RICS Scotland

Search to find Scotland’s standout community property projects

The Caithness-Moray Electricity Network Reinforcement project

The search is on to find Scotland’s standout built projects which are having a significant positive impact on their local communities following the opening of entries for the RICS Awards 2019, Scotland.

The annual RICS Awards celebrate the country’s top property projects which provide real value to the communities they serve, making them a better place to live, study, work or visit. The eight categories include Building Conservation, Residential, Commercial property and Infrastructure, and there’s an overall esteemed Project of the Year title, awarded to the development that demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

Caithness-Moray electricity network reinforcement took the overall, esteemed Project of the Year title at year’s RICS Awards, Scotland and it will now compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on 2 November in London for the chance to be crowned the 2018 UK Project of the Year.

Each category award winner is also automatically entered into the national RICS Awards Grand Final to compete against other regional winners for a chance to gain the national accolade in their respective category.

Category winners from the RICS Awards 2018, Scotland – which will now compete for national awards in November:

  • Building Conservation – St. Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh
  • Commercial– Scottish Power House, Glasgow
  • Community Benefit– Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, Dunfermline
  • Design through Innovation– Appleton Tower, Edinburgh
  • Infrastructure– Caithness-Moray Electricity Network Reinforcement
  • Regeneration– Marischal Square, Aberdeen
  • Residential– Countesswells, Aberdeen
  • Tourism & Leisure– Falls of Shin, Lairg

RICS regional director Scotland, Gail Hunter, said: “The properties we live in, and the buildings we visit or work and study in, can have a real impact on our wellbeing and output or productivity, and that’s what stands the RICS Awards out as they celebrate the built projects – regardless of budget or size – that are making a real difference to people’s lives.

“Scotland boasts some of the very best skilled property professionals, and these awards also celebrate the collaboration of talented professionals and the teams that have delivered world-class built developments that are not only having a positive impact on their local communities, but often the wider economy by attracting visitors and investment to Scotland.”

The RICS Awards 2019, Scotland are now open to enter until 25 January 2019. For more information and to nominate a project visit www.rics.org/awards.

RICS Matrics Edinburgh Annual Dinner

RICS Matrics Edinburgh & South committee look forward to welcoming guests to this year’s annual dinner which is being held at The Principal Edinburgh George Street on September 27.

The evening promises to be a lively and entertaining night and is the ideal opportunity to socialise with industry professionals and guests from across Edinburgh. There will be high quality entertainment and all proceeds will go to the RICS charity LandAid.

Gail Hunter, RICS regional director – Scotland, said: “RICS and our Professional members have undertaken a number of initiatives to raise funds for Pledge 150, from coffee mornings to monthly auctions on our website. We welcome the support from RICS Matrics in Scotland and this event looks set to once again be a great night, while raising funds for a very worthy cause. The money raised for Pledge150 will help go towards our target of 150 bed spaces in 2018 for young people at risk of homelessness – 12 of which will be in Scotland.”

Kenny Telfer is the director of Torridon CPM, a chartered quantity surveying and project management firm, and is the chair of RICS Matrics Scotland. Kenny also sits on the RICS Matrics UK Board.

He said: “As chair of RICS Matrics Scotland this year, I’m focussing on what Matrics can do for those Qualified RICS Members in the first ten years of their career. Networking is one of those areas in which senior and associate surveyors can really start to add value to their business. It is with this in mind I’m pleased to announce that ticket sales are live for our annual RICS Matrics Edinburgh charity dinner.”

Find out more and book your table.

RICS President: The time is now to future proof Scotland’s built environment

John Hughes

RICS President John Hughes FRICS will today address RICS professionals to celebrate the positive impact the profession has had on Scottish society over the last 150 years and discuss how members can continue to add value to the global built environment.

The visit, which coincided with the RICS UK & Ireland World Regional Board meeting in Edinburgh, kicked off the President’s tour of the UK throughout September and October.

Ian Fergusson, chairman of RICS in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to welcome John Hughes as he starts his Presidential Tour of the UK. This event brings to the forefront the many challenges the profession faces as working practices and society progresses. As we celebrate 150 years of RICS, it is important that we strive to attract new, diverse talent while frequently reviewing how we fit our traditional professional service values into a rapidly evolving new world. In doing this we help ensure continued confidence, ethics, professional integrity and client and consumer trust in our professional advice.”

