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News & opinion

20 APR 2020

RICS shares impact of COVID-19 across the region in quarterly update

We recently held a quarterly update in the Americas hosted by Neil Shah and Peter M. Smith. Participating as special guests, Governing Council members from the region gave updates on the impact of COVID-19 on their regions: Canada, the US, the Caribbean and Brazil.

We discussed the resources RICS is making available to qualified professionals and candidates during the pandemic. LionHeart’s Davina Goodchild joined us to explain how qualified professionals can reach LionHeart for support and the various kinds of support available now and always from LionHeart.

Becky Amos provided a look into the qualifications activities this quarter and Amie Silverwood provided an update on the webinars planned in the short-term. If you missed this webinar, watch the recorded version here.

During the quarterly update, we had an interactive question and answer session. We tried to answer all the questions that came to us on the line but we ran out of time. Find below a recap of the questions asked during the webinar and the answers to your questions.

Regarding the free CPD courses, I attempted to access them a few days ago, and a payment was required.  Have the free offered courses been identified?

As an RICS professional or candidate, from 1 April until the end of July, a selection of online CPD will be free for you to use, giving you access to a vast range of content and resources online to support your professional development. This new online CPD offering complements our existing provision of insight and free materials, such as our library, which provides an online service, with a comprehensive range of e-books and e-journals. Find out which courses and other digital resources are available here.

Can I have the contact information for counsellor training?

Please contact the qualifications team at AEMEA@rics.org for more information on Counsellor Training.

Yesterday during the COVID-19 Global BV Townhall session, all panellists had their webcam on. This takes extra bandwidth, and in some countries the ISP servers have a problem handling the increase in internet usage. Getting a steady internet connection is a challenge during the webinars, so it might be a good idea not to have webcams on during webinars.

We would agree and generally would ask for that to be the case.  However, this particular webinar was done in collaboration with other professional organizations and the preference of the majority was to have web cameras on.  We recognize that bandwidth is a challenge when so many people are on line, and will continue to go with slides and audio on RICS webinars.

It is interesting that both Sao Paulo and NYC have death rates as a % of total of over 40%. Does the panel think fear of intense urban living will take hold or is it too early?

Claudio Bernardes: I think that more dense cities could suffer more from the epidemic. This leads us to reflect on more suitable urban planning models for large cities taking epidemics into consideration.

More and more urban life in compact cities has become necessary. I don't think people will be afraid of this more intense life, but as I said, new models of urban development must be adapted to this new reality.

Firstly, thank you for all your efforts toward the candidates. I know an APC candidate who has a wealth of experience in the Middle East and has moved to North America. Her preliminary assessment report said that her submission is generally to the required standard, however she cannot proceed to sit because she needs to have local experience first. While she has received an offer from an international QS firm, she could not go back to work due to her personal circumstance surrounding pregnancy and child care. Can she still sit for her APC without getting local experience, as she is concerned with the validity of her case study?

Becky Amos and her team will reach out to you to answer your question. For any questions about qualifications, reach out to AEMEA@rics.org.

Can you advise of the reach of RICS and the respective pathways in Canada outside of Toronto? Is the MRICS designation sufficiently recognized in areas outside of Toronto/Vancouver?

We have qualified professionals in all the major Canadian cities and in smaller cities in-between. RICS is currently undergoing a digital transformation that will allow us to provide digital support for qualified professionals in any region through a global online community that will connect professionals from any pathway to others of similar professional interests.

Do you think this pandemic will be one of the factors affecting the absorption rate of new developments?

Yes, the pandemic will undoubtedly influence the absorption rate of new developments. Not only that; it will also be responsible for changes in urban planning to cope with different social behaviours, and also the design of new real estate products.

What other roles can I get involved with RICS other than as an Assessor or brand ambassador?

We have many opportunities to get involved at RICS on a local, regional and global level. Reach out to us at AEMEA@rics.org to have a conversation about the opportunities that are the best fit for you.

What is the LionHeart twitter handle?

You can find LionHeart on Twitter here: @LionHeartRICS

Regarding Caribbean tourism, would you have any recommendations for hospitality professionals, or any reason that allow them to see some light at the end of the tunnel?

Uche Obi: I am optimistic that Caribbean tourism will rebound.

The Caribbean still remains an attractive destination; it is close the United States, has great weather, is relatively cheap and I suspect that the hotels and tour operators will offer incentives to attract visitors when things improve.

However, I suspect the 'tunnel' will be long, and last at least till the end of the year. Furthermore, a recession will certainly have an adverse impact on demand. Finally, I listened to an STR webinar on the Caribbean and the speaker suggested that the recovery is likely to be strong. (Link to webinar here)