• Alan Milstein, Chairman
  • 31 Dec 2021

Review of 2021 and looking ahead to 2022

WAYTW!

What a year that was!                                Want to find out more? Spend just 5 minutes to read about all we've done.

What we have achieved at the RPSA over the last 12 months is nothing short of astounding. 

But it has let us set in place the firm foundations that will support the next phase of the Association’s growth in 2022 and beyond.

In just 11 short years, the RPSA has become the leading professional association representing independent residential property surveyors. We support existing and new practitioners by providing a framework that helps members do what they do best, and that is to get on and deliver the best possible service and quality to their clients.

When we launched the Survey Inspection & Reporting Standards in 2020, the RPSA set a new benchmark in the residential surveying sector, with the highest standards ever introduced for surveyors. And that means that consumers, our clients, know that they can trust an RPSA surveyor.

But it doesn’t stop there. In 2021 our ambition was to deliver the fundamental foundations that support the membership structure that sits above. That will provide the firm base on which to extend our reach in 2022.

So let’s quickly look at what we launched, introduced and achieved in 2021:-

The Essentials programme

The most comprehensive package of benefits ever introduced by a surveyors Association
It includes:-

Bespoke Terms & Conditions created by the leading sector law firm for the protection of surveyors and consumers

Code of Conduct detailing the professional standards expected of RPSA members

Exemplar policies for:-  

  • Complaints Handling Process
  • Health & Safety
  • GDPR
  • Environmental
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity

The Property Ombudsman redress scheme providing impartial complaints management

Bespoke PI policy offering competitive rates and comprehensive cover

All of these benefits are available to members as part of their standard membership package through the RPSA Member login area

Conferences

In 2021 the RPSA ran not one, not two, but three conferences.

The main conference, Reach for the Stars, in Leicester in November was the biggest, boldest and most successful event in our history. Delegates responded that it wasn’t just the best RPSA conference ever, nor just the best surveyors conference ever, but it was the best conference of ANY type that they had ever attended.

If you want to re-live it, or find out what happened, you can watch the video here 2021 Conference review

And we’ve already set the date for our Driving the Future conference on 15th March 2023 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

On top of that, we ran, for the first time ever, two student conferences that were created to help guide, motivate and educate new entrants to our industry.

More than 95% of those who attended said they would recommend the event to others in the future.

RPSA the Movie

Helping consumers understand the benefits of using an RPSA surveyor can be difficult for individual members to convey, so we commissioned a video to get a clear and simple message across to our prospective clients.


And the result is available for every full member to embed on their own website, to reinforce that it is only RPSA surveyors that are guaranteed to do a full and thorough inspection on every single occasion. Watch the video here RPSA the Movie




RPSA website

A brand new RPSA website helping consumers, surveyors and other industry professionals quickly find the information they need.

Snagging standards

RPSA are the first, and only, professional surveyors association ever to introduce standards for new-build snagging inspections.

The standards arise after a 2-year RPSA-led consultation working with the New Homes Quality Board, key industry stakeholders, Government, consumer groups and existing practitioners. In the near future, ALL new home buyers will have an absolute right to commission an RPSA member to carry out a Pre-Completion snagging inspection on their behalf and help ensure that the quality of their new home meets their expectations.

Click the link to download a copy of the new standards RPSA New-build Survey Inspection & Reporting Standards

Spray Foam inspection guidance

It’s been an on-going issue for surveyors to understand how best to report on the presence of sprayed polyurethane foam in the roof spaces of residential property. So the RPSA teamed up with the Property Care Association to investigate and understand the issues. The RPSA issued new guidance for all members when inspecting properties with spray foam. Read the guidance HERE
Together, the RPSA and PCA have tackled this important issue for the benefit of consumers, lenders and the wider industry.

Meet & Greet

In 2021 we resumed our Meet & Greet events, meeting members, non-members, students and random strangers(!) at a series of informal gatherings in Milton Keynes, Crawley, Exeter, Newcastle, and Warrington.

