RICS President Clement Lau. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand
This month, as many of us continue to reflect on the passing of our late Patron, I am encouraged that our profession honours Her Majesty’s example of service by continuing to make good on its commitment to the public advantage.
One such example is climate change. From recent flooding in Pakistan to droughts and wildfires across Europe, the impact of climate change remains a constant and urgent threat to human life. It can and must be addressed.
I was therefore encouraged to read the recently published 2022 edition of the RICS Sustainability Report. Initiated last year, this important project measures changing sentiment on climate issues and demand for green buildings across our sector, notably by relaying the latest status of the RICS Sustainable Building Index. It also offers admirably practical insight into the hurdles that our sector must overcome to achieve the decarbonisation demanded by net zero targets. The adoption of consistent standards, skills development, and increased availability of information about low-carbon products are cited as priorities.
The benefits of embracing relevant technology are also called out in the report. I would highlight the finding that while only 21% of respondents report never using digital technology for projects’ environmental assessments, 78% sometimes or always do. We can evidently build on this position and convert awareness into action. I would encourage all members to consider these revealing findings in their work supporting clients and communities to mitigate the risks of climate change.
In other news, I have been pleased to see significant progress in implementing the Bichard RICS review’s recommendations, with a focus on delivering greater accountability and better representation for members. I have previously reflected on the primacy that the review places on public interest and members’ leadership of the Institution, so it is heartening to see changes decided by Governing Council to ensure the greatest possible representation for members. The alignment of the presidential and calendar years, and the decision that the RICS President will also serve as Chair of Governing Council for the duration of their one-year presidential term, will also aid accountability and strategic alignment throughout the workings of RICS.
RICS is looking to appoint a new Chair of the RICS Board and a new Director General to lead RICS in its next phase. The Chair must already be an RICS member, and both roles will be accountable for restoring member confidence in RICS and placing public interest at the heart of our work. This is a unique opportunity to lead at a time of significant change, so I encourage all those interested to find out more and apply here.
I would also highlight the consultation on the development of Professional Group Panels (PGPs) which is open for views until 21 October 2022. This important activity – which addresses directly one of the Bichard RICS Review’s recommendations – will improve representation for members by feeding their insight into RICS governance, and I urge all members to submit their views.
As Governing Council moves swiftly to implement the review’s recommendations, I am hopeful that we will continue to see good progress in the coming months to empower members in the leadership of the Institution’s work.
Finally, the recently published Valuation Review implementation roadmap is where members will be able to see how the dedicated subcommittee of the RICS Standards and Regulation Board (SRB) is effecting the Review’s recommendations. The process has been informed by detailed input from members of the profession and its stakeholders over the last two years and aims to ensure the best possible outcomes in the public interest in this critical area of professional practice. Members who would like to be contacted about opportunities to help inform the implementation may express their interest here.
With all these opportunities, I am confident that together we can transform RICS to better support the profession’s vital work to the public advantage in the coming years.
“The impact of climate change remains a constant and urgent threat to human life” Clement Lau, RICS President