RICS members and firms have been told to “identify and address unconscious bias” to conform to new rules of membership.
Sanctions for rule breaches range from cautions to expulsions.
A requirement to encourage diversity and inclusion is one of five rules of conduct set down by RICS’ independent standards and regulation board (SRB).
The new code also updates requirements for surveyors to maintain their skills and expertise – including new expectations for all members to be able to give accurate, up-to-date of advice on sustainability issues.
Publication of the new rules follows a nine-week consultation with RICS members worldwide as well as clients and ‘the public’, RICS said.
The new code comes into effect from 2nd February 2022. Ahead of that deadline, RICS is running a training programme, free to all members, aimed at those who may not be au fait with the nuances of D&I or who might be unaware of their unconscious bias.
Dame Janet Paraskeva, chair of the RICS standards and regulation board, said: “The advice of RICS professionals around the world underpins the successful management of our built and natural environment. With so many complex challenges facing decision makers, this profession’s high standards of expertise and ethical conduct have never been more important.
“Standards in professional life must evolve to reflect modern-day expectations of clients and society at large, in order to maintain confidence. These revised rules of conduct will support our members and those that depend on their advice to continue addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
The five RICS rules of conduct are:
1: Members and firms must be honest, act with integrity and comply with their professional obligations, including obligations to RICS.
2: Members and firms must maintain their professional competence and ensure that services are provided by competent individuals who have the necessary expertise.
3: Members and firms must provide good-quality and diligent service.
4: Members and firms must treat others with respect and encourage diversity and inclusion.
5: Members and firms must act in the public interest, take responsibility for their actions and act to prevent harm and maintain public confidence in the profession.
“Only serious breaches of the rules are likely to result in disciplinary action; minor breaches can be dealt with through self-correction or firms’ processes,” RICS said.