Getting out to meet members on their own doorstep is a vital way for the RPSA to be a relevant, inclusive and dynamic organisation that can really meet the needs of its members.

Watch out for more events being scheduled for 2022 by visiting RPSA Events

Panel

The RPSA Panel secures survey instructions on behalf of members, working with consumers, High St lenders, valuers, conveyancers and others. In 2021 we put more than £1 million of fees into RPSA members' pockets, and 2022 promises to be even bigger.

2022......

....will see the growth and development of the Association continue unabated. We're already working hard on plans to extend membership reach, expand the panel, and develop and introduce new products and services.

The value of a professional association is not just about badges, it's about actions and results. The RPSA will continue, in 2022, to work as hard as possible to support its members for the benefit of the residential surveying profession, our clients and our colleagues throughout the industry.

If you're a surveyor, or training to become one, and want to be part of this amazing transformation of our profession, you can join HERE or email chairman@rpsa.org.uk


  • Alan Milstein, Chairman
  • 20 Dec 2021

Spray foam insulation - Surveyor guidance

After an extensive investigation, including key industry stakeholders, the RPSA has created a new guidance note for members to assist them when they encounter sprayed polyurethane foam on the underside of the pitched roof of a residential property.

The guidance note is available HERE


  • Alan Milstein, Chairman
  • 17 Dec 2021

Oh! What a day it was! RPSA Conference 2021

If you didn't make it to the 2021 RPSA Conference, "Reach for the Stars" held at the National Space Centre in Leicester, what a day you missed.

The biggest, boldest and most exciting event in the history of the RPSA, delegates were treated to a sparkling array of speakers, a spectacular venue, cocktails, and the best goodie bag in the business.

Watch the movie

The title for the event, "Reach of the Stars" marks the beginning of a new dawn for residential surveying and for the Residential Property Surveyors Association.
Building on the foundations laid in 2021, the RPSA is set to become THE standard for residential surveying in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

But, don't worry, if you missed being there then you can experience some of the excitement by watching the movie and reliving the drama of the day.


Three BIG announcements

We made three important announcements at the Conference:-

  • New-build Survey Inspection & Reporting Standards - The first and only standards for snagging of new build property ever announced by a surveyors Association.
  • New RPSA website - a clean and fresh look that demonstrates the professionalism and quality of the RPSA and its' members.
  • RPSA brand video - highlighting to all home buyers the benefits of using an RPSA surveyor - make sure you embed it on your RPSA website!


"Driving the Future" - RPSA Conference 2023

The next RPSA Conference, "Driving the Future" takes place on 15th March 2023 at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwickshire. Mark the date in your diary so you don't miss it. Tickets on sale early 2022.


  • Alan Milstein, Chairman
  • 10 Nov 2021

Investigating the problems with sprayed foam insulation.

It’s a dilemma this been faced by many surveyors and valuers over the years. They look in the loft and there it is. Rigid foam sprayed under the roof covering between the rafters. Their heart sinks. How are they going to report it? Should they condemn it? Retention or nil value? Or does it look okay and the roof is in perfectly good condition?

It’s estimated that something in the region of 250,000 homes have been treated to the “benefit” of spray foam. In some cases it’s been used to stabilise a failing roof, and in others as an insulation material to improve the energy efficiency of a property. But is it as bad as many surveyors would have us believe? Or is it a useful tool for benefiting a property?

In the absence of any clear guidance, the RPSA teamed up with the Property Care Association (PCA) to conduct a research project to try to bring some clarity and provide surveyors and valuers with better guidance.

The ramifications are significant. Some lenders have restrictions on providing an advance for a property with spray foam insulation. Others have no specific policy. But most equity release firms will not entertain a loan on a property so affected.

Installation companies sometimes focus on vulnerable targets, often being elderly homeowners, or those looking for a cheap fix instead of having to replace their roof. And in a world where energy efficiency of our homes is becoming ever more important, the insulation properties of spray foam are being widely promoted.

The investigation led by RPSA and PCA included representatives from throughout the surveying, lending, valuation, conservation and installation industries. Little evidence was found of independent scientific research, and that which has been carried out is mostly from North America, on different types of property and in different climatic conditions.

