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.