Barbadian chartered surveyor, Curtis Pounder, has become one of the first Barbadians admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the United Kingdom. He recently spoke to Barbados TODAY about his career, how the designation came about and what it means to him.
Barbados TODAY: How long have you been a surveyor?
Curtis Pounder: I first got into the field 20 years ago working with the Barbados Government’s Land Tax Department. Now, there are different types of surveyors such as quantity, building and valuation, and I am primarily a valuation surveyor. Valuation surveyors carry out inspections of properties to provide an opinion of their market value, and this covers all types of properties including vacant residential or commercial land, commercial properties, hotels and other special purpose buildings, quarries and so on. I have also done valuations for Government regarding compulsory acquisition of land, and have done portfolio valuations, that is, work for clients who have a number of properties under their jurisdiction.
Barbados TODAY: How do you qualify for designations like the one you have received? Is there an examination or some other process surveyors must go through?
Curtis Pounder: Most surveyors work towards becoming members of these types of institutions. Once you go higher, that is, work longer and achieve more in the field, you have to show why you should be considered for membership in them. There are some basic characteristics we have to demonstrate. The first is Service to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. That involves acting as a counsellor and mentor, as well as supervising and assessing trainees who are aspiring towards the qualification. Once you finish training, there is a final interview, then three RICS surveyors assess you and then you become a member of the RICS. Service to clients is another element, and I also teach one of the surveying courses at the Barbados Community College.
Barbados TODAY: Tell us more about the BCC course; what you teach, the number of students you would have seen and how long you have been teaching it.
Curtis Pounder: The College introduced a Real Estate course about five or six years ago, and I have been teaching the Valuation module since 2013. I have seen more students taking the course over the years, and last year we actually ran two courses because of the number of students who registered. On average, it is about 25 students, but last year there was a significant increase. The students range in age from people in their early 20s who are now starting out, as well as those already established in the real estate field who want to learn more, or to get a professional qualification so they can improve the service they provide to clients.
Barbados TODAY: How did you feel on receiving the designation?
Curtis Pounder: It felt great, because it was something I had aspired to from the time I started training as a chartered surveyor in England; in fact, one of my teachers, Clifford Dann, was actually the President of the RICS at one time. I started working on my fellowship application two years ago, and apart from the characteristics mentioned earlier, I also had to submit examples of the work I had done and outline my career history.
Barbados TODAY: Are there any other FRICS-designated surveyors on the island?
Curtis Pounder: Yes, but only two others, namely Andrew Mallalieu and Alkins Kirton, are Valuation Surveyors and Alkins Kirton received it when the organisation with which he had initially received his designation merged with the RICS. Fewer than 20 per cent of surveyors are Fellows of the RICS.
Barbados TODAY: Are there any requirements you must fulfil now you have the FRICS designation?
Curtis Pounder: There is something called Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which entails completing a minimum of 20 hours of CPD each calendar year, with at least ten hours of formal training. We must also maintain an up to date and relevant knowledge of the RICS’ five Global Professional and Ethical Standards, which include: act with integrity; always provide a high level of service; act in a way that promotes trust in the profession; treat others with respect and take responsibility. Another element is to counsel assessment candidates, which provides us with an opportunity to help shape the profession while preparing people for RICS membership. (DH)