How Property Journal covered the key topics of 2023: part one

The first of two pieces rounding up Property Journal's coverage of sustainability, valuation and commercial and personal property in 2023 looks at subjects from office refurbishment to blockchain


  • Adam Bell
  • Patrick McGauley

19 December 2023

Photo of RICS' Birmingham office

With RICS developing new standards on retrofitting, whole-life carbon and discounted cash flow valuation, Property Journal has aimed to keep members up to date on the latest requirements and guidance in our articles throughout the year.

But while meeting standards is critical to surveyors' practice, there is much more to the profession – as we have shown in articles on careers and technology in the art market, for instance.

Sustainable retrofitting standard in preparation

Retrofitting is vital if the UK is to fulfil its net-zero carbon ambitions, and this is reflected in RICS' development of a dedicated new professional standard for residential properties

The standard will complement other RICS member services, such as home surveys and secured lending valuations, while providing an independent standard that can be applied to suit individual circumstances.

The recent refurbishment of RICS' Birmingham office at 55 Colmore Row also exemplifies sustainable retrofitting in line with the organisation's own Whole life carbon assessment for the built environment, a second edition of which was published in September.

Reflecting on the refurbishment in another article, those involved in the project showed that due diligence and sufficient monitoring not only met but exceeded carbon emission reduction targets. 

They also hoped that Colmore Row will serve as a model for RICS members and their clients when embarking on similar refurbishment works. 

'A particular focus was retaining, reusing and donating as much of the existing fit-out and equipment as possible'

UK supplement to Red Book reflects valuation review

Photo of the facade of a contemporary building


RICS also published a revised version of the UK supplement to RICS Valuation – Global Standards (Red Book Global Standards) in October, in response to regulatory changes and consultation with the profession.

The update enables the implementation of several recommendations made in RICS' Independent review of real estate investment valuations published in January 2022.

RICS head of professional practice – valuation and investment advisory Ben Elder FRICS summarised the main changes that the revised supplement introduced and what members need to look out for. 

He noted that the supplement has made changes in three main practice areas: financial reporting, the public sector, and residential valuations. 

It includes new financial and governance reporting standards, amended valuation for public-sector accounting guidance, and refined residential valuation guidance.

Blockchain use has implications for art trade

A recent article by Claudia Giannoni MRICS, Francesca Medda and Silvia Bartolucci of University College London looked at how blockchain has become increasingly popular in various sectors over the past decade. 

The technology has already resulted in significant changes to the art market and promises to offer more, so the authors explored opportunities including making deals more easily, providing greater creative control for artists, and improving management of collections and related data.

However, concerns about the governance and security of blockchain could pose a number of challenges. The technology is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and its decentralised nature means that community governance mechanisms are critical to its security. 

'The challenge with digital art is that it can be easily copied, distributed and shared on the internet, making it difficult for artists to maintain control and earn revenue'

Family boasts three generations of surveyors

Photo of Don Lemen standing outside RICS


Although the journal has necessarily focused on the latest standards, it has also looked back through the decades – as it did when Property Elite's Jen Lemen FRICS wrote about following her father and grandfather into the profession. She explained the different routes they each took, and the various challenges and changes they faced.

All three generations combined distance learning with work, and all followed the commercial property pathway, specialising in different parts of this sector. 

While communication technology has changed greatly over that time and chartered surveying has become a more specialised profession, Lemen found that the fundamental components of the job have largely stayed the same: being an ethical professional, enjoying working with other people, and having the technical knowledge and understanding to advise clients. 


In the second part of this round-up of the year's highlights, we will look at housebuilding, property investment, healthy buildings and digital connectivity. 

Adam Bell is residential property editor of Property Journal
Contact Adam: Email | LinkedIn

Patrick McGauley is commercial property editor of Property Journal
Contact Patrick: Email | LinkedIn

Related Articles


go to article How valuers can support London's prime retail market


go to article How property sector can embrace collaborative AI


go to article RICS publishes guidance for valuers operating in the US