Each of the President’s visits to RICS offices across the UK will also provide a part of the fact-finding Future of the Profession research which will help the organisation understand how these challenges are reshaping firms, services and professional practices, and how the profession is adapting to new technologies.

RICS President, John Hughes FRICS, said: “Technological advances in AI, big data computing and blockchain are set to radically change the way we develop land and manage property in our cities. These innovations are disrupting long established business models and have already encouraged a variety of tech firms into the property industry, such Google’s smart city development in Toronto and Airbnb’s growing global dominance over the hospitality industry.

“Thanks to climate change, around the world our cities are becoming much hotter, wetter and wilder places. The uncharacteristically warm ‘taps aff’ temperature which many Scots enjoyed this summer is likely to repeat itself in the coming years. But a long-term heat increase could have severe implications for existing infrastructure in Scottish cities, typically designed for cooler weather.

“Surveyors work right across the life-cycle of the built environment; developing land, constructing buildings, managing properties, and planning the supporting infrastructure. But these new forces are reshaping how we use the built environment, requiring a dynamic response from Chartered Surveyors, as well as clients, policy makers, the Scottish Government and regulators.”

West Highland Way Warriors prepare to put best foot forward for LandAid

A team of industry professionals are joining RICS Scotland next week as they walk 154km from Milngavie to Fort William along the world famous West Highland Way.

The ‘West Highland Way Warriors’ will undertake the challenge over just five days as they raise money for property industry charity LandAid which works to end youth homelessness in the UK.

Part of the RICS Pledge150 campaign, which aims to raise money to deliver 150 bed spaces across the UK by December 2018, the funds raised will go directly to a building project in Glenrothes which will support young people into new homes and give them the tools they need to realise a brighter future.

The grant will help fund YMCA Glenrothes’ renovation of an empty three-bed terraced house or flat to create three new bed spaces for young people to move on to from the charity’s fully supported hostel. The young tenants will receive support from an individual case worker to help them achieve a successful future. The charity also plans to provide training and volunteering opportunities for local unemployed people during the building work.

The RICS Pledge150 campaign will also benefit other building projects across the UK including initiatives being set up in Paisley and Edinburgh. New sites are also being identified in North East Scotland.

The team of Warriors who begin their trek on Wednesday 5th September includes:

  • Claire Hall, regional services manager – Scotland at RICS
  • Melissa Crolla, venue and facilities coordinator at RICS
  • Wilson Smith, head of document exchange (North) at DX Group
  • Mike Liddell, global director positioning & construction support at Fugro
  • Ricky Cheng, property surveyor at Highland Council’s property and architectural services
  • Kyle Houston, estates surveyor for the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
  • Gabriela Mason, quantity surveyor at Robinson Low Francis LLP
  • Kieran Findlay, editor at Scottish Construction Now and Scottish Housing News

They are being supported by Richard Burnett from The Property Management Company.

Mike Liddell said: “I am really looking forward to the personal challenge of spending five days hiking 154 km through the heart of Scotland. However there are a number of young people across the UK who face greater challenges in their daily lives, LandAid can make a difference to them. The generous sponsorship and support we have received will motivate me along this hike.”

Kieran Findlay said: “Walking the West Highland Way has long been on my bucket list so to do it while raising money for such a fantastic cause will be even more fulfilling. Every penny counts so please give what you can.”

Paul Morrish, chief executive at LandAid, added: “I was both incredibly pleased and incredibly impressed to hear that Kieran Findlay will be undertaking such a momentous walk all in the name of supporting the Pledge150 campaign. Walking 154km in five days is no mean feat, especially considering the punishing military roads on the West Highland Way.

“Pledge150 is LandAid’s biggest ever fundraising initiative and will provide at least 150 safe, secure and affordable bed spaces for young people experiencing homelessness across every one of the 12 RICS regions. Here in Scotland, the money raised by Kieran and his fellow walkers will help fund YMCA Glenrothes to create three extra move-on beds for young people leaving their fully supported accommodation.

