APC competencies: outcomes of review

Keeping competencies current

10 May 2017

Chris Lindsay discusses progress on implementing the outcomes of RICS’ pathways and competencies review

The RICS pathways and competencies framework defines the knowledge, skills, experience and level of competence that are required to become a chartered surveyor. The framework was launched in 2006, and we currently offer 20 pathways, including Building Control.

Each of these pathways combines core and optional competencies across 3 defined levels:

  • Level 1: Knowledge and understanding
  • Level 2: Application of knowledge and understanding
  • Level 3: Reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge.

These are in addition to mandatory competencies – the personal, interpersonal, professional practice and business skills common to all pathways that every candidate must demonstrate (see Table 1). Candidates for the Building Control pathway must demonstrate how they have provided guidance and advice on how to achieve building standards, such as creating an inclusive work environment and addressing climate change through energy conservation.

shows table 1

Table 1


RICS conducted a long-term review of the framework, to ensure that it is globally relevant and represents contemporary practice, and proposed the following outcomes based on its findings.

  • In recognition of the broad nature of the profession and the robust nature of the framework, the existing 20 pathways will be retained, subject to a review of the content of each. 
  • New competencies for emerging areas are being created, and duplication and overlap in existing competencies will be removed.
  • Pathways should offer greater choice for candidates. This can be achieved by expanding an existing principle in the Building Control pathway that allows candidates to select a limited number of competencies from the full technical list.
  • Although there is no standard model, the number and the level of competencies between pathways should be broadly consistent.
  • Each competency statement will be further refined.
  • Three new pathways will be considered for the broader areas of the Built Environment, Land and Resources, and Real Estate.


We consulted widely on these proposals for 10 weeks from August to October last year through RICS’ online iConsult platform. Respondents were asked to review a range of documents, including the exposure draft of the new requirements and competencies guide.

This draft included a descriptor for each competency. These were intended to be fairly broad; more detailed information about the context and Level 1, 2 and 3 examples for each area of practice will be included in the individual pathway guides, which are to be developed separately.

We received a total of 172 responses through the iConsult questionnaire, the second highest number of responses to an RICS consultation in 2016. Some of these responses were collective, for example coming from employers rather than individuals.

All views have been taken into account, although only the iConsult responses appear in the quantitative analysis contained in the final feedback report.

Core competencies

While consultation feedback on the Building Control pathway was limited, 2 proposed changes to core competencies did not receive support: specifically, removing the Building control inspections competency and including its content and scope in the Inspection competency; and removing Fire safety and including its content and scope in Health and safety.

Neither proposal will be taken forward, and Building control inspections and Fire safety will both be retained as separate core competencies.

Feedback also suggested that the Environmental audit (and monitoring) competency, as currently written, is no longer as relevant to the role of building control surveyor and some candidates find it difficult to achieve Level 3. This will be addressed as part of the next phase of the project, described below.

Optional competencies

Changes were also proposed to optional Building Control pathway competencies.

  • The Planning competency should be split into 2 competencies: Planning and development management, and Planning policy and infrastructure development. The Analysis of client requirements competency should be included in an updated Client care competency, which will be mandatory to Level 2. Building Control candidates could also select it as an optional competency to Level 3.
  • Measurement of land and property should be renamed simply Measurement.
  • The Property records/information systems competency should be included in an updated Data management competency, and be mandatory to Level 1. Building Control candidates would have the choice of selecting it as an optional competency to Level 2 or 3.

Proposed changes to the mandatory competencies, as outlined in the feedback report, were also well supported, and will be taken forward to the next stage of the review.

Summary of actions

Based on the feedback we have received across all pathways, we will move forward with the project’s next phase, which is to look at the development of the individual pathway guides. There will then be a second stage consultation on that basis.

The exposure draft of the requirements and competencies guide and the proposed competency matrix will be updated to reflect the feedback received through the consultation period. Both documents will be reissued for further consultation alongside the updated pathway guides later this year.

Pathway guides will be developed for the new pathways of Land and Resources, and Real Estate; the latter will focus on corporate real estate. Further consideration and research is required for the Built Environment pathway.


Any changes relating to our qualifications are made in January and July each year. The initial date for implementing the outcomes of the review was July 2017; some minor changes may be included as part of the membership release update this July, but most of the changes will now take place in 2018.

Transitional arrangements will be made for all candidates who are already enrolled on the APC.

Chris Lindsay is RICS Global Education and Qualification Standards Manager

Further information