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Building for the future

Building for the future

RICS is committed to collaborating with others and remaining future-focussed. This ensures that the profession evolves and adapts to the industry’s biggest challenges. We are working to ensure that we build for the future both as an organisation and as a profession.

Futures 2020 builds on the work that was done in 2015 through ‘RICS Futures: our changing world’. This was intended to act as a call to action for the next three to five-year period, explore the implications for professionals within our industry, to create debate and to help strategic planning in organisations and firms. Since then, we’ve consulted with our members and stakeholders to gather and share further insight, resulting in the publication of the latest iteration.

Although published prior to the COVID-19 outbreak the three focus areas in the report still remain salient: sustainability; data & technology; and talent and skills. 

Download the RICS Futures report 2020


RICS is focussing on developing practical solutions that enable the profession to help drive positive change where they are. Collaborating with others is a major part of this process. 

Building passport

RICS is leading a work group of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction in a project to develop a “building passport”, a data platform that can host all building-related data through the entire life-cycle of a building – from design to demolition. Introduction of the passport would mean significant cost savings, increased efficiency and risk mitigation for stakeholders. It will also enable them to assess the many factors affecting the overall quality and performance of buildings. RICS initiatives on data standards can clearly help to address many of the current issues relating to data validation. 

Sustainable finance: Creating a common language for green investment 

Building construction and operations account for 36% of global final energy use and nearly 40% of energy‐related carbon dioxide emissions. Our professionals are therefore uniquely placed to have global impact by helping clients deploy capital in projects that have more sustainable outcomes. 

For this reason RICS has been collaborating with international policy makers and institutions over the last 18 months to ensure we are at the heart of a drive towards a more sustainable economy. As part of a Technical Expert Group convened by the European Commission, RICS has played a role in helping to define what is “green” for the building sector. 

The creation of a common language for green investment is a major achievement – it means we can say with confidence that we are delivering sustainable places to live and work.

Tim Neal
RICS President

The result is a taxonomy, or classification system, that provides a common language between companies and investors to encourage capital flows into projects that have a positive environmental impact. This includes energy-efficiency in both new build and retrofits. 

Once the taxonomy becomes part of EU regulation, it will directly affect companies and institutions offering financial products in the EU, companies who must already provide non-financial statements, and EU member states certifying sustainable financial products (such as “green bonds”).   In time and with some regional adaptation, there is potential for this to be applied globally. 

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RICS is future ready

The core aim of our Future of the Profession initiative is to ensure our profession continues to possess the required knowledge and skills to play a leading role in meeting the needs of an urbanising world which is increasingly enabled by technology and data. Increased emphasis on ensuring the profession has access to knowledge development and competence growth through a global digital platform has become a greater priority.

Online assessments

Accelerated digital transformation and maintaining sustainable growth in the profession through the demand for qualifications helps to secure the profession’s future talent pipeline.

Professional assessments 

The number of candidates reaching the assessment stage on their journey to achieve an RICS professional qualification remains high, with over 7,100 assessments delivered across our Associate and Chartered routes during the year. Chartered assessments are traditionally delivered face-to-face,  but by the end of March the growing scale of the pandemic meant that we needed to address the inevitable impact on our assessments. We needed to maintain their integrity and ensure all our assessment stakeholders felt informed and supported. 

We announced that all face-to-face assessment interviews would be delivered online until 31 July. The challenge was delivering the assessment interviews at such a large scale with over 2000 due to be scheduled. We created a suite of support materials for candidates and assessors, including  

  • instructions on using the video calling software
  • guidance on preparing for a video interview  
  • video tutorial to demonstrate the experience from both the candidate and assessor perspective
  • assessment support staff in each of our markets delivered live presentations and demonstrations to over 3500 candidates and assessors to ensure they were familiar and confident with the procedures. 

This collective effort resulted in all scheduled assessments going ahead as planned, with staff resources used across RICS to perform the role of staff observer – a participant present for every interview  dedicated to supporting the use of video calling technology and managing any technology issues. As a result there was minimal disruption for the next generation of the profession. 

I just wanted to congratulate you on the change to online assessments. It makes perfect sense and you’ve done a great job in getting it working. It opens up amazing potential with no-one having to travel out of their office or living room for an assessment, which means assessors are not limited to specific dates and locations.

Spanish assessor email to RICS assessment manager for Europe

In total, 2,219 video interviews were held . By  committing to delivering our assessments online, we are proud to have welcomed over 1,400 candidates into the RICS profession as chartered surveyors between 1 March and 31 July. For this success we are grateful to our staff but most importantly our assessors and candidates who approached the change in format with great professionalism and dedication. 

We have taken feedback and experiences from this period to improve the video interview experience and make the change to online assessments a permanent one. 

2. Print to digital

The digital transformation of RICS’ publication Modus and its four journals – Built Environment, Construction, Land and Property was a landmark occasion in RICS history. It will maximise access to our expert content globally and increase public visibility.  

  • For the first time, Modus and the Journals are available on a dedicated digital platform, accessible 24/7 from mobile, tablet or desktop, and easily shareable with colleagues and contacts. 
  • For global members this is the first time many will be able to access Modus and Journals easily (printing previously limited to the UK, with an APAC edition of Modus)  
  • Over 15,000 people have benefited from the platform since its launch on 31 July (as at 14 September) 
  • We are providing RICS professionals with high-calibre content and insight to support their professionalism, delivered through an enhanced and engaging digital experience 
  • The shortened publication cycle will allow contributors to deliver industry-leading analysis faster 
  • A search function that will allow easy navigation through the archive and articles 
  • Delivering this improved experience will enable RICS to stop 55 million pages per year from being printed – a major contribution to a more sustainable future.

The videos and dynamic links were key features I found incredibly useful and enhanced my experience, well beyond the usual static information I normally get from a hard copy. Must confess, I greeted your announcement to stop publishing hard copies with some despair, however, the above article proves your point and is an excellent showcase of why digital is the only way forward.

Elliot Patsanza, FRICS

RICS will continue to be bold in its ambition to create a digital experience and support 24 hours a day for the profession anywhere in the world. We will provide the profession and stakeholders with a more engaging and rich experience that places knowledge and competence at its heart. 


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How we inspire the next generation

A key aim of our Inspire workshops is to demonstrate that the profession is open to all and that RICS is committed to building a 21st century professional body through equality, diversity and inclusion. 

In order to make sure we engage with a diverse range of young people schools in a range of geographical areas are targeted, including those schools that have a high number of students who speak English as a second language, and those students who receive free school meals. 

Due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 this year, the workshops were suspended from March, but one Inspire workshop took place at Upton Grammar School in Slough, Berkshire in February. 

The workshop welcomed a visit from Tan Dhesi MP who joined the students as they completed their set of fast-paced exciting challenges designed to provide a taster of the numerous careers within the industry, bringing to life aspects of surveying and project management along with the necessary skills to fulfil these roles. 

Our flagship programme has now been running for three years and – despite only running for six month – this year reached 2,628 school students. 

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Don’t switch your mind off to construction and surveying. The industry wants people from all backgrounds and cultures.

Tan Dhesi MP

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