Cayman Islands surveyors form islands-specific royal chapter

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will launch the Caribbean’s first national chapter in the Cayman Islands on Oct. 2, creating a professional body to address local standards and professional development.

A local branch was initially formed in 2003 as part of the Americas regional division of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The new chapter will enable chartered surveyors to address Cayman-particular issues regarding professional qualifications and standards in land, property and construction, said Simon Watson, co-chairman of the steering committee.

“This will address national issues. There has been no one to reach out to government, to provide guidance, to regulate members and a code of conduct,” Mr. Watson said. “We will be the first national chapter in the Caribbean. We are trying to establish others in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.”

Regional associations comprise RICS Europe, RICS Americas, RICS Asia, RICS South Asia, RICS Oceania and RICS Middle East and Africa.

“We have about 60 members, 65 members in Cayman,” Mr. Watson said, hopeful that a discrete national chapter will draw others into the association, which provides a broad range of property-related information, such as rural management, mapping, surveying, property valuation, dispute resolution, building control, environmental impact assessment, project management and advice to the public and policymakers.

Cayman currently is under a 300-member Caribbean regional grouping, administered by New York-based RICS America, which manages operations of the 145-year old London-based organization, from Canada to Argentina. Globally, the institution boasts more than 150,000 members in 140 countries.

Mr. Watson has been struggling to establish a Cayman Islands chapter for a decade.

Three chartered surveyors started in 2003, he said, lobbying the RICS to create a chapter akin to operations in Bermuda. However, Hurricane Ivan “dramatically altered the priorities,” and, in 2005, the parent organization created a Caribbean chapter rather than nationally based units, appointing him among the founding – and still active – board members.

“There is a board of about eight of us, two of them in Cayman,” Mr. Watson said, looking at “different needs and levels and local issues.”

He said most local RICS members also belonged to Cayman’s other building-professional organizations, the Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors and Engineers, the Cayman Contractors Association and the newly founded Cayman Institute of Architects.

“They are broad organizations. This is very specific for our profession,” Mr. Watson said, indicating the chapter hopes to encourage young Caymanians to look at the field.

“One of the main aims of the local chapter will be to promote surveying as a career path for young Caymanians who are very underrepresented in the profession locally. In this regard, the RICS has already organized a stand at the recent Jobs/Careers Expo.”

The group’s first major event was a February property and construction conference at the Marriott Beach Resort.