Sunil Fernando | Russell Cooray

A delegation from the United Kingdom, representing the prestigious Royal Institutionof Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will be in Sri Lanka for the first time ever, to conduct the selection process for members and fellows to this world renowned international body.
This is considered as a landmark for Sri Lanka as it is the first time that the international body would be conducting a selection process for Sri Lankans, in Sri Lanka, where the panelists would also be Sri Lankans.

This would serve as a much needed boost to Sri Lankan surveyors, especially in the context of several current and future development projects taking place in the country.
The selection process which involves approximately 60 local candidates will be held in Sri Lanka from July 10 to 12.

The delegation will include officials from UK and India.
“We have been fighting for this for almost 10 years to get the process started in Sri Lanka. From now on, the RICS will conduct the process in Sri Lanka,” says Sunil Fernando Vice Chairman of the RICS Sri Lankan Chapter.

Fernando speaking to the Nation said this was a milestone for Sri Lanka to be able to get the selection process started in the country.

“It is the highest professional qualification one could get,” he said.
For years, Quantity Surveyors and Valuation Surveyors of Sri Lanka had to travel to India in order to be members or fellows of the RICS.

Sri Lanka and India competed for the regional centre when the RICS decided to go global. However, India was successful due to the market, Fernando pointed out.
Therefore, Sri Lankans too had to travel to Delhi to take part in the interviews to be members of fellows of the RICS.

Accordingly, that process known as the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) was costly for the local surveyors. “Even the study material is quite expensive. But so far, none of our surveyors have been rejected in the selection processes so far. We have had 100 percent success rate because our surveyors are brilliant and smart,” he added.
Being a member or a fellow of the RICS is the highest that a Quantity Surveyor or a Valuation Surveyor could achieve due to its recognition worldwide and the high standards that it instills on its members.

“In fact, people prefer an RICS member or a fellow any day more than a normal quantity surveyor or valuation surveyor,” says Russell Cooray who is the incumbent Chairperson of the RICS Sri Lankan Chapter told the Nation.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka boasts of some of the best Quantity and Valuation Surveyors. “Unfortunately, most of the QS officers have moved to the Middle East. Actually they are well paid there and I remember at one point some of the Middle Eastern countries advertised for Quantity Surveyors, specifically for Sri Lankans. “This shows the calibre of our surveyors,” Cooray added.

Though there are local institutes in Sri Lanka that provide such qualifications, they are limited to the country. However, the RICS has a much wider reach. “When you are an RICS member or a fellow, the society expects you to conduct yourself in a particular manner,” said Fernando.

The process to obtain membership of the prestigious body not only involves paper qualifications and records of work, but also the conduct and behaviour of an individual.
“You have to follow a code of ethics and standard. How he conducts himself professionally and socially is very important. That is what makes an RICS fellow or a member different from those who are not,” Cooray added. “When I obtained my RICS, I was in the Middle East at the time and my salary increased by three times. That is the international recognition that we are talking about.”

Candidates will have to submit documents pertaining to the cases that they have handled. “They evaluate them and then come here to interview the candidates,” Cooray said.
But that is not all.

“Members of the RICS have to be well behaved. This is because of the calibre of people they have to deal with during their work. They will have to interact with heads of companies, or other organizations. Therefore, they will have to conduct themselves with dignity. That is what RICS wants,” Fernando pointed out.

The interviewing process will be conducted by Sri Lankan panelists and the delegation will function as observers.

The candidates have applied for disciplines including Quantity Surveying, Valuation, Project Management, and Land Surveying (Geometics).

“They will be interviewed mainly on ethics laid out by the RICS,” Fernando said.
Cooray said aspects such as attire, body language, eye-contact, and level of self confidence would be looked at by the panelists during the interview.

At the moment, Sri Lanka could boast of 18 Valuation Surveyors and approximately 25 Quantity Surveyors who are either fellows or members of the RICS.
“Most of QS officers are in the Middle East sadly,” Cooray added.

Pics by Chamila Karunarathne