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Ethics for QSAP Members

Ethics are developed and shaped by the individual’s personal life experiences and abilities and are informed by various other sources including family, friends, religious beliefs, education and the media.

 

Ethics provide a framework or moral map to deal with the difficult issues we face in our day-to-day routine. From professional standpoint; our forum QSAP views ‘ethics’ as ‘a set of moral principles extending beyond a formal code of conduct’, this definition indicates that ethics seek higher than minimum standards which in turn guide individuals and enable them to justify their actions in resolving the inevitable conflicts between the interests of the stakeholders, the client and the community at large.

 

QSAP requires all members to understand the significance of professional ethics and to be committed to maintaining professional and ethical standards. QSAP views the maintenance of high ethical standards as being fundamental to the practice of all Quantity Surveyors.

 

QSAP identifies that upholding ethical principles is a key reason why people rely on professional bodies. Since competence and trust are considered as central elements in generating confidence in the professions; therefore professions can only survive; if people retain confidence in them.

 

For quantity surveyors, transparency and ethical behavior are particularly important as their core working domain encompasses financial transactions such as procurement, contractual arrangements, payments, and valuations. These areas are susceptible to malpractice and corruption, particularly as the sector is characterized as being constructed on personal relationships.

 

The basis for maintaining standards of professional conduct are compliance with the particular institution's regulations, by-laws, and codes of conduct. RICS Rules of Conduct for Members (2007) focus on ‘proportionality, accountability, consistency targeting and transparency’ in providing better regulation over members professional practice.

 

RICS stipulates the minimum professional standards expected from its members. Separate rules of conduct are required for Quantity Surveