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Future-proof Scotland’s built environment says RICS President

RICS President John Hughes has recognised the pivotal role chartered surveyors have played in Scotland over the past 150 years during a visit to Edinburgh to explore how RICS members can add value to the global built environment.

Hughes’ visit – the first in a whistle-stop tour of the UK to redefine the role chartered surveyors play in developing the built environment – coincided with the RICS UK & Ireland World Regional Board Meeting, also held in Edinburgh.

Each of the president’s visits also forms part of the wider fact-finding ‘Future of the Profession’ research, which will help the organisation to understand how contemporary challenges are reshaping companies, services and professional practices, and how the profession is adapting to new technologies.

“Technological advances in AI, big data computing and blockchain are set to radically change the way we develop land and manage property in our cities,” said Hughes. “These innovations are disrupting long established business models and have already encouraged a variety of tech firms into the property industry, such Google’s smart city development in Toronto and Airbnb’s growing global dominance over the hospitality industry.

“Thanks to climate change, around the world our cities are becoming much hotter, wetter and wilder places. The uncharacteristically warm “taps aff” temperature which many Scots enjoyed this summer is likely to repeat itself in the coming years. But a long-term heat increase could have severe implications for existing infrastructure in Scottish cities, typically designed for cooler weather.

“Surveyors work right across the life-cycle of the built environment; developing land, constructing buildings, managing properties, and planning the supporting infrastructure. But these new forces are reshaping how we use the built environment, requiring a dynamic response from chartered surveyors, as well as clients, policy makers, the Scottish government and regulators.”

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