APC competencies: Team working and Data management

Reliable sources

23 May 2018

Ewan Craig, a speaker at RICS’ annual It’s Your APC conference, offers guidance on Team working and Data management – two mandatory competencies for Building Surveying

Team working brings efficiency and improves effectiveness in building surveying projects and groups. Organisations and staff can enhance coordination, giving staff opportunities for specialism and job satisfaction.

Data management in turn enables tasks to be completed and advice to be given across the technical competencies. Examples of their use in the technical competencies include:

  • Building pathology: data management in selecting the BRE publications and British Standards relevant to a defect
  • Conservation and restoration: team working in a multidisciplinary group to conserve the facade of a grade I listed building.

The level

Both competencies are required to Level 1.

Team working
At Level 1, you should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles, behaviour and dynamics of working in a team.

Data management
At Level 1, you should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the sources of information and data, and of the systems applicable to your area of practice, including the methodologies and techniques most appropriate to collect, collate and store data.

These competencies are only required to Level 1 on the Building Surveying pathway, so Level 2 and 3 are not shown in the pathway guide.

You should be familiar with issues relating to Team working and Data management in your submission documents, and be ready to address questions on them and related matters.

Actual questions are based on the candidate’s experience, which should be at Level 1 but may exceed this. Two examples are given below.

Please explain your understanding of team working.
This question is aimed at Level 1 candidates. The answer should explain significant issues, to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.
A team has a common shared aim, such as to design and specify the refurbishment of a building for a client. People in the team carry out tasks to achieve objectives, and together fulfil this aim. These tasks could include developing a concept design, or preparing a detailed, coordinated design between the building surveyor, structural engineer and building services engineer.

The team does not need to be physically together and may work asynchronously, but with clear communication between the relevant parts. The team typically starts as a small contingent of key people, then grows as the project develops and diminishes again towards completion.

While people have differing backgrounds and outlooks, the priority of the common aim engenders a simpatico team. People tend towards a particular position in a team such as coordination or idea generation, and psychometric testing can help them identify their natural role – or determine whether they are better working independently.

I have found that I enjoy team working because I meet people with differing competencies working together towards a common aim. In contrast, failing to form teams through appropriate selection or to promote team working above self-interest can lead to inferior project outcomes and a higher turnover of staff.

Tell me about the sources of information and data you use in practice. With the large amount of data and information available, it is important to focus on using credible, reliable and relevant sources.

I have found that isurv produces helpful guidance on building surveying, and I use this together with best practice examples of reports and guidance from my firm. I also use RICS publications such as guidance notes on a specific service, for example technical due diligence.

The largest resource I use is the Construction Information Service, which contains information on British Standards, Building Research Establishment reports and Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers guides, for instance. When I need costing data, I use BCIS, Spon’s price books, manufacturers’ data, and data held by my practice. When a more in-depth search of sources is required I use the RICS library service, which has access to a wide range of documents and material.


Given the time constraints of the APC, your answer should be brief but comprehensive. Care should be taken to demonstrate your own skills, abilities and knowledge to the assessors.

Ewan Craig is an APC assessor, APC coach and consultant

Further information