Institution revises consultation paper after building surveyors protest at merger with QSs.
The RICS has backed down over plans to restructure the institution following protests from building surveyors.

Outraged building surveyors have forced the RICS to abandon a draft consultation paper's proposals to group building surveyors with quantity surveyors in a new RICS division.

The institution's Thinking Globally, Acting Locally paper recommended dividing building surveying into two "faculties" – construction services and building surveying.

The construction services faculty would have included quantity surveyors and any building surveyors involved in conversion, refurbishment, extension and alteration work.

The building surveying faculty would have been the reserve of building surveyors involved in other work, such as building conservation, maintenance, planning and building insurance.

Building surveyors attacked the plan, claiming it would lead to building surveyors becoming de-skilled and "consumed" by quantity surveyors.

A revised report will now recommend the creation of a single building surveying faculty and a separate quantity surveyors and cost consultants section.

If we end up in a single group with QSs, it would be the death knell for building surveying

Building Surveyor

Donna Huth, director of marketing at the RICS, denied that the institution had climbed down over the issue. "It's a fuss over nothing. There was never any suggestion of splitting building surveying into two sections. The construction services faculty was included in the draft in error. Someone simply misread the flip chart."

However, one building surveyor said: "Everyone knows QSs want to take over building surveyors. The larger QSs want to broaden their workload and become construction consultants because they see traditional QS work under threat by things like design and build."

He added: "If we end up in a single group with QSs, we would be outnumbered, while the other building surveying group would be too small to do anything within the RICS. It would be the death knell for building surveying."

The paper is intended to be the climax of a large-scale consultation process undertaken by an RICS taskforce that asked members how the institution should change its structure to bring it into the 21st century.

The revised draft is the third version to appear since consultation of the RICS' 90 000 members began. The first report also had to be changed after members complained it included proposals that were not discussed by the taskforce.

A number of members are understood to have expressed concern at the way the institution compiled the report. Another building surveyor said: "This is the second time we have had to jump up and down to ensure the views of members find their way into the report."