09 Jul, 2020
CPD for Building and Chartered Surveyors
Asking what a building or chartered surveyor does is a little like asking what an artist does – there are so many subtleties and variations within the profession that it’s impossible to define it precisely. In a discipline that include people who have specialisms in everything from valuing domestic or commercial property, advising on large scale construction projects, evaluating the environmental impact of property development and assessing the physical state of land or property to a myriad of other specialist areas in between.
Rapid changes in the evidence base, technology and skill requirements of the profession make Continuing Professional Development (CPD) a career long process for surveyors. With these skills increasing in demand, we aim with this article to outline the benefits and types of CPD within the surveying profession.
What is considered CPD for Building and Chartered Surveyors?
“CPD is any professional development activity which adds to a surveyor’s knowledge, enhances their skills, and enables them to learn more effectively” – The CPD Certification Service
Continuing Professional Development can simply be defined as the way in which surveyors keep themselves up-to-date and maintain their standards as professionals in the practice of the work they do. CPD for Building and Chartered surveyors aims to ensure professional competence and sustainability among registered professionals, through which they remain up-to date by augmenting and enhancing their skills past initial training and throughout their career.
The primary objectives of CPD are:
- To enrich professional skills while supporting development in the surveying profession.
- To meet the requirements of the Act.
- To serve as one of the means for renewal of registration, and
- To develop the surveying profession as an educated group of skilled professional.
Any activity that does not have a clear learning objective relating to your role and specialism will not be considered as appropriate CPD. For instance, networking, social events, informal team building, involvement on boards, committees or clubs that have little or no relevance to your professional role will not count towards your requirements.
For the CPD to be relevant for surveyors, it would have to:
- Encourage professionals to achieve and maintain their competence to best serve the needs of their clients.
- Ensure that professionals receive credit and recognition for CPD activities which deliver an advanced level of technical expertise appropriate to professional practice activities; and
- Take into consideration that individual professionals all have varying needs i.e. some professionals have better general management skills, commercial competence or interpersonal communication skills, while others might be lacking in one or more of these areas.
An important characteristic of good CPD is that it has the ability to be tailor made to suit each individual’s needs, and it is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
What are the benefits of CPD to Surveyors?
Any initial training period, such as university or college education, prepares one for practice, however once a person starts gaining practical experience the circumstances change and the professional requires continuous learning from a variety of sources to stay up to date. Membership of professional bodies constitute the most common and effective approaches to CPD in providing surveyors with both structured and unstructured learning experiences.
Continuing Professional Development programmes typically provide benefits for both the learner and for the employer by enhancing the effectiveness of professionals in the workplace, helping them to cope with constantly changing technology and improving the quality of services rendered to their clients. CPD gives professionals the ability to build up confidence and credibility, assisting professionals in dealing with change by constantly updating their skill set, and identifying gaps in the professionals’ knowledge and experience thereby allowing them to address any problems and improve efficiency.
For employees, CPD can help:
- build confidence
- demonstrate credibility
- keep skills up-to-date
- add value
- aid and enhance career progression
CPD gives surveying professionals a competitive advantage in the employment market and opens many opportunities to long-term career paths by showcasing personal achievements and effort for improvement.
Benefits of CPD to the employer
The introduction of a properly structured CPD policy enhances the credibility of both the professional body and its members. Continuing Professional Development allows organisations to maximize staff potential by linking knowledge gained from CPD activities to practice, assisting human resource personnel to set objectives for training that are more closely linked to specific business needs, and increasing the firms’ image by employing competent and informed professionals. A building or chartered surveying firm consists of individual surveyors, and therefore the benefits experienced by individual professionals from CPD also impact on the firm.
For employers, investing in a programme of CPD can deliver a range of benefits to Chartered and Building surveyors such as:
- ensures standards across the company are high and consistent
- promotes greater workforce engagement
- enhances staff commitment to job roles
- allows the sharing of best practice
- maximises staff potential
- improves staff morale
- provides a useful benchmark for annual appraisals
It can be difficult to find the time to complete Professional Development training, so to reap the benefits it is important that CPD hours are spent on high quality and relevant content. One of the first things anyone should do is identify the specific skills that they, or their team members, need to develop. This may be specific courses needed to overcome a skills gap identified in an appraisal, courses that are mandatory for inductions, or training that has to be evidenced to satisfy inspection bodies. Ideally, all individuals should be able to focus on the skills that they want and need to develop whilst working a pace that’s right for them.