Most spray foam products are covered by certification provided by organisations such as the British Board of Agrement, LABC, Huntsman and KIWA, and while these detail the conditions for their use, there is no evidence of independent verification of the long-term effects of their use.

Case studies provided by Robert Gordon University and Historic Scotland were included in the review, though none were found to provide specific data on the use of spray foam in roof spaces.

A Technical Working Group considered all of the evidence that was gathered which, in some ways has led to a better understanding of the use of spray foams, but in other ways has created even greater dilemmas for surveyors, valuers and others who have to appraise homes with spray foam insulation installed.

Both the RPSA and the PCA will produce technical guidance for members on the back of this project, and, although it is for other organisations to reach their own conclusions, one thing is for certain, and that is that this piece of work has been of incalculable value to those who inspect property on a daily basis.


  • Alan Milstein, Chairman
  • 10 Nov 2021

Why the RPSA launched new snagging standards.

Many RPSA surveyors have, from time to time, been asked to carry out snagging surveys on new build property. Often, though, when they have tried to book in for the inspection they have been refused access to the site by the builder. Why is this?

In part it’s because builders don’t know how the surveyor is going to carry out his inspection. What degree of detail will he/she go into? Will it be a fair appraisal? Will the surveyor be over-zealous? And it’s actually a fair point. The problem is that, until now, there have never been standards for snagging surveyors to work to. This has resulted in a “Wild West” industry of snagging surveyors all working to different sets of measurements, with vastly different results.

That’s why, in 2019, the RPSA set out to deliver a set of standards that would not only work for surveyors and builders but would give consumers the opportunity to get useful independent advice about the quality of their new home.

When starting out on the project it all seemed quite straightforward. Sit down with a few industry representatives and draw up some standards. In theory that’s what we did, but the practice turned out to be quite a lot more involved! 

The stakeholder group invited to participate in the discussion simply grew and grew until it included representatives from virtually every sector of the property industry. The project coincided with the launch of the draft Building Safety Bill which included the provision for the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman. That bought the New Homes Quality Board into the equation and the prospect of some form of Pre-Completion Inspection (aka a snagging report) being an integral part of the New Homes Code, a mandatory part of the Ombudsman scheme.

So the RPSA New build Inspection & Reporting Standards (NIRS) are borne out of the widest possible consultation with the property industry and are consistent with the requirements of the New Homes Code. What this means is that there is no longer an excuse for any builder to refuse site access to a surveyor when they are carrying out an inspection based on the RPSA standards.

For consumers it brings about transformational change as buyers will no longer be prevented from getting independent advice about the quality of their new home.

What’s the basis for the standards?

The standards are based on a visual review of the finishing quality of those things that the homeowner will touch, use, feel and see on day 1 in the property.

Do they include a review of matters covered by Building Regulations?

The Hackett review Independent Review of Building Safety and Fire Safety, carried out after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, focused on the nature and implementation of building regulations, and this has been covered comprehensively by the Building Safety Bill. It’s impossible for a surveyor carrying out a visual inspection of a completed home to undertake a comprehensive review of building regulations compliance and so the NIRS recognise that, where contraventions of building regulations are apparent, a different, more comprehensive, and perhaps invasive, inspection will be required.

How do the NIRS “standardise” the inspection?

There are a range of different finishing standards offered by builders, warranty providers and others, but the standard reference is that offered by “NHBC Chapter 9.1”. After wide consultation, a working group of industry stakeholders agreed the basis for assessment of a completed new build property that would offer a consistent approach to a Pre-Completion Inspections. The RPSA NIRS follow the principles of this approach to achieve a consistent inspection and reporting regime.

We’ve all read the stories of misery experienced by unfortunate new home buyers whose dream home has turned out to be a nightmare. With the New build Survey Inspection & Reporting Standards we can’t help to solve everybody’s problems overnight. But in offering a consistent and measured approach to snagging surveys we can encourage cooperation from builders and deliver better outcomes for our clients.

Want to read the new standards...just download them HERE