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Surveyor slams RICS over ‘opaque and confusing’ Assoc application process

Atif Hussain, who has worked in the industry for 20 years, says he is now caught between a 'rock and hard place' and unable to progress his career.

Nigel Lewis

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A surveyor with 20 years’ experience who was rejected for Associated membership of RICS has criticised the organisation’s appeals process as opaque, confusing and bureaucratic, and that it discriminates against surveyors who cannot ‘box tick’ the applications process.

“The competencies are meant to be directly about the candidate’s experience, so it is almost impossible to comply with all their required expected experiences within the vast industry, says Atif Hussain.

“I have two decades under my belt so very surprised to see graduates ascertaining accreditation who have barely worked two years”.

Birmingham-based Hussain works for a major national estate agency and has been working in the construction industry since 2002 initially as an architectural technician, going on to manage large developments working for major housing developers and consultancies across the country.

Hussain claims the RICS process makes it extremely difficult for property professionals who already undertake surveying work in a professional capacity to gain Associate membership of the organisation and progress their career.

His specific complaints are that the assessment feedback from assessors contradicts the Building Surveying examples (from previous candidates) published by RICS on its website.

Candidates are meant to rely on these as a source of guidance.

Hussain is seeking to gain Associate membership via the Building Surveying and Construction pathway, one of 13 such routes that those already working within the property industry can use to gain that membership level.

He began his application journey in February last year but says at each rejection he has not been told clearly why he did not reach the attained level of competency proof, and that his concerns about the process were not addressed.

In October Hussain reluctantly appealed as he was following due process but was not confident with the in-house appeals process and received an appeals rejection ‘without reasonable justification’ for the outcome.


He says he’s frustrated by the fact that RICS has not answered his questions put forward in the appeals application and suggests the assessors did not read the assessment thoroughly enough and that the RICS bureaucracy is clunky and opaque, and that applicant support is not sufficient.

A qualified RICS assessor to date has not communicated with him to address the concerns raised in his appeals application.

“I am now stuck between a rock and a hard place as I cannot pursue my career as a senior surveyor,” he says.

“As RICS are offended by being challenged, they are now looking to remove me from RICS altogether and have not yet made communication to justify their reasoning.”

RICS response

The institute says assessments are undertaken by candidates using an established process set by the RICS. It also says that “all due process has been followed in relation to this case and, after hearing the appeals made by the candidate, we stand by the outcome”.

Read more about RICS.

March 1, 2022

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