RICS’ President looks ahead to what 2022 has in store

This will be a year of significant change to which all members can contribute, says RICS President Clement Lau in his monthly column


  • Clement Lau

04 January 2022

People putting plants on garden wall

The New Year is traditionally a time to look forward to what lies ahead. Although we adapted in 2021 and learned to live with COVID-19, the resurgence of another new variant at the end of last year was a sharp reminder that it will continue to disrupt our lives for some time yet.

However, with every year that passes, we know more about the virus and have more tools in our arsenal to respond to it. Despite the challenges ahead, we can still be optimistic about the future and the opportunities on the horizon.

The New Year is also a time to reflect on our goals and priorities. For me, there are three big priorities for the Presidential Team in 2022, and I look forward to working with President-Elect Ann Gray and Senior Vice-President Tina Paillet on these.

1. Building a new platform for our future

This year will be one of big change at RICS. Lord Michael Bichard has now started work on the Independent Review into our purpose, governance and strategy, which will make recommendations by June this year about how RICS can become a gold standard membership organisation once again. However, Governing Council believe there are changes we can make in the immediate future, particularly around membership engagement.

Lord Bichard’s call for evidence is open until 22 January – I urge all our members to contribute to this vital review and help shape the future of our institution.

Clement Lau headshot

2. Embedding sustainability within our work

Sustainability has remained high on the agenda over the past two years, but next year will see it once again top the priority list for organisations, who are starting to be judged not just on financial performance but across their environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives.

In the future, this will intensify, resulting in the emergence of green premiums. Standards and tools that promote a consistent approach to measuring progress towards sustainability goals, like the International Cost Management Standard and our forthcoming International Building Operation Standard, will become more widely adopted and help organisations demonstrate their progress in a meaningful way.

We will only be able to overcome these environmental challenges by working collaboratively and ensuring sustainability is truly embedded within all the work we do.

3. Connecting with more of our members

It was a privilege to meet so many members in the UK at the end of last year, but this was only the start of the Presidential Team’s engagement. As a team, we intend to join more events and meetings in the coming year, and we very much hope to do so in person as well as virtually. Ann Gray and Tina Paillet will be joining some of you at our World Built Environment Forum at the end of this month and I will be attending more regional board meetings.

I know that we must do more than talk about change. We must make changes too. We are determined to put members back at the heart of everything we do. As a professional body, we can only be successful if staff and members are working collaboratively to promote the profession for the public interest. This requires two-way communication: you should be able to expect timely, relevant updates from RICS on areas that matter to you.

This month, we will be launching our new member engagement offer, which will include more communications from Board Chairs in your local market, more local events and more high quality, affordable CPD. It will become easier to identify the people who represent you within our governance community and hear from them about the issues that are most important to you.

Whatever your goals for the New Year are, I wish you a happy and prosperous start to 2022.

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“Lord Bichard’s call for evidence is open until 22 January – I urge all our members to contribute to this vital review"

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