It's an exciting and transformational time for chartered surveyors in the construction sector, says Chris Nicholl, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) managing director for Australasia, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Nicholl was speaking ahead of the RICS Awards being held in Auckland on July 25 at SkyCity.

He says the awards are an important recognition of the work carried out by Chartered Surveyors as educated, qualified and regulated professionals addressing the challenges of modern living.

Chartered Surveyors have to be on top of the latest world developments and this is why education and training are key priorities for RICS, which is the professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction.


Among the challenges facing chartered surveyors is population growth and urbanisation – with 10 billion people forecast to live predominately in cities by 2050 putting huge pressure on natural resources, energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.

"RICS is trying to live and breathe the changing environment so the organisation is informed and can perform at a top level," says Nicholl.

One thing is certain – Nicholl says there will be plenty of work for chartered surveyors in coming years which is why RICS is promoting the profession at schools and universities.

The connection between education and training and the convening of events which host thought leadership discussions are also central to the RICS agenda, says Nicholl.

With this in mind, a property day planned for Auckland next year will bring together professionals from the construction, property and valuation sectors with the discussion centred around issues such as sustainability and urbanisation.

Another area of fundamental importance is the development of world standards for the profession.

An example is the International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) that will help support risk analysis from an investment perspective to secure funding for projects which has become transformational for countries, "their roads, their bridges, their ports, hospitals, schools.

"The absence of that cost data and a proper risk profile from an investment standpoint makes the pipeline to deliver that infrastructure so much longer in terms of time."


RICS has an independent dispute resolution service, made up of professionals from a variety of professions, including barristers, solicitors, chartered surveyors, engineers and project managers.

This is important because contract disputes in construction make up 15 per cent of the cost of a project and result in significant delays which can add up to millions of dollars.

Nicholl also spoke about the importance of good ethics in the profession and the importance of creating a great culture.

"Our mission is really to advance the profession in the public interest, so people having the skills and competencies to deliver buildings that are financially viable, environmentally conscious and safe for human occupation.

"The other part of it is the notion that professionalism is a lot about conduct and ethics. It is about having a competency but also having a moral compass, a professional obligation, to act responsibly with that knowledge and not to cut corners."

RICS is also keeping up with technology as the way we live and work is undergoing massive change.

Nicholl used 'the internet of things' as an example, saying this technology flowed into the design of buildings and workspaces.

He says in New Zealand the focus for members is on construction with a sector training programme already underway to address issues of non-compliance.

This will give the public the confidence and security to "live, work or play in these buildings in the knowledge they're not going to be affected by hazardous products or poor workmanship that might endanger their human safety."