James Leech

By James Leech – Chartered Valuation Surveyor, MRICS

I have recently become a Chartered Valuation Surveyor and I am now privileged to be a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Qualifying involved undertaking the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) – the main route to becoming a Chartered Surveyor – whilst working at Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors.

I’ve written this blog to describe my experience of the process, and I hope it may encourage and inform anyone who is looking to undertake the APC!

My route to becoming a Chartered Surveyor was unconventional.

My first job in property was doing office work for a small firm of rating surveyors in Lancaster. Deciding that I wanted a career as a Surveyor, I moved to a local practice of Estate Agents and Surveyors where I could gain hands-on experience.

Whilst working, I completed an HNC in Construction and then a University College of Estate Management Course in my spare time.

I then qualified as an RICS Associate (AssocRICS) and an RICS Registered Valuer.

In September 2017, I took the decision to join Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors, who offered an RICS approved Training Programme and the chance to undertake the type of work I had always aspired to do, as it was always my goal to become a Chartered Surveyor.

I was able to gain further skills and experience, supported by my assigned APC Counsellor and Supervisor within the firm, which put me in good stead for tackling the APC.

As I didn’t hold an RICS accredited degree, my route to becoming Chartered involved a “Preliminary Review” by the RICS – where I submitted my APC documents including a summary of experience, case study, CPD records, etc. These documents were reviewed and approved by the RICS, allowing me to proceed to the Final Assessment.

Traditionally, the APC Final Interviews are held on a face-to-face interview basis, with a panel of APC Assessors in one of several venues across the UK. As my Final Assessment coincided with the Covid-19 epidemic, this was not possible and my interview was conducted online, via Skype, instead. This was the first time that the RICS had adopted this video conferencing technique.

In the run up my Final Interview, Lea Hough were still able to provide me with several mock interviews by conducting them over webcam, which allowed me to practice delivering my case study presentation and improve my answering technique.

In the days leading up to the interview itself, I was invited to attend two online Skype sessions hosted by RICS where I received a briefing on how the interview would work, and I was able to test my laptop/camera/microphone, to ensure there would be no technical problems on the day!

Having revised and prepared as much as I could, I sat my interview in May 2020 in front of three RICS Assessors and I underwent a 1-hour interview – just from the comfort of my dining room!

I delivered a presentation on my case study – which was on a Right to Buy Valuation that I had undertaken – I had to answer many questions both on my case study and on my general surveying experience and knowledge, followed by questions on ethics and professionalism.

There were challenging questions from the panel but I was happy that I had done my best and the interview had gone smoothly with no technical issues affecting the Skype session.

One week later, I received the fantastic news that I had passed, and could finally call myself a Chartered Surveyor!

I’m incredibly grateful to Lea Hough for providing the backing and support that helped me to achieve a long-held ambition, despite the road not always being easy!

I hope that this blog encourages others who aspire to achieve Chartered status. It’s certainly hard work but with enough determination and the right employer, it’s always possible.

Lea Hough have track record of helping APC candidates through their APC process to achieve Chartered status. For more information on any of our services, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Manchester Office
Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR