Estate Surveyors Begin Practice Reform, Set Up Committee

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Faced with a harsh operating environment and the need to key into global best practices, estate surveyors and valuers have launched a comprehensive reform programme that they believe would transform and reposition their institution.

The reform scheme is part of recommendations adopted after a retreat by major stakeholders at Ada, Osun State recently, but now endorsed by the National Executive Council of the body.  The recommendations, according to reports, will form the thrust of the new administration agenda. Frontline consultants, including KPMG Professional Services and ROSABEL facilitated the programme.

Newly installed 19th President of the institution, Mr. Bode Adediji, who was recently handed the mantle of leadership, is pushing the fresh attempt at reinvigorating the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV). He told newsmen that he was looking ahead to bring change to the profession.

Already, a 10-member committee headed by the President to champion and pilot the reform programmes was inaugurated last week. Members, drawn from the rank and file of the institution’s membership, are to be involved in the implementation of the reform and engage relevant consultants including lawyers and business management advisers to guide the body. Membership of the committee includes Chief Charles Adebiyi, a past president, Mrs. Claire Chizea, Samuel Ukpong, Akin Olawore, Chudi Ubosi and Baren Epega.

Among the key planks in the reform blueprint are: changing public perception of the profession; overhauling its operational framework; and generating workable interface with government and agencies on policies and programmes.

Adediji said: “We are aware that our public image is not what it used to be. We want to change the public perception of estate surveyors and valuers, which as of today is synonymous with estate agents.

According to him, the practice has been dominated by sole proprietorships usually comprising one man, one office and one secretary. “We want them to transit to medium size, big size or mega companies. We are saying that the future of this profession lies in bigger size operations, rather than one-man businesses.

“We plan to educate our members that it is in the long run not profitable to operate a small firm under a sole proprietorship, especially when you view it against global best practices. We have to create a legal and administrative template to facilitate willing members to key into that.

“If need be, we’re going to get a group of lawyers so that when people consult them, they won’t pay the normal professional fees. We are looking at business management companies that will also midwife all these small companies into bigger firms. The institution would shoulder some of the responsibilities or assist members wanting to buy into the merger plan.”

He explained that the institution plans to woo government and agencies towards ensuring that estate surveyors are given priority in the affairs of governance, especially in land administration policies.

“Today, majority of our members still have little or no input into major government policies and programmes that are relevant to our sector. For instance, on the land review panel, there is only one estate surveyor out of the 15 members. Yet, the centerpiece of land administration in any country revolves around the role of the estate surveying and valuation practice. We find it strange that even government and public see us merely as estate agents. We intend to correct that impression by rebranding ourselves, and then we would start having inroad into such beneficial alliance,” Adediji said.

Reacting to the incursion of quacks, he said the institution would adopt a multifaceted approach by educating members of the public on the dangers inherent in patronizing quacks as well as set up constructive interface between qualified professionals and the quacks so as to bring them directly under the control and supervising role of the qualified ones.

“For instance, Lagos State government has come up with a law on estate agent practitioners, we need to use its as a pilot scheme, which would be duplicated in other states. If people must engage in estate agency, they must engage under an enabling law that can specify reward and sanctions.

“If we have neigbourhood control as it happens in developed countries, such as having dominant practicing estate surveyors within area such as Victoria Island, it would be difficult for quacks to benefit. We plan in the next few weeks to kick-start a synergy among the firms in Victoria Island through a programme of interaction and building of property database.”

Adediji also endorsed the decision of the Federal Government to create a separate Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, since the critical problems in the areas of housing, urban development and land administration would get the exclusive engagement of the ministry and the performance in that sector can be better evaluated.