Warning that global drive could make organisation irrelevant to some members

The new head of the QS group at the RICS has warned that the organisation risks becoming irrelevant to some members as it pursues its global recruitment drive.

Setting out his priorities for the body, which represents more than 40% of the institution’s 100,000 members, David Bucknall, chairman of Rider Levett Bucknall, also said he would fight any “dumbing down” of entry standards to the institute.

Bucknall, who was elected chair of the QS group last month, said not all members could be properly represented if the membership became too broad, He said: “It is difficult for the RICS to be relevant to global practices, national practices and small regional practices, and sole traders.”

Bucknall said there was a “difficult balance” to strike between expanding membership and reducing entry standards. The Assoc RICS qualification, introduced last November, provides a stepping stone for those without a degree to become full members.

Any reduction in the standards we have at the moment is unacceptable

David bucknall, rics

He said he supported the Assoc qualification, but would resist any moves to dumb down entry. “If there is any reduction in the standards we have at the moment that is unacceptable,” he said.

He also sought to draw a line under the controversial exit of previous chair Stuart Earl, who stepped down in July amid a row over the length of his tenure. He said the dispute had been “a disappointing sort of process”.

On the pay of the top institute bosses, including the £255,000 salary of chief executive officer Sean Tompkins, he said it had to be set in the context of businesses of a similar size. “What would a chief executive of a £40m business get?” he asked.

Annual revenues at the RICS exceed £50m. Dean Webster, chief executive of £65.6m turnover Cyril Sweett, earned £159,000 last year.