New RICS chairman Nick Brooke wants to go global but many QSs are reluctant to fund the move.
Many quantity surveyors browned off by the 32% increase in the RICS members' subscription will not be happy at the appointment of new President Nick Brooke.

He has worked extensively overseas and has been appointed partly to promote the RICS brand abroad, an objective that upsets many members. According to a sample of 100 letters sent to Building on the subject, QSs would rather see RICS focus on the core membership and the RICS structure and administration.

Construction QSs have been feeling particularly marginalised since the RICS introduced its Agenda for Change programme in 2000, which replaced a dedicated QS division with a range of business-related faculties.

An informal group of nine leading QSs called the forum is critical of the initiative. It believes the RICS is not doing enough for the old QS division and has called for one person to head up a construction division comprising the current project management, cost consultancy and litigation business faculties. The forum members have clout as they pay their employees RICS fees, which total £1m a year.

Many of the letters to Building have been from small QS practices. They say that the move from the branch system to a faculty organisation has left them without representation at a local level.

These firms might also take umbrage at Brooke's talk of rebranding. He believes that the role of QSs has gone beyond that of pricing up quantities and suggests that new monikers such as cost consultant might be more appropriate. This outlook is unlikely to please the traditionalists.

Although Brooke says one of his key goals is to address the concerns of QSs at a local level, he is planning to spend four months of the year promoting the RICS brand abroad. This is welcomed by QSs working overseas in construction hotspots such as China and the Middle East, and UK-based practices may one day appreciate the move if they are forced to look for work abroad.

But Brooke will have a tough task winning over many of his grassroots members and he already faces a revolt. QS Jeremy Hackett is so upset by the fee increase, which was narrowly voted through in May, that he is calling for an extraordinary general meeting. Hackett says he needs around 860 signatories to force an EGM, and if he gets them he will be calling for a reversal in the fees increase.

So no honeymoon for Brooke, but not everyone opposes RICS' global strategy. One Building reader called RICS 'excellent value for money' and agrees that RICS should strive to become a global professional body.