Where are you Gordon Quartey?
At the beginning of my career I was in an office on the top floor at Southampton Row in a still famous practice. I came out of college and found myself sitting at a desk with a pile of drawings and a pile of blank take off sheets. Next to me sat Gordon, he was from Ghana. I've lost track but often think of him as one of the best Quantity Surveyors I've ever worked with. He had no qualifications at the time but contractors would live in fear of his eagle eye and his negotiation skills. He carried me through those first two years and I owe him a lot. We were working on Peabody and Samuel Lewis conversions which I maintain is one of the best groundings, if you can solve all the problems in a Victorian building and bring it up to modern standards, you've encountered more challenges than if you built a brand new house.
The point of the above is that through my career I've been employing consultants of all sizes and it is my opinion professional people, like any other breed, are good, average or they shouldn't be in practice at all and those divide by almost equal thirds. Just because you've got a qualification does not mean you either have the application or knowledge to be a good surveyor. I've met many people with no qualifications that were superb and people with qualifications that were complete dingbats.
Therefore, how does the customer know who to trust. I suppose many of us in rural practices believe the RICS does not help, in fact, at one function where a Vice President was trying to encourage members to up their fees, one stood up and said, “Is there any chance that the RICS could offer a downgrade path from Fellow to Associate because we don't think we're getting our value”.
Now it is dividing up into specialisms whereas in the past a surveyor was an all rounder, now he not only has to specialise in a topic but has to get another qualification and pay another fee to an institution to hold that qualification. I'm a Registered Valuer, I see many valuers around me that aren't registered and are no doubt doing a perfectly fine job. However, someone in London came up with the idea that we need to register to prove the quality.
The one thing that worries me is that the public are not being sold this and it just provides them with more confusion as to who they should choose. I've got a client at the moment who says, “Well, I've heard what you say on the phone, I've seen your website, now I want to come and see your office to see how it's organised and then we can talk about employing you”. I thank goodness for such perspicacity, there are too many clients who just walk blindly into situations without considering the consequences.