Last week Martin Brühl, the President of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), visited Birmingham City University, meeting staff and students and exploring some of the issues facing the land, property and construction sectors.
In his speech Brühl noted that “rapid urbanisation creates great challenges for infrastructure”, citing research that suggests that by 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, compared to 30 per cent in 1950. He argued that there is a need for more buildings and for these buildings to be affordable, sustainable and more resilient in order to cope with changes in climate.
Brühl also touched on challenges related to recruitment and diversity in the sector, stating that, “we must ensure that the profession is open to all. The delay in ensuring inclusion is holding the industry back.” He pointed out that his predecessor in the presidency, Louise Brooke-Smith of the Birmingham-based planning and development consultancy Brooke Smith Planning, was the first ever female President. That his successor is also a woman is a sign that attitudes are gradually changing.
Brühl is the 134th President of the RICS, having taken on the 12 month post in June this year. Senior Lecturer, Susan Hayhow, who organised the visit, was pleased the students got the chance to meet him and to ask questions about the RICS and the sector as a whole. She explains: “The University has a long association with the RICS and is proud to work alongside them to produce the next generation of highly skilled professional surveyors.
“As a partner university we have three accredited courses at both undergraduate and post graduate level in Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying and Real Estate. Successful completion of these degrees allows graduates to commence the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence and ultimately qualify as Chartered Surveyors. In addition, our HNC Construction course is affiliated to the RICS and graduates can apply for Associate membership of the institution.”
Having discussed his own background in property investment, Brühl finished his speech by urging students to use their time at University to develop their own specific area of interest. He underlined the students’ crucial role at a, “time of great change and opportunity… This is a career of growing importance to society and to the planet.”