Profession complains that it will have one-third of membership but one-sixteenth of power.
Quantity Surveyors last week voted against RICS proposals to overhaul the institution’s structure, saying the plans would downgrade and marginalise their profession.

The QS divisional council noted that one in three of the 90 000 members of the RICS were QSs, but that, under the proposals in Agenda for Change, most would be represented by only one of the 16 subgroups to be created.

The council concluded that the QS profession would be under-represented. “We’re scared that we won’t be heard,” said one delegate who attended the meeting.

QSs want the RICS to abandon plans for the 16 highly specific professional groupings, known as faculties, and revert to a structure in which QSs are better represented.

The chair of the meeting was Neil Pountney, president of the QS division. He confirmed that the plans to introduce the faculties had been rejected, and that he would submit a report to the RICS board today. He said: “A majority of members are looking for a slimmed-down structure rather than 16 faculties.”

Pountney added that the council required more information about the plans. “I will be requesting more information on how the faculties might work and how they will be funded,” he said.

QSs are also upset about the proposed increase of £63 in subscription rates in Agenda for Change. Fellows are now charged £232 a year. This will rise to £295 under the new system, said RICS president Simon Kolesar.

Even with the increased subscriptions, QSs are concerned that the expanded structure will be too expensive to run. Pountney said: “There’s no way it can be funded out of the extra subscription.” Running costs are expected to rise from £20m a year to £26m a year, says Kolesar.

Kolesar, a QS with EC Harris, was not scheduled to attend the meeting but spoke at the afternoon session after an emergency call from Pountney. He said that QSs should not feel marginalised, because even though the construction faculty – to which most QSs would belong – was only one faculty out of 16, it would be more influential because it would have so many members.

The senior QS of a leading practice said Agenda for Change overcomplicated the system when it should be simpler. He said: “We should come under one umbrella and accept our differences.”

He added that QSs would leave the RICS to create a new body if they could be assured that it would receive a royal charter.

Martin Bishop, senior partner in Franklin + Andrews, said QSs should leave and join the Chartered Institute of Building.