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New RICS boss aims to heal rift with QSs

16 April 2010

Sean Tompkins, the incoming new chief executive of the RICS, has vowed to heal the rift between the institution and its discontented QS members, Building reported.

Tompkins, whose appointment was announced on Tuesday, replaces Louis Armstrong in the full-time post in August. It carries a reported salary of £406 000.

The appointment follows difficulties between the RICS and its QS members after the organisation threatened to leave the Construction Industry Council (CIC) last year.

Tompkins said he would meet the heads of the largest QS firms in the coming months and work with the QS and Construction Professional Group within the RICS to promote the QS profession globally.

The new chief executive also said that the institution aims to consolidate its presence in China and India, and expand into Russia and Brazil.

“We will focus on creating a long-term plan to develop the QS profession throughout the world, rather than spending time on the things we don’t agree on. The most important issue for QSs is that their profession is recognised as the global standard,” he said.

He added that he favoured keeping the RICS within the CIC “in the immediate future”. But he warned that the RICS would stay for the long term only if the council reduces bureaucracy and ensures that the views of surveyors were heard within it.

“We are committed to working with the CIC but we must make sure it modernises and that we get value for the money we pay.”

The RICS said in November that it intended to leave the CIC, because it would be better able to influence government policy as a standalone body. The news prompted a group of QS firms to threaten to leave the RICS and set up their own body. However, last month the institution announced it would remain within the CIC.

Tompkins also pledged to end a second row rumbling within the RICS, over whether the body is run by its members or by its paid officials.

Tompkins said: “I want to end this ‘them and us’ debate and turn the institution into a partnership between staff and members.”

He added that he did not expect RICS membership fees to rise by more than inflation for several years. 

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