RICS London13 March, 2017
The centre of the professional universe for Building surveyors in London
Are you considering property surveyors in London? If so, you really should be considering surveyors that are Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited.
The property that you’re thinking of buying may be your first property purchase. It may be a lowly studio flat in the East End. Or it could be the latest in a long line of property investments – a sprawling townhouse in Chiswick or Kew, or a Cheyne Walk mansion. Whatever property your heart’s set on, and wherever it is in London, RICS-accredited surveyors makes sure you access the standards and guidance of the world’s leading professional body for surveyors – the RICS in London.
RICS London – in the heart of our capital city
The RICS headquarters is located in the very heart of our capital city. It’s on Parliament Square, roughly equidistant between the eastern end of St James’s Park and Big Ben, located opposite the Imperial War Museum and a couple of blocks from Westminster Abbey. How fitting that your London chartered surveyor is part of an revered organisation based ‘just down’ the road. It’s actually still in the same place as when a group of London surveyors formed the original society in the nineteenth century!
It’s also fitting for such an important organisation in the world of property that RICS London is housed in a historically significant Grade II listed building. The home of the RICS was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, arguably one of Britain’s finest architects. And it was purpose built-for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Alfred Waterhouse – architect of the RICS headquarters
Alfred Waterhouse, RA (1830–1905) was an English architect, but not a Londoner (he was born in Liverpool) – even though several of his greatest works were in the city.
He’s probably best remembered for his association with Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. As well as the RICS London headquarters, other landmark projects from his drawing board include Manchester’s Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in South Kensington (constructed between 1873 and 1881). This is arguably his best-known work and one that’s significant for its use of architectural terracotta (decorated ceramic elements such as antefixes and revetments).
In terms of the visual impact on London’s built environment, Waterhouse’s work was probably as head-turning in his time as HOK’s Francis Crick Institute or 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) are for us. Yes, both of these will have involved London chartered surveyors!
Quite a history story
While Alfred Waterhouse worked on The Natural History Museum, the Institution of Surveyors, as it was initially known when formed in 1868, was in its youth. Only 13 years after its foundation by 49 surveyors, in 1881 (the year the museum opened its doors), the Institution of Surveyors was granted a Royal charter as The Surveyors Institution. In 1930, it became the Chartered Surveyors’ Institution. Then, in 1946, the Royal Chartered Surveyors’ Institution. Finally, as Britain started rebuilding after WW2, the professional body that’s still so important when you buy property became The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
That’s quite a history and worth bearing in mind when you’re planning to consult a London building surveyor. Perhaps it’s for a full structural survey, or you require help from party wall surveyors when working on a Victorian terraced property. The scale of works may be smaller than the work RICS professionals do on London’s most iconic landmarks, but it’s still important for you.
You see, London chartered surveyors play a key role in unlocking the value of the capital’s built environment – be it your post-war semi- or iconic structures such as The Shard.
What do London surveyors do? The video
This fascinating three-minute video highlights the role of RICS surveyors for some of the most visible structures on London’s skyline.
From calculating the construction cost of City Hall to due diligence on the £700m sale of The Gherkin in 2014, RICS-accredited surveyors help shape the built landscape that Londoners live, work and play in.
They’re all part of the same august professional body as the RICS surveyor who checks the roof on your new home, advises on subsidence or does the survey that secures your mortgage.
Something to think about when you need a surveyor
So there’s something to think about when you’re choosing a professional for a building survey in London. Remember Alfred Waterhouse and the founding fathers of the organisation. And the RICS HQ in central London. And all the RICS-accredited surveyors who keep the London property world ticking along!
There really isn’t any part of building or property in the capital that doesn’t involve the RICS in London in some way. If you combine RICS accreditation with a building surveyor in London who knows the subtleties of local property, you’re in a strong position to get best possible advice on any aspect of London property services. That’s reassuring.
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