“Providing vital support for vulnerable young people in the local area. I’d like to wish Kieran and his fellow walkers the very best of luck, and extend my deepest gratitude for every step he takes on his walk to help end youth homelessness – thank you!”

To contribute to the team’s fundraising efforts please click here.

For more information on LandAid click here.

RICS joins Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park to help fight youth homelessness in Scotland

RICS, as part of its Pledge 150 campaign, has joined forces with Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park to help reduce homelessness among young people in Scotland.

Corporate teams and RICS members can now take part in any of the Sleep in the Park events, across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen with 50% of their fundraising efforts going to LandAid. As part of RICS Pledge 150 initiative, launched in January 2018 to celebrate their 150th anniversary, RICS in Scotland has raised thousands of pounds for LandAid.

The funds will help to deliver 150 bed spaces for vulnerable, young and homeless people across all 12 UK regions by December 2018. Twelve of these bed spaces will be situated in Scotland and delivered by charity partners.

The funds raised by RICS in Scotland through the Sleep in the Park, and events across the country, will be divided between two Scottish charity partners, the first partner announced is YMCA Glenrothes. The money will help the renovation of an empty three-bed terraced house or flat, to create three new bed spaces for young people to move on to from the charity’s fully supported hostel. The young tenants will receive support from an individual case worker to help them achieve a successful future. The charity also plans to provide training and volunteering opportunities for local unemployed people during the building work.

Gail Hunter, regional director RICS, Scotland, said: “We are delighted to join with Social Bite on what has become a renowned event, raising money and awareness for homelessness across Scotland. RICS and our members have undertaken a number of initiatives to raise funds for Pledge 150, and it is great to see the tangible benefits made possible by the work of our members and generous donations made.”

Upcoming Pledge 150 activities will also see RICS professionals and supporters trekking the famous West Highland Way in September and the opportunity to purchase one of the 66 bottles of exclusive RICS 150 whisky.

Chance to sponsor editor as he walks the West Highland Way for LandAid

Scottish Construction Now editor Kieran Findlay will join a team from RICS Scotland as they walk 154km from Milngavie to Fort William along the world famous West Highland Way to raise money for charity LandAid.

LandAid is the property industry charity which works to end youth homelessness in the UK.

The funds raised will go directly to building projects in Paisley, Glenrothes and Edinburgh, with new sites being identified in North East Scotland.

Kieran said: “Walking the West Highland Way has long been on my bucket list so to do it while raising money for such a fantastic cause will be even more fulfilling. Every penny counts so please give what you can.”

To contribute to the team’s fundraising efforts please click here and use ‘Scottish Construction Now’ as a reference if donating.

Scottish construction market ‘flat’ but longer-term outlook ‘remains positive’

Financial constraints have been reported to be the most significant impediment to building activity as construction workloads slowed in Scotland over the last quarter, a new survey has found.

According to the results of the Q2 2018 RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey, 7% more chartered surveyors in Scotland reported that their workloads had risen rather than fallen over the period. This figure was moderated from a net balance of 11% in Q1.

Around 80% of respondents in the UK noted that financial constraints were a limiting factor to building activity – the joint highest reading in five years. Respondents have often cited financial constraints to be causing difficulties in recent reports, and more specifically access to bank finance and credit, cash flow and liquidity challenges or less favourable cyclical market conditions.

Alongside financial constraints, planning delays and restrictive regulations have also been cited as continuing to limit activity. Although labour shortages continue to be referenced as a factor impeding growth, the number of respondents citing this as the most prominent factor has dropped.

The RICS quarterly series indicated growth eased across nearly all sectors in Q2, with infrastructure and public non-housing observing the sharpest slowdown in Scotland. Private house building workloads remained positive during Q2 2018, with a net balance of 17% more respondents reporting an increase in activity. Additionally, private commercial activity turned positive, although at a steady pace, with a net balance of 5% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase in workloads across the sector.

Moving to industrial workloads – contributors reported a flat reading, which depicts activity in the sector since the beginning of 2018.

