We are on a journey….

Original Article
May 13th, 2014


…and to date it has been a pretty incredible journey, but last week we reached a significant milestone, so it seems appropriate to pause and take stock; to review where we have been and to look ahead to where we are going.

But first that milestone.

Just before the May bank holiday weekend we announced our first dates for the June intake for the new Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation. This June intake will be a once only event. It is only for qualified surveyors who already hold the Home Inspector Diploma and who are active (i.e they must have lodged at least three home condition surveys with either SAVA or the BRE Schemes in the last six months).

The June intake will have a maximum of 25 people. This was announced at the RPSA conference in April and members of RPSA were given first refusal on these 25 places. With the announcement of the training dates, those people who indicated that they wish us to hold the place had three working days to confirm whether or not they want to take the place.  This week we will notify everybody else on our database that there are some places remaining. Some candidates have already secured and paid for their place; we imagine when the announcement goes out to all of our members, the remaining places for the June intake will start to fill up. However, as I said earlier, this will only be for active surveyors who already have the Home Inspector Diploma.

Moving forward, we are planning two intakes each year – September and February. There will be a maximum number of learners on each intake (we have not set the final number yet) and if, unfortunately, you miss the boat for one of the intakes, you will have to wait for the next one. This is a different way of working for us, but in fact replicates the sort of system found in a more traditional academic learning environment.

So what about the journey?

Well, it is difficult to determine exactly when it started. Certainly as long ago as 12 to 15 years when I worked at RICS there was talk of the “demographic time-bomb”. Even back then it was difficult to qualify specifically as a residential surveyor. Most people entered the profession by going to university, studying for a vocational degree on a course that had been approved by the RICS, and then by obtaining employment to achieve the practical experience to become a full RICS member. The universities tended to attract candidates who were more interested in commercial property than residential property, and even in that sector there was the added complication that the relevance of the RICS as a professional body was beginning to be questioned. 10 to 15 years before, if you had ambitions to be a chartered surveyor, that was the route to qualifying. By the late 90s, things were beginning to change and the influence of the RICS as a professional body was certainly beginning to be questioned.

Meanwhile, residential surveying – a minority group within RICS – was already showing signs of the problem it is now facing. Because it was difficult to qualify directly as a residential chartered surveyor and because the commercial world held more attractions, the age profile of the residential RICS member was, even then, in the 50s. I remember conversations held in great George Street in the late 1990s about recruiting into residential surveying. Perhaps it was then that the seed of an idea was planted.

Of course, that seed really took germination when the Home Inspector Diploma was created. At last there was a route into residential surveying, albeit a route that the chartered surveyors themselves viewed with great suspicion. What we now know, of course, is that the HI Diploma has created a new generation of very good surveyors. There are many earning a very good living as a result of studying for the HI Diploma and some have even gone on to become fully chartered as members of RICS.

So, you could say it was inevitable that a new route to surveying would grow from that original HI Diploma. Well, perhaps – but it took us here in SAVA to see the potential, to see the opportunity and to seize the moment!

We also needed tenacity and perseverance. The journey has had its ups and downs! And it’s not over. In fact, it has probably only just begun. We are in this for the long haul.