Choosing the right kind of surveyor

Unlike the word Doctor, or solicitor, there is no restriction on the word Surveyor.  Anyone can call themself a Surveyor !

However, Chartered Surveyors, i. e. members of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are qualified by examination and experience and have to conform to a strict Code of professional conduct.  At the present time there are very nearly 120,000 qualified Chartered Surveyors worldwide, all with the letters MRICS (Member of the RICS) or FRICS (Fellow of the RICS) after their names (see below more about this).

The RICS has grouped all fully-qualified (i.e. Chartered) Surveyors into 17 areas of expertise, called Professional Groups.  Fully-qualified members of the RICS are allowed to join up to four of these Groups to reflect their personal interests.

What isn’t always appreciated, however, is that some (but not all) Chartered Surveyors undergo more rigorous training and testing in order to achieve a Specialist Qualification in their particular field of work – also known as an Alternative Designation.

Only those in the Building Surveying group who have achieved a Specialist Qualification are allowed to use the Alternative Designation of Chartered Building Surveyor.

This is rather like doctors and other professionals with the same letters after their names;  they may have quite different specialties and you need to make sure you are dealing with the right one – with the right kind of practical experience.

Click here if you want to see a list of all 17 Professional Groups, and the Specialist Qualification/Alternative Designation in each Group,  on the RICS web site.




Those who have trained and qualified as Chartered Building Surveyors understand how building materials are best used, how buildings are constructed, how building problems occur – and how they are resolved, how buildings should be repaired and maintained, and so on.  These are the specialist surveyors who deal with the “nuts and bolts” of buildings – and building problems.

Anyone can call themself a building surveyor, and some 25,000 chartered surveyors belong to the RICS Building Surveying Group.  But less than 40% are specially qualified as Chartered Building Surveyors.

At the present time there are about 9,370 qualified Chartered Building Surveyors worldwide:  Only 28 are registered in the whole of France.



The designation “FRICS”

This means “Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors” – which is described on the RICS web site as follows:

“The letters FRICS represent a prestigious RICS award that reflects the career achievements of a special group of property professionals.  Attaining RICS Fellowship is a true mark of distinction.

Only MRICS members who are major achievers in their careers may apply to become a fellow of RICS.  They will be leaders in the profession; active people who have completed unique projects or contributed to the profession.”



To check whether a surveyor is qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor go to the official RICS GLOBAL DIRECTORY at

Under Country select “France”, then First name “Ian” and Last name “Morris”, and hit the Search button.  You will see he is designated Chartered Building Surveyor.   Click on  his name for further details.


To check whether a  firm is registered as Chartered Building Surveyors, go to the RICS firms directory  at and use the “Quick Search” box.

At the top, against Country, select “FRANCE”

At the bottom of the box, click on Advanced Options and against Type of Surveyor select “Chartered Building Surveyors”.

Then click on Search.   You will see Ian Morris is included in a short list of Chartered Building Surveyors firms in France.

Click on more details for further information.


Ian Morris is a specialist Chartered Building Surveyor …. a building pathologist.

He attained Fellowship of the RICS, thus gaining the designation FRICS, in April 1982.

His business is “Regulated by RICS” – one of only 40  “Regulated” firms in France:  Click HERE for details and select France.

He is the only FRICS qualified Chartered Building Surveyor in southern France.