What Is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional organization that establishes and enforces standards for valuing, operating, and developing assorted types of property. This property can be in the form of land, structures, facilities, or infrastructure components.

Key Takeaways

  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional organization that establishes and enforces standards for valuing, operating, and developing assorted types of property.
  • The organization’s roster consists of 134,000 accredited professionals in over 140 countries.
  • Membership in RICS requires an appropriate education and years of relevant experience.

Understanding the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is one of the world's leading professional bodies for qualifications and standards in land, property, and construction. Established in 1868 by a group of surveyors in London, RICS has spread to over 140 countries. Qualified RICS members are recognized by designations such as FRICS for fellow, MRICS for member, and AssocRICS for associate.

There are multiple levels of RICS membership with different requirements.

The RICS operates from its international headquarters in London, with six global regions outside the U.K., including offices in New York City, Brussels, and Dubai. The organization’s roster consists of 134,000 accredited professionals, who must adhere to the quality and ethical standards established by the RICS. Its members cover more than 160 specialties, from construction to valuation and waste management.

The RICS traces its origins all the way back to 1792 when a group then known as the Surveyors Club was formed. A group of surveyors came together at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London. They decided to create a professional association, complete with a charter, resolutions, and bylaws. By 1868, the group had expanded to include nearly 50 members who wanted to establish an official organization with a formal structure. The group once again met at the Westminster Palace Hotel and elected officers and a president. It established offices there that still serve as the RICS headquarters today.

The RICS is now managed by a governing council, which is supported by a variety of boards and committees. It is comprised of regional boards and national councils. There are also 17 professional boards that focus on a particular industry specialty, including building surveying, geomatics, facilities management, management consultancy, and valuation.

Requirements for RICS Membership

Those seeking a base-level AssocRICS membership must meet several requirements. For education and experience, one year of applicable experience and a relevant bachelor's degree are enough. Alternately, two years of experience and some related higher education will do. Finally, four years of practical experience are also sufficient to meet the requirements. However, potential AssocRICS members must also complete a rigorous assessment process that includes training, writing essays, and completing case studies.

The requirements to become a Charter Member (MRICS) are more stringent. Five years of applicable experience and a bachelor's degree are needed here. However, ten years of experience at an advanced level are also enough. Lastly, relevant experience and a RICS-accredited degree will meet the education and experience requirements for MRICS. It is also necessary to finish an assessment, which is usually the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). The APC can be completed with or without 12 to 24 months of structured training. There are also other assessments for academics, specialists, and senior professionals.

Becoming a RICS fellow (FRICS) is most difficult of all. One must act to advance the interest of RICS and their profession. A RICS fellow must also provide benefits to another party, outside of RICS, to show the organization's commitment to the public interest.

RICS leadership stresses corporate responsibility and ethical business practices as fundamental principles that guide all of the policies and decisions of the group. The organization requires that all members abide by those principals and uphold the standards set in RICS bylaws and procedures. The RICS and its members are also dedicated to achieving a balance between progress and preserving the planet. One of the group’s primary priorities is responsible, conscientious development with a focus on sustainability and preservation.