RICS considers plans to drop APC level three in bid to streamline system

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is considering plans to ditch its flagship top level qualification in a bid to streamline its qualifications system.

RICS sources said the proposal to drop the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) level three – widely regarded as the QS profession’s premium qualification – was discussed by the RICS’ QS/Construction board last month.

Critics slammed the proposal, claiming it would “dumb down” standards.

But the RICS stressed the proposed change was one of many possible reforms to the APC qualifications, adding that the organisation would “not jeapordise standards”.

The proposal has now been passed down to the RICS’ 17 professional groups to consider, before any proposed changes are put to the membership.

We have an obligation to make sure our qualifications are up-to-date

Gillian Charlesworth

Quantity surveyors must pass all three APC levels in order to become a chartered member of the RICS. Level one covers the technical basics, level two is about comparing and delivering valuations and level three is designed to teach QSs how to use all this information to deliver strategic advice to clients

It is understood senior figures in the RICS have proposed removing level three whilst beefing up level two in order to reduce the complexity of the APC system and as part of a move to become a more global organisation.

Gillian Charlesworth, director of corporate affairs at the RICS, confirmed the APC qualifications were currently under review, but stressed the proposal to drop RICS level three was among “a range of different issues and options”.

“This is about making sure that our qualifications are relevant to where the market is. We have an obligation to make sure our qualifications are up-to-date.

She rejected claims the RICS was putting standards at risk. “Any suggestion that we would reduce standards is completely erroneous – we wouldn’t contemplate that. High standards are our USP.” She added reforms to the APCs would come in to force “in the next couple of years” and any “big changes” would be put to the membership.

Charlesworth explains the reforms in more detail