I note that Launce Morgan, the chairman of the RICS construction faculty, has resigned from that appointment and his job at Northcroft (8 July, page 15).
His “crime” was to accuse the chief executive of the RICS of “creating an empire … which is plunging the institution into crisis”. I plead guilty to the same offence. I shall also resign from the RICS … Whoops, already done that last year, because of the empire-building, monopolistic growth, huge salaries for RICS staff – all subsidised by massive subscription increases – and loss of identity for quantity surveyors.
Two things happened to me recently that I think back up Morgan’s accusation of empire-building. First I received a questionnaire from a QS publication that required me to identify whether I was a “quantity surveyor” or a “chartered surveyor”. ‘Scuse me? What in terms of technical expertise is a “chartered surveyor”? Clearly not a quantity surveyor or a building surveyor, ‘cos those were seperated out.
Second, I was debating rebuilding costs for fire insurance with a representative from a major insurer. Said representative said he was quite happy with the figure given by company “A” because it was a “chartered surveyor”. When it was pointed out that they buy, sell and auction, but, by their own admission, were not quantity surveyors and could not price, his glazed expression spoke volumes. He did not realise that the skills of “chartered surveyors” range from selling works of art to estate agency. Amazingly, but in a perfect example of how the RICS PR machine has destroyed meaningful and essential identification of skills, the insurer was entirely satisfied with the chartered surveyor’s figure, because it was from a chartered surveyor.
The accuracy of Morgan’s comments was confirmed when Louis Armstrong revealed he would meet the bosses of the “top 10 QS companies” to address QS’ complaints. This again reveals the state of isolation of the RICS hierarchy from the membership. Most members work in small practices, yet the “team” he proposes to meet are the equivalent of the G8.
I give up. If the construction surveyors will split off from the RICS, taking half of the assets with them, I will happily rejoin. If not, does anyone want to form a new ICS?
John Wilding (ex FRICS), John Wilding & Co, Manchester