The second in our series of expert answers to typical APC questions

First, some background. Assessors are trained by the RICS to ask questions based on the competencies chosen by the candidate. This means that questions should, in theory, relate directly to the candidate’s experience or recorded professional development.

Depending on the competencies selected by the candidate, the assessor should aim to ask questions that ascertain the level of progression against the following levels:

  • Level 1 knowledge and understanding (‘knowing’)
  • Level 2 application of knowledge and understanding (‘doing’)
  • Level 3 reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge (‘advising’)

At Level 3 assessors will test knowledge by asking ‘scenario based’ questions (“I am a client. I am about to construct a building in a ‘brownfield’ location. What advice would you give…?”). This interview technique is used to discover whether the candidate can draw on their experience and apply it to hypothetical situations.

Assessors will use a funnelling process throughout the interview. They will normally start with open questions (who, why, what, how, where, which) to encourage discussion and draw information. They will then use closed questions, which can be answered with one word (either yes or no), when they need to challenge the candidate on specific matters of detail.

So if you've chosen Insurance (TO17) as a competency, they might ask...

  • Level 1 “I see that you have recently attended a CPD event on insurance. What are some of the types of insurance that might typically be expected on a construction project?”
  • Level 2 “In relation to the project described in your critical analysis, how did you know that the correct insurances were in place? What sort of things were you looking for?”
  • Level 3 “I work for a developer. My company is building an office block on a constrained city centre site. There is a basement and piled foundations. What advice would you give me in relation to the types of insurance I should consider, particularly given the close proximity of adjacent properties?" Or “Is non-negligence insurance usually taken out in joint names?”

In the Level 1 question, the candidate would be expected to clearly demonstrate knowledge of the majority of the following:

  • Third party insurance
  • Insurance of the works
  • Non-negligent insurance
  • Employer’s loss of liquidated damages
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Latent defects insurance

To really impress the assessors, the candidate would expand their answer and introduce the protection that may be provided through bonds and warranties.

When answering Level 3 questions the candidate should show a competent understanding of non-negligence insurance. In subsequent, follow-up questions they might also be asked to show if they know how the insurance is executed (in joint names), at whose direction (Contract Administrator) and the typical nuisance type damages it covers (collapse, subsistence, heave etc).