What are the different types of CPD?
Formal CPD or Work-based activities
Formal CPD is structured learning with clear objectives and outcomes. This includes professional courses, structured online training, and technical authorship learning which includes an assessment measure or self-managed learning that can be assessed by an expert third party. For this type of CPD, you may be requested to provide verifiable evidence, including proof of attendance, or verification of assessment by a third party.
Examples can include the following:
- On-the-job development including mentoring, special project work, secondments and more.
- Professional meetings, panels and working groups including faculty and forum work, APC assessor preparation, external examiner positions and beyond.
- Presentations and publications including research for papers, participating in public meetings, lecturing on careers, and preparing presentations.
Informal CPD is self-managed learning that must be relevant or related to your professional role. This includes private study, on-the-job training, attending informal seminars or events where the focus is knowledge sharing.
Sources of information include:
- Books, journals, magazine and newspapers
- Websites of professional interest
- Technical manuals
- Research papers
- Videos and podcasts
- Transcripts of speeches, lectures, and seminars
- Reports/guidance notes from professional bodies
- CPD study packs
As well as the above, there is a requirement to maintain a current understanding of RICS professional and ethical standards during a rolling three-year period. This learning counts towards your formal CPD and is detailed below.
You may wish to consider keeping a separate record of any activities undertaken to help you monitor your own personal development.
What are the CPD Requirements as a Building or Chartered Surveyor?
As a Chartered or Building Surveyor you must be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which includes passing their stringent qualifications, signing up to their code of professional ethics and undertaking thorough Continuing Professional Development.
The Institute of Surveyors is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction. Dependant on your professional body or employer, this is approximately 20 hours CPD per year, but could for example be split between personal technical knowledge and skills, job role technical knowledge and personal soft skills.
RICS CPD requirements for members
- All members must undertake a minimum of 20 hours CPD each calendar year (January to December).
- Of the 20 hours, at least 10 hours must be formal CPD. The remainder can be informal CPD.
- All members must maintain a relevant and current understanding of the professional and ethical standards during a rolling three-year period. Any learning undertaken in order to meet this requirement may count as formal CPD.
- Members must record their CPD activity online by 31 January each year.
Any CPD activity, whether formal or informal, should be planned wherever possible, and be relevant to a construction professional’s role or specialism. Any activity that does not have a clear learning objective that relates to a professionals role or specialism cannot be considered as appropriate CPD.
With over 25,000 users, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is a worldwide professional body that represents construction and property professionals who work within the built environment. Like most professional bodies, they believe it’s essential for members to keep up to date with the latest developments and knowledge in their field.
As a Member or Fellow of the CIOB, it is expected that you work on your professional development throughout your membership. All members are responsible for developing their own annual CPD plan, evaluating CPD activities and keeping a record of the activities that are undertaken. The CIOB are not prescriptive about what CPD you do or how many hours you need to complete. You are best placed to know what CPD is necessary and relevant to you. You should keep an up-to-date record of your CPD activities on your membership profile.
Why plan and record your CPD?
Once you’ve completed any activities that count towards your RICS CPD requirements, it’s vital that you record them. This is not just to meet your obligations as a RICS or CIOB member, but also helps you keep track of your personal professional development and career planning. As a member of the Institute of Surveyors, this recording must now be done online.
Planning and recording your CPD
Planning and recording your learning activities helps you to get the maximum benefit from them. A structured learning programme is more effective than attending courses that simply look interesting. A CPD record allows space for reflection on what has been gained from the activities, how to apply what you have learned, and what to develop in the future.
Keeping records can allow you to demonstrate that you have sought to maintain your competence in the event of a claim or allegation being made against you. For RICS members, your record of learning helps you to demonstrate to the Institute of Surveyors how you have sought to meet the RICS CPD requirement in the Rules of Conduct for members.
We hope this article was helpful. This article begins to outline the Continuing Professional Development of a Charted or Building Surveyor based in the UK, the professional bodies, as well as the types of CPD. For more information please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development.