor: "Do it. There's no better way to demonstrate your knowledge than to share it." According to Brian, being an assessor is great for anyone in the profession who wants to ensure they don't stay stagnant. "How we do our work is changing. As an assessor, you'll be able to contribute to the direction of that change."

Another of Brian's volunteer responsibilities is being a counsellor for APC candidates – supporting and guiding candidates through the APC process. This includes examining the candidate's work sample, providing feedback for changes or encouraging the candidate to advance.

Brian also has an AACI P.App designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada, which has a reciprocal agreement with RICS. As an RICS ambassador in the province of British Columbia, he tries to promote what RICS can do, while building alliances with organizations that offer complementary competence matrixes for professionals: "The built environment is increasingly complex. There can be useful skills gained from other organizations, and widening your knowledge set within the built environment can be a way to help your clients."

Brian is currently a senior internal auditor with BC Assessment, the public body responsible for assessing the value of all properties within British Columbia, which provides the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to calculate property tax revenue each year that fund the many important community services provided by local governments around British Columbia.

Brain Gay
Brian Gay

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The built environment is increasingly complex. There can be useful skills gained from other organizations, and widening your knowledge set within the built environment can be a way to help your clients.

"I enjoy being able to deal with all different property types, from linear property like pipelines to unique properties like air traffic control towers," says Brian. "And I love the people I work with, who want to learn, grow and contribute to the province's prosperity." His career plan is to continue to grow within the organization, with an eye to assuming progressively more senior responsibilities: "Being an RICS professional allows me to work in different areas of my organization. I can take on an operations role as well as strategic planning. The competencies that you demonstrate as an RICS professional strengthen your abilities to move into multiple roles in the built environment."

His career includes a stint in the British Army, which he describes as a terrific opportunity to gain practical experience as a leader and instructor. "I never really took a linear career path - I always think of myself as a rock climber," says Brian. Among his ongoing educational qualifications, Brian has an undergraduate degree in estate management - he notes it was an RICS-accredited program -which he describes as his first introduction to surveying, project management, architecture and design. He also volunteered with an RICS Latin America Working Group while working in Puebla, Mexico.

Now, after working in four countries, including Scotland, and Trinidad and Tobago, Brian advises anyone considering an international move as part of their career to set realistic, achievable goals - one of his goals in Mexico was to work professionally in a second language. Brian also recommends using networking tools, including LinkedIn and the "find a surveyor" tool from RICS, or even emailing a surveyor who works in the region, to start building a network in the area even before you make the move.

"Manage your expectations," says Brian. "Every time you start in a new country, you have to start from an attitude that I'm here to learn. Take the time to learn the culture and practices while knowing that you have the foundation of being an international professional."

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