The Importance of Industry Recognised Qualifications & Professional Memberships

April 29, 2021

As a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Prendos’ Qusain Khan has experienced first-hand the high level of skill, knowledge and experience required to become qualified. He writes about the journey and why it’s so valuable.

“Globally, the construction market continues to grow at a moderate pace and the long-term outlook for the industry looks positive. This can be attributed to population growth in emerging countries, necessary upgrades to infrastructure in certain developed countries, the trend towards increased residential development and expected investments in renewables. All of these factors, sited by Deloitte’s Global Power in Construction report[1], may see the construction industry growing above global GDP over the next decade.

From a New Zealand perspective, the outlook for construction is equally promising, with the industry significantly contributing to the country’s economy. In the first quarter of 2020, around 184,000 people were employed in the industry[2] and its GDP contribution reached over $15bn. Geographically, the population growth on the North Island has boosted the residential sector construction in Auckland, while in the South Island, Christchurch’s post-earthquake rebuilding work was responsible for the majority of construction sector work. Additionally, the value of building consents issued across residential, non-residential and infrastructure sectors has increased (for the most part) year-on-year, with employment in these sectors following a similar pattern of growth.[3]

When faced with such growth, the management of risk becomes paramount – including the risk posed by filling demand for professional labour with inadequately qualified individuals.

Insight Into RICS

To overcome inconsistencies, the property and construction industry promotes a number of ways to become qualified within a specific sector – ranging from discipline-specific undergraduate and post graduate degrees to professional charterships and accreditations.  

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is considered one the most prominent organisations within the industry. It was established in 1868 and, along with other key organisations, was a founding member of the Construction Industry Council. A rich history of 153 years has seen RICS become a globally recognised professional body through respected standards and leading professional progression. Today, it has 134,000 members worldwide and an office in every significant financial market. Through this global presence, RICS is ideally placed to influence policy and embed its high ethical and professional standards in local marketplaces to protect consumers and businesses.[4]

1999 saw an ‘agenda of change’ for RICS, with an increased presence in the New Zealand marketplace and the first RICS office in the southern hemisphere. Subsequently RICS member numbers have increased substantially over the years and this looks set to continue.

The Process of Becoming a RICS Member (MRICS)

Undertaking the journey for Assessment of Professional Competency (APC) to become a RICS Chartered Surveyor is challenging but rewarding. Similar to the process followed by the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors (NZIBS), it is comprehensive, demanding and can take anywhere from two to four years – depending on the candidate’s role and competency pathway. Candidates must have a master’s degree or RICS-accredited under-graduate university degree plus five years industry specific experience (ten years in the absence of a degree). They are also carefully assessed on their sector-specific skills, knowledge and experience.

The assessment itself is structured in a dual format which includes on-the-job structured training with daily diary inputs recorded against defined competencies, and a comprehensive record of project-specific experience that must cross reference and demonstrate certain competencies.

“I remember returning to my car after sitting my APC final interview. As I tried to calm my nerves, I saw a fellow candidate in the car next to me, crying their eyes out! The process takes an immense toll both mentally and physically!”
Qusain Khan

Once the above is completed, candidates submit their documentation for initial assessment and undertake an online ethics exam, which must be passed before they progress to the next stage. If the assessors decide the initial submission is of suitable merit and shows adequate experience against each declared competency, candidates are invited for a 3-panel formal interview.

The format of the interview is daunting to say the least. Over the course of an hour, candidate present on their chosen project to demonstrate they’ve achieved their declared competencies. They’re also questioned on ethics and ethical practices, general law and regulation within the property industry (specific to the country of practice) and must answer specific questions related to their completed/ongoing projects and CPD.[5]

Once Chartered, the learning doesn’t stop for a RICS member. There are strict requirements for both formal and informal Continuing Professional Development, to ensure members stay abreast of the industry and can offer ongoing relevant advice to clients.

The registration process is designed to ensure any candidate elected to be a RICS member has the required professional standards, and that their professional practices and advice to clients adheres to high industry standards. By implementing such a stringent process, RICS ensures global consistency, industry best practice and accountability of its members’ actions.

Benefits of Employing a Chartered MRICS Surveyor

Achieving and maintaining Chartered MRICS status is a life-long vocation for the members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. This continued dedication is advantageous to clients, who can be assured that a Chartered Surveyor will employ the very best ethical, legal, global and technical standards in all they do.

In tangible terms, this results in clients being offered robust technical, statutory, legal, economic and procurement-based advice. And, given the substantial and detailed experience of most MRICS surveyors, the likelihood of early project risk mitigation is highly likely.

This, coupled with detailed technical and problem-solving advice, delivers project certainty and economic viability throughout the construction process. From a legal standpoint, the thorough dedication to training and education adhered to by RICS members ensures reporting consistencies are maintained globally. It also sees that robust, technically diligent reports are provided to the client, which can then be confidently used for future planning and maintenance of any surveyed asset.

As one of New Zealand’s oldest consultancy practices, Prendos currently has 18 MRICS Chartered & NZIBS Registered Surveyors as well as three Chartered Directors. We offer our clients a wide array of professional property services and high quality advice across all construction sectors. So, if you’re looking for a surveyor, whether for a small property condition survey, a multi-million dollar refurbishment or a new build, make sure you email us at [email protected] or give us a call on 0800 PRENDOS.


Chartered Building Surveyor - Wellington - Qusain Khan

Qusain Khan is a Chartered Building Surveyor at Prendos. He completed a Post-Graduate Master’s Degree in Building Surveying and went on to become Chartered three years later. Since then, Qusain has held the position of APC mentor in various companies (coaching candidates towards their APC) and is currently starting the journey to become an RICS APC Assessor.


[1] Deloitte – GPOC 2018 Global Power of Construction

[2] Construction industry in New Zealand – statistics & facts | Statista

[3] Construction industry in New Zealand – statistics & facts | Statista

[4] About RICS

[5] Sector pathways (rics.org)

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