Last Updated 10 February 2011, 11:29 IST

This entry-level, non-chartered qualification is a significant addition to RICS operations in India, as until now, only the chartered qualification (MRICS/FRICS) was being offered to senior professionals in the industry. With this, RICS aims to extend professionalism and standards beyond the top tier of chartered professionals.

To begin with, AssocRICS will be offered in the area of property valuation to address the dearth of qualified valuation professionals and the lack of adoption of established standards in the industry. As an entry-level qualification, AssocRICS instantly becomes relevant to thousands of property valuers who may not have formal education in valuation, but have sufficient work experience to demonstrate their competence as per required standards and hence practise as a qualified AssocRICS professional. 

Speaking about the announcement, Sachin Sandhir, MD & Country Head, RICS India said, “Professional valuations are vital to a healthy property market and a stable economy, forming the basis of performance analysis, financing decisions, dispute resolution, taxation and various statutory applications. AssocRICS provides two clear advantages – to the valuer, it offers professional accreditation that speaks of high standards of competence and ethics; and to the industry, it helps in developing a pool of professionals adopting global standards in property valuation and creating a healthy environment.”

Currently, India is estimated to have approximately 20,000 valuers of which only 1,000 have formal education in property valuation. The remaining are qualified civil engineers, architects and planners who have acquired valuation knowledge (background of law, economics, town planning, finance, etc. which are vital for valuation) by way of ‘hands on’ experience, which is not necessarily adequate. Moreover, many of such professionals are providing valuation services, as merely incidental to their services as an engineer or architect.

‘AssocRICS’ or RICS Associate is an entry-level qualification. It provides an opportunity for those with work experience and relevant vocational qualifications to gain recognition of their skills in the land, property and construction sectors. For those wishing to progress to Chartered status, the Associate qualification is a stepping stone to achieving full professional membership (MRICS).

With the availability of AssocRICS certified professionals, employers and clients of valuers (including banks, investors and government) in India will benefit from up-skilled and ethical professionals whose competence assures quality and mitigates risk.

To qualify as an RICS Associate (AssocRICS), valuers in India must successfully complete a common entrance examination including an ethics test and submit a portfolio of work-based evidence online for assessment against RICS standards.

RICS’ chartered qualification (MRICS and FRICS) as well as non chartered qualification (AssocRICS) are recognised by the government since 1975, for the purpose of recruitment to superior posts and services under the Central government in appropriate field. RICS professional qualification is also recognised under the draft ‘Handbook on Policy, Standards and Procedures for Real Estate Valuation’ jointly developed by Indian Banks Association (IBA) and National Housing Bank (NHB). The policy which is yet to be finalised, lays down different criteria for empanelment of valuers and RICS valuation qualification is recognised under the criteria for education, work experience and membership of professional bodies. 

According to Firdose A Vandrevala FRICS, CMD, HIRCO Developments Pvt Ltd, “In the absence of specialised education, a RICS Associate qualification is a stamp of competency and credibility, over and above the experience in real estate.” “Whilst the real estate industry in the country is maturing and expanding rapidly, it remains largely unsupported by specialised education at secondary or tertiary levels. For those therefore who wish to pursue Real Estate as a profession or a career, an Associate RICS qualification is an excellent starting point.”

Adds Anurag Mathur FRICS, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, “As a preliminary step into the heady world of real estate it is important for a practitioner to go through structured training and gain exposure to global standards and practices to distinguish oneself as a professional. I believe AssocRICS is the ideal platform for undertaking this journey.”

Balaji Rao FRICS, Founder, Indic Capital Advisors & Managing Partner, Indic Hospitality Fund says, “As a preliminary step into the heady world of Real Estate it is important for a practitioner to go through structured training and gain exposure to global standards and practices to distinguish oneself as a professional. I believe AssocRICS is the ideal platform for undertaking this journey.”

(Published 10 February 2011, 11:26 IST)

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