APC pathways and competencies: forthcoming changes in 2018

Pathways to professionalism

7 March 2018

Chris Lindsay updates readers on forthcoming changes to RICS pathways and competencies

One main message from the first round of consultation on the RICS pathways and competencies review (see Property journal October/November 2017, p.10) was the desire to have the proposed changes made to the individual pathway guides, that is, the detailed documents that set out the requirements for particular areas of practice.

Working groups were formed for each area, comprising representatives from RICS professional groups and employers, to draft the new guides, which were then presented as part of a 2-month second-stage consultation last autumn. The consultation included:

  • 21 individual pathway guides; these were working documents for the consultation and not reflective of the final branded versions
  • draft of the new mandatory competencies, with expanded descriptors and examples
  • summary of the proposed changes
  • matrix of proposed competencies
  • pathway
  • updated FAQs.

The consultation asked for views on 4 key statements.

  • 'The competencies for your selected pathway(s) reflect practice in your country': 93% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed.
  • 'The competencies for your selected pathway(s) reflect the competencies required at the point of qualification': 92% either agreed or strongly agreed.
  • 'Non-technical skills and competencies are appropriately set out in the mandatory requirements': 97% either agreed or strongly agreed.
  • 'The pathways and competencies requirements provide an effective basis for assessing the competencies needed to be a chartered surveyor. The competency descriptors are clear and unambiguous': 90% either agreed or strongly agreed.

Property cluster

After extensive industry review, we are adding a new pathway to the Property cluster, entitled Corporate Real Estate, which is currently a specialist area under Commercial Property. The Corporate real estate management competency has been replaced with 4 that sit in the new pathway:

  • Business alignment
  • Business case
  • Performance management
  • Workspace management.

There have also been substantial changes to the competency structure for the Facilities Management, Management Consultancy and Residential pathways.

There is more flexibility for candidates as well, with 90% of pathways in the new framework – including all in the Property cluster – letting candidates choose at least 1 competency from the entire list, up from 55% in the current model.

New property technology competencies have also been developed: Big data, Open data and Smart cities and intelligent buildings are included. Existing technology competencies such as Data management and Construction technology and environmental services have also been reviewed and updated.

Mandatory competencies

The mandatory competencies are the professional practice, interpersonal, business and management skills that are considered common to, and necessary for, all RICS professionals.

There is more flexibility for candidates

Proposed changes here were overwhelmingly supported and will be introduced as part of the new framework. These include a new competency, Inclusive environments, that will be mandatory to Level 1 for all candidates. This is about the principles and processes that enable accessible and inclusive environments, recognising the diversity of users’ needs and the requirement to put people of all ages and abilities at the heart of the process.

There will also be greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion topics, new detailed descriptors for each mandatory competency in the requirements and competencies guide, and removal of duplications and overlaps with the technical competencies.


The new framework will be implemented this year; the precise date is to be confirmed at the time of writing, but transitional arrangements will be in place for candidates to come forward for assessment under the current version. The latest information, including a full overview of the changes and transitional guidance has been online since 19 February.

Assessment Resource Centre

Any changes to the framework need to be reflected in the Assessment Resource Centre (ARC), the tool that streamlines the process by allowing candidates to manage all their training, CPD and selected competency records online. User guides and instructional videos for the ARC are available on the RICS website.

The ARC is also where counsellors can support candidates through each stage of the final assessment and, when required, sign off competencies and the candidates’ summaries of experience. All new enrolments in English from 31 January 2017 and all final assessments taken in English since 31 July 2017 have had to use the ARC.

If you have any questions or comments about the review, please do contact us.

Chris Lindsay is Global Education and Qualification Standards Manager

Further information