July 12, 2023 at 12:13 pm #1896AdministrationParticipant
Please find below comments from Tom Littler and Stephen Quirk regarding the tribunal, to which you can respond/ comment on in this thread.
Why I am I not surprised that the increasing corporatisation of residential property survey services would inevitably and eventually throw up a case like this. Volume “sales” at the cost of professional and technical standards.
On reading the judgement, I did not see reference to the RICS Home Survey Standard 1st Edition by either employer or employee surveyor. The claimant would have had a much better case if he had made reference to the mandatory requirements of the RICS HSS, when complaining to his employer about the requirement to undertake 4 Building Surveys (RICS HSS at Level 3) in a single day. The basis of the claimant’s claim for constructive dismissal is there, and it begs the question whether either party were aware of the HSS let alone had read it.
The reported evidence of the defendant employer at paragraph 26 “Quality Standards” shows an apparent disregard or lack of professional awareness of the minimum standards required of all RICS members when particularly undertaking the Level 3 service. My comments are not critical of the use of tablets and survey software such as GoReport (others also available), but the failure to embrace the minimum requirements/ standards of a RICS mandatory Professional Statement. Whilst this Employment Tribunal case may not have been a catalyst for the recent RICS Practice Alert, it is surely
instructive of how serious the current decline in the delivery of minimum professional standards and services in certain parts of the residential survey market is becoming.
The problem is made worse by the low to which RICS itself has sunk over the past few years (Tompkins et al; Levitt, Bichard, etc) and the very latest debacle with the Standards Board. The misconduct of the former Institution’s executives and governance has inevitably led to reputational damage, and the agony is further prolonged by the recent Standards Board schism. The RICS has lost moral authority and trust, certainly of the membership and potentially the public following continuing media interest, and yet at the same time it should rightly be pursuing an investigation by RICS Regulation into the issues thrown up by the Employment Tribunal case. The real issue is
whether the RICS has maintained the right to self-regulate. Based upon recent reported history, it has lost that right, to the potential detriment of its individual members.
RICS should accept external regulation as it has itself tarnished its own reputation and public/ member trust.
….the pressures on an individual surveyor are really strong that’s why I only wanted to last for 13 months at Colleys (Lloyds) and 10 months at Countrywide. Reading through the report I could hear and feel all the non technical managers and accounts people reminding all ” enslaved” surveyors that the business is a treadmill and that output is everything and yes you must follow the RICS standards otherwise you will be punished, demoted and derided!
Thank goodness for the ISVA where we can actually report what we see and treat the clients with honesty and respect. Yes this may cost more!July 12, 2023 at 2:48 pm #1897David Carver FISVAParticipant
Thank you both for your thoughts – what a mess we’re in, as a profession. Stephen, you did well at Countrywide! I lasted a week (and my notice went in on day 2!)July 12, 2023 at 8:01 pm #1898Leslie J Long FISVAParticipant
In my view, the actions of a firm who had no interest in providing decent surveying services, just upping turnover and fee income at great pressure on its surveyor staff, has resulted in its own demise. In all conscience, it should have lead to a complete shut-down of that firm. I can only feel for the poor staff who have lost their jobs and income.
The RICS now only pay lip service to the requirements of the Royal Charter. When the glorious day comes that ISVA becomes a body able to accredit and denote a fully qualified surveyor, besides being presently a very professional organisation of independent firms who value customer service and try to actively deliver that to clients, we can all breath freely and know the property industry has escaped the stifling grip of the RICS.
The Royal Institution is an incompetent and defensive group of inadequate, unqualified managers who can’t even keep its own Standards and Regulation Board (SRB), due to undermining it from a corporate angle, followed by the mass resignation of the SRB a few weeks ago. It’s not in the RICS vested interest to allow the SRB to act independently of the management, it’s embarrassing for the manangement to have its numerous and heinous failings publicised, as of late.
If only the glare of the exposure and public scrutiny might bring a real change in direction, a return to proper standards, and a fairer and balanced regulatory system – we can only hope, before the whole entity collapses and implodes under the weight of its own ridiculous actions.July 12, 2023 at 8:01 pm #1899Neil Bright MISVAParticipant
The expectation to complete 8 x Building Surveys per week is just crazy in my view. 8 per month would have my brain frazzled!! The judgement indicates an allocation of 2.5 hrs to do not only the inspection but also the report – which to me is absurb, irrespective of what software anyone is using. No reflection time, its just churn. I agree with Tom, that its a shame that the RICS HSS were not referred to, and the case hinged on whether the surveyor was entitled to his bonus and expenses. At least RICS has now suspended the firm for 12 months, as an interim measure, which suggests that they are trying, but too little too late? What a mess this sector is in and sad to see.July 13, 2023 at 11:06 am #1900Alan Bailey FISVAParticipant
The legal costs for the unfair dismissal case must have been enormous, completely out of proportion to the sums involved.July 16, 2023 at 9:29 am #1913Robert Longden MISVAParticipant
Fair play to this young man for calling this out.
I resigned from the corporate I contracted with a long time ago for a similar reason, exclusive zero hour contracts was the final straw.
But for me you have to look further up the food chain, the Council of Mortgage Lenders need to share some of the blame here, their members are contracting with these corporate organisations that bash these (call for a further report) generic surveys out and as the job finally finds its way down to the boots on the ground there is nowhere near enough meat left on the bone for the surveyor to spend the time and effort that either the survey and/or valuation requires.
No wonder the RICS has to issue a practice statement then is there!
Get ready for the claims management departments phone calls all you expert witness surveyors!
Its a sad reflection on the society we have become when our youngster are exploited in this manner IMO, no wonder we struggle to attract graduates into the profession, it bad enough asking our new associates to undertake these complex reports in the first place, so I agree with Neil, and for me two of these a week is more than enough, luckily for me our fee scale and my dinosauric social comfort does enables that.
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