Here’s a message to RICS members: why are you complaining when you could be changing? Give us your effort, time and passion and we can overcome the challenges we face

We’ve been accused by this magazine and some of its readers of losing touch with the construction industry in general and the average QS member in particular. I throw down a new year’s challenge to you – who is it who is really losing touch with the future of this profession?

The industry has undoubtedly had a really tough year. If we are going to survive long enough to enjoy the upturn, which will come, we need to ensure the profession is fit for the challenges ahead. That means training up the next generation. Some 25,000 RICS members will reach retirement age in the next 10 years. Many will be QSs. Employers have told us that we need a foundation-level qualification to help them develop new talent, and in response we have created Assoc RICS. Rest assured that the same rigorous qualification process applies for anyone who subsequently wishes to move up to MRICS.

The RICS is also making sure you have the knowledge and information you need to practice. We have developed the New Rules of Measurement, which enables QSs to measure construction projects from beginning to end using a single standardised rule book. We are also close to delivering the first installment of the Black Book, which will cover all aspects of the practising standards needed by members who are working in the built environment.

We are also working across the globe to raise the profile of the profession, for example in India, China and the Middle East, where there are huge infrastructure and construction opportunities. This is where we need to act if we are to have a profession in the future.

As president, I have been keen to seek the views of members to help develop strategy. I have had working breakfasts with senior practitioners across a range of sectors and have been disappointed that more of you from quantity surveying and construction have not taken this opportunity to come and talk to me. My challenge to you is get in touch with us to help shape the future.

I’ve been keen to seek the views of members to help develop strategy. I have had working breakfasts with practitioners and have been disappointed that more of you from quantity surveying and construction have not taken the opportunity to come and talk to me

We took the decision to withdraw from the Construction Industry Council (CIC) because we did not feel it was achieving significant results. Your money was going on subscriptions to the CIC, which was then invested in meetings that were having little impact. At the same time, we were talking direct to the government about its plans for a chief construction adviser and had our amendment adopted in the Construction Bill.

As a result of our decision, the CIC has come back to us with positive proposals to cut the volume of meetings and restructure the organisation with effect from 1 January. This offers the opportunity of a greatly improved set of outputs, priorities and focus for the CIC, and corresponding value and relevance for the RICS. But this will work only if there is much more active engagement by RICS members; our members must feel it is worth investing their time to help deliver our programme of work. I am pleased with the recent constructive conversations with the CIC about our future relationship and these will continue in the new year.

We are at a crucial point. I think it is time to set out our vision for the next 10 years. We need to say how we will deliver a low-carbon industry, give value for money in public procurement, ensure the public sector is a best practice client and make sure we have planned for the skills shortages of the future. All this must be in the context of an increasingly international market.

So enough of rumours of a breakaway group – the profession will lose out if we don’t act together. If you don’t engage with these discussions and debates, if you don’t contribute time, effort and passion to shaping the future, and if you don’t wake up to the challenges we are facing on a global stage, we will not have a construction profession.

This is my new year challenge to you. I hope you accept it and get in touch to help ensure quantity surveying and construction is fit to meet the challenges of the future.