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How qualified is your Chartered Surveyor?

  1. 04 November 2020
  2. By Jeremy Greer

Knowing how qualified your Chartered Surveyor is can help you determine what kind of service you can expect from them. Wayne Norcliffe will take you through the different levels of qualification a surveyor can have.

We’re delighted to welcome one of our surveying partners, Wayne Norcliffe of Castle Surveyors to our blog.

The internet has changed how we buy, sell, rent or otherwise deal in property forever. It’s no longer down to those with a vested interest in achieving a sale, e.g. estate agent, to determine who you use to survey the property you’re buying.  Now you can simply search online, input a few details and ‘hey presto’ you have a fully qualified and experienced surveyor to assist. But how can you tell what those qualifications mean?


RICS is one of the property industry’s most prominent professional bodies and certainly the one you will encounter when buying a property where you are obtaining a mortgage, that’s because the valuer will most likely be required to be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Remember: only those who are Members of the RICS should be referring to themselves as a Chartered Surveyor. Check the wording used by the firm you are considering using!

The RICS has different professional membership levels and these can be complex, so we’ll focus on those you are most likely to encounter as a buyer or seller in the residential property market

First Qualification: Associate Member (Assoc. RICS)

The Assoc. RICS level member doesn’t have full membership status but is on a progressive path in becoming a Chartered Surveyor and working towards full membership of the RICS.

An Assoc. RICS member may be someone who is relatively new to the surveying profession. They may have simply completed a short course of study by way of an introduction to the profession and may have little practical experience of surveying properties. You should check their experience is sufficient for the property you are buying.

Second Qualification: Chartered Member (MRICS)

A Chartered Member of the RICS is likely to be a person who has worked their way through the rigorous RICS route to professional membership, this could have included study of a relevant degree, along with at least a couple of years as an Associate or Graduate Surveyor working alongside more experienced surveyors. 

A Chartered Member can have attained that status via various routes to professional membership of the RICS, including work as a Building Surveyor, Valuation Surveyor, Commercial Surveyor, etc.  This essentially means that the particular MRICS is proficient in a particular specialism, having undertaken at least a couple of years professional study and mentorship in that particular area of expertise. 

Third Qualification: Fellow of the RICS (FRICS)

Like any profession there are those who have reached the peak of qualification membership.  In this section we’ll consider why you should aim to choose someone who is a Fellow of the RICS.

A FRICS, is someone who has likely worked in the property/surveying field for many years, has vast experience of property and/or has significantly contributed to the profession in various ways.  To be accepted as a Fellow of the RICS an applicant needs to have at least the following:
  • Be considered a Champion i.e. be able to explain how they have gained recognition from an appropriate authority or the RICS.
  • Be an expert and demonstrate how they have been verified as advancing, sharing or interpreting knowledge of the industry.
  • Be an Influencer of the profession through Leadership, Management or Development
  • Be a Role Model to demonstrate how they have exceeded standards to the benefit of their clients.
When you employ a Fellow of the RICS to assist you in your property purchase, negotiations, etc you are employing a professional who has spent many years honing their skills and knowledge.  They will likely have encountered many more situations than other surveyors and as such can be depended upon to provide you with a high quality service, having considered in detail your requirements and the subject matter.


A member of this organisation is able to use the title of Chartered Builder but not Chartered Surveyors.  Some may use the phrase Chartered Builder and Surveyor, this may not however mean they are an RICS Chartered Surveyor. 

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have similar membership levels to the RICS as outlined above, these being:

First Qualification: Associate Member (ACIOB)

Second Qualification: Chartered Member (MCIOB)

Third Qualification: Fellow of the CIOB (FCIOB)

The CIOB organisation are mainly focused on the construction industry and having a wide membership amongst builders, project managers and the like.  As such, this is the CIOB speciality, as opposed to building defect analysis and valuation.

5 additional questions to ask your Chartered Surveyor/Builder

Will it be you (i.e. the person with the qualifications and experience) undertaking the survey? If not what is the qualification level of the person doing so?

How many surveys/valuations do you undertake per day?

How long have you been working in the area where the property is situated?

What post survey support do you offer? Is this additional or part of the service?

Do you provide RICS compliant reports?
On reallymoving we work with RICS regulated Chartered Surveying firms, so when you get a quote you can be sure that you’re working with an experienced professional. However, as Wayne has highlighted above, it’s always worth asking who will be carrying out your survey.

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