Blog by Gareth Clarke – Chartered Building Surveyor, MRICS

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

In order to qualify, I had to undertake the RICS’s Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) – which is the route to becoming Chartered – whilst working at Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors in Lancashire.

I thought it worthwhile to write a blog noting my experiences – hopefully this will be of benefit and provide encouragement to others who are going through the APC process!

Firstly, I graduated in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) in Building Surveying from the University of Salford.

Then I got a job as a Graduate Building Surveyor for a firm in Manchester. I was carrying out Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) surveys of electrical sub-stations, but I became “stuck in a rut”, doing the same mundane type of survey day in, day out.

In February 2016, I took the opportunity to join Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors in their Blackburn office.  Lea Hough have got an RICS approved Training Programme (STP).  I was allocated an APC Supervisor and Counsellor, both colleagues within the firm.  We met and set the target competences that I was to aim for over the course of the next two years. Then I kept my diary and log book up-to-date throughout, and we held regular review meetings on a three monthly basis with my Supervisor and six monthly with the Counsellor.

During that period, I was also tasked with arranging a monthly CPD event in our office, to be attended by all surveyors from the firm, ensuring that we all maintained sufficient CPD to meet RICS requirements.

The main aim over the past two years, however, has been for me to gain good, varied experience and a gradually increasing level of responsibility.  I’ve been working in an office of like-minded and experienced Chartered Building Surveyors, so I have been learning every day.  Gradually I was given a greater range of experience, more responsibility and a wider range of clients.

Work experience over the two year period included surveys, project work, drawings and specifications, tendering, contract administration, dilapidations, party wall surveying, etc.  Clients include the RSPCA, schools, Knowsley Estate, commercial property landlords, solicitors, as well as private clients.

In autumn 2018 I felt ready to go for the APC final assessment and made my submission to the RICS in September 2018.  I prepared the full submission including case study/critical analysis, summary of experience, record of CPD, and undertook the assessment ethics module, etc.  This was not an easy task because there was a lot of documentation to prepare, alongside having a full-time job and I had recently become a father too!

My Case Study was written about the refurbishment of Longborough Lodge, which is a listed building in Knowsley.

I then spent the last couple of months swotting up!  I prepared a presentation and my colleagues at Lea Hough gave me three mock interviews – all were taken seriously and I received constructive feedback and tips.  I gradually improved my answering technique, knowledge and delivery of my presentation.  I received really good assistance from colleagues during this period in particular.

Finally, I took two days holiday to revise and I also spent the weekend in the office doing self-study and practicing my presentation.  Sporting a haircut and a new suit, I then sat my APC on the Tuesday at the Macron Stadium in Bolton in front of three RICS APC Assessors.

It was a ten minute presentation, ten minutes of questions related to my submission project, thirty minutes of questions on general building surveying related competencies, then ten minutes on professionalism and RICS requirements for members and firms, ethics, client care, etc.  I received some questions that I expected, but plenty that I could not have predicted!

Exactly one week later, I received the fabulous news that I had passed – I am proud to now be able to use the designation of Chartered Building Surveyor and I have the letters MRICS behind my name!

I am delighted with the outcome and I cannot wait to receive my certificate and then continue my career progression.

I cannot thank my colleagues at Lea Hough enough.  I have received a clear training plan and lots of good experience, guidance, and support throughout.  In hindsight, switching firms in 2016 was a great career move for me – 2½ years later I am now Chartered!  It has been hard work but well worth it.

I hope that this serves as encouragement to any aspiring Chartered Surveyors who are enrolled on the APC – keep going; you might not be that far away!


Lea Hough can offer a clear route towards becoming Chartered and have track record of helping APC candidates through their APC process to Chartered status – if you are an APC candidates who feel underwhelmed with your APC support/training at your current firm, or you are graduate looking to become a Chartered Surveyor in Lancashire, you are welcome to contact in confidence. Or if any aspiring Chartered Surveyors wish to undergo a mock APC interview, our Chartered Building Surveyors at Lea Hough would be only too willing to accommodate and provide support.


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