The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published this professional statement, which is supplemental to the RICS Valuation – Professional Standards (the Red Book). It provides specific guidance and professional standards to members who advise clients in relation to compulsory purchase and statutory compensation.
The statement includes mandatory professional behaviour and competence that is expected of members carrying out compulsory purchase work. The mandatory standards are:
- Application and principal message – surveyors must keep up to date with law and guidance and ensure that they are able to discharge their instructed duties to the RICS required standard. They must also be aware of changes in responsibility, for example if called to be an expert witness, and how this may affect their responsibilities to the client. Where judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings seem likely, the surveyor must comply with the RICS statement for expert witnesses and advise the client in writing that this is the case.
- Duty in providing evidence – the surveyor must provide sufficient evidence advising on compensation and notify the client when any inaccuracy or changes occur. They must also remain professional at all times and not be influenced by other parties.
- Acceptance of, and changes to instructions – instructions should not be accepted unless a surveyor is confident that they have the requisite competence and resources to carry out the work to the RICS required standard. Confirmation of instructions must be in writing, confirming terms of engagement and ensuring no conflict of interest. All changes must be recorded.
- Inspection – inspections must produce professional competent advice and a record of the size, configuration, relevant features and condition of the property, which is representative of the circumstance at the compensation value date.
- Reports – consideration must be given to all matters material to the instruction.
- Fees – fees must be reasonable in relation to the complexity of the claim and all fees, arrangements for payments and subsequent changes must be agreed with the client in writing. Prior to any work being carried out, clients must be aware that they bear ultimate liability for agreed fees. If these are not borne by the acquiring authority, the client will be liable.
The statement also includes guidance and best practice on: bases for calculating fees that form part of the claim, recording time and disputes.
These standards need to be adopted by all RICS surveyors undertaking compulsory purchase work. While some of the standards will be no more than is expected of a competent surveyor in any event, the area is complex and many surveyors advising landowners who may not practice CPO on a daily basis may find it difficult to keep up to date with the law and guidance. There is a shortfall in expert CPO surveyors so it will take some time for the industry to train a sufficient number of surveyors to deal with CPOs that the government has been encouraging through the recent housing white paper and infrastructure policies.