Despite the uncertain outlook for the economy, 39% more respondents expect activity to rise in the Scottish construction market rather than fall in the next 12 months. Alongside this a net balance of 30% foresee an increase in hiring throughout the sector in the next year.

Although tender price expectations over the next twelve months moderated in Q2, +54% and +48% more respondents continue to envisage greater price pressures in the building and civil engineering areas, respectively. The expected rise in tender prices may signal rising input costs and shrinking profit margins for businesses. Indeed, expectations on profit margins eased from a net balance of +15% to +5% in the latest results.

Jeffrey Matsu, RICS senior economist, said: “Although growth in the sector has moderated, ongoing capacity constraints have ensured a steady pipeline of work with robust expectations for the year ahead. With businesses continuing to hire to meet this pent-up demand, the effects of any uncertainty generated by Brexit or recent market events, including Carillion, may only become more evident in the longer-term.”

Yesterday a survey by the Federation of Master Builders Scotland revealed that Scotland’s small and medium-sized construction firms enjoyed strong growth in the second quarter of 2018 despite the continuing skills shortage and a rise in material costs.

RICS offers ‘significant opportunity’ for Scotland to gain competitive advantage in attracting inward investors

Efforts to attract private inward investment to Scotland’s infrastructure sector could be given a significant boost through the adoption of new global construction standards, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RICS states that adopting International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) would make the country more attractive to international investors – providing greater transparency, consistency and certainty for them.

The RICS Construction Market survey has reported almost consistent growth in infrastructure workloads during the last four years in Scotland. Additionally, Ernst & Young’s 2018 Scotland Attractiveness Survey highlighted a 7% increase in the number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Scotland, solidifying its reputation as the most attractive FDI destination in the UK after London. Therefore, the need for more accurate reporting of costs in construction and infrastructure projects is critical not only in terms of attracting investors, but also for assessing the economic viability of projects and maximising their impact.

Gail Hunter, director RICS in Scotland, said: “At present, there is a lack of uniformity in how construction projects and costs are measured and reported around the world, which can provide risks for investors. Widespread adoption of ICMS in the construction market here could provide Scotland with a real competitive advantage and signal to potential investors that this is a market that they should be active in.

“ICMS provides global consistency in reporting; the kind of consistency that inward investors increasingly demand, and government projects need. Our message is very clear to the Scottish Government, the construction sector and other stakeholders that widespread adoption of ICMS provides the opportunity for significant competitive advantage.”

International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) is a high-level international standard that aims to provide greater global consistency in the classification, definition, measurement, analysis and presentation of construction costs at a project, regional, state or national/ international level.

Malcolm Horner, emeritus professor of engineering management, University of Dundee and chairman of Whole Life Consultants Ltd, said: “The benefits of sharing useful, robust and consistent data are widely recognised, both to provide benchmarks and improve the quality of estimating and cost prediction.

“Data sharing would be helpful to governments and other organisations who need to demonstrate value for money. It would allow the efficiencies of different organisations to be compared and inefficiencies to be identified and targeted. It would also allow clients and consultants, particularly smaller ones, to better determine what a project should cost, what it will cost and what it did cost.”

The standard has been written by a group of independent industry leaders. The International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition (ICMSC) is a growing group of more than 40 professional and not-for-profit organisations from around the world, working together to develop and implement international standards for benchmarking, measuring and reporting construction project cost.

Home Reports ‘continue to prove their worth’ in Scotland

As the Home Report prepares to turn ten years old this year, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has argued that there is no doubt that it has found its place in the complex world of property transactions.

Introduced in Scotland amid a welter of controversy on December 1, 2008, the Home Report radically altered the process of buying and selling houses in Scotland by introducing a single survey with a valuation, a property questionnaire completed by the seller and an energy performance certificate.

After initial misgivings, the RICS said the new system has been embraced by the mainstream of the surveying profession and many selling agents, who now accept that Home Reports are working better than ever anticipated, allowing both buyers and sellers to make informed decisions.

Crucially, the RICS added, the Reports have brought an “unprecedented degree of clarity” to the marketplace on opinions of property value. Everyone is now working to similar parameters and, as a result, there is greater stability in the pricing structure and less price inflation.

This is due largely to the fact that the opinion on value is given by a chartered surveyor, an independent and heavily-audited property professional with no vested interest in the process, RICS said. His, or her, impartiality removes a lot of the emotion from the purchase or sale, it added.

However, Eric Curran, managing partner at DM Hall, warned that while property professionals are working well with Home Reports, there are still several misconceptions about them among the general public.

He said: “While property experts are working with Home Reports all the time and appreciate just how much of an asset they are in the marketplace, buyers and sellers are not so familiar with them and can still have unfounded concerns about them.”

For Mr Curran, the misconceptions include the impression that valuations for one house should be the same as other houses in the street and that any surveyor registered with RICS can provide a Home Report.

He said: “This ignores that every property is unique and that the number of factors affecting valuation is great – such as location, size, style, condition and enhancements.”

On the second misconception the surveyor added: “This does not take into account the world of difference between providers. Sellers should confirm that the surveyor they instruct is on Lenders’ panels; that he or she is aware of local market conditions; and that he or she is fully independent.”

Other misconceptions, according to Mr Curran, include that home Reports are weighted towards sellers’ interests since they are paying for it and are also required to be replaced every three months.

Mr Curran said: “Chartered Surveyors are independent for a reason. They provide unbiased and reliable reports so that everyone involved in the process can rely on the conclusion. The surveyors risk and liability continues long after the sales transaction therefore they have to be independent.

“Only if a Home Report is more than three months old will a lender and/or purchaser need an up-to-date valuation at the point of sale.”

Mr Curran added that a high valuation does not mean a high selling price.

“The valuation has to be realistic,” he said. “That is why professional surveyors are used. If the valuation is too high, the sale process will be prolonged with attendant costs and frustrations. Blight can also adversely affect property value if marketing is prolonged.”

Mr Curran said: “By and large, Home Reports have achieved the effect on the market that was intended. The legislation hoped to achieve three things: an end to multiple surveys; an end to the market-distorting practice of low asking prices; and a general improvement in the housing stock.

“Surveyors have helped to make the process successful since they are demonstrably independent of other potentially vested interests in the house selling/buying process.

“Buying a house is the biggest transaction most people will make in their lives. It is important that they have faith and trust in the procedures and Home Reports have gone a long way towards creating just that environment.”

Experts to discuss ‘Building the Future Together’ at Aberdeen construction and property conference

Michelle Forth, director at Safety Scotland and chair of the conference committee

Aberdeen is set to host a brand new construction and property conference, Build It, which will take place at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on November 30.

The conference and exhibition is being organised by local creative marketing agency, Mearns & Gill, in partnership with the Aberdeen Association of Construction Professionals, Aberdeen Association of Civil Engineers, Aberdeen Society of Architects, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Women in Property.

The one day event, entitled ‘Building the Future Together’, will bring together 14 speakers from right across the industry, to directly address some of the challenges currently being faced, along with providing a platform to share educational and inspiring case studies and projects.

The exhibition will offer companies the chance to showcase their innovative products and solutions, falling within a range of key themes that include ‘Addressing the Skills Gap’, ‘Importance of Innovation’ and ‘Mediation in Construction’.

Mike Wilson, managing director, Mearns & Gill, said: “We are proud to be part of Aberdeen’s first construction and property conference, and are delighted that the event has already received so much support. As a result of our work on the Trades Awards, an annual ceremony to reward excellence within the North-east construction industry, we are well aware of the outstanding, innovative work that is being done in the area. This new conference will give professionals a chance to share their expertise and lessons learned to the benefit of the wider industry.”

Michelle Forth, director at Safety Scotland and conference committee chair, added: “It is an exciting time to be part of the North-east construction industry, with so many important projects about to come to completion, and many more about to start. However, as an industry we must get better at sharing our successes, along with our lessons learned and innovative techniques, many of which are as a result of these projects. The aim of this inaugural conference is to bring together industry experts who are happy to share their case studies, and create an inspiring and thought-provoking day of learning and professional development.”

The conference committee are putting together the programme for the inaugural event, and if you would like to be considered for one of the 14 speaking slots, please contact Isla Stewart on isla.stewart@mearns-gill.com.

The deadline for registering your interest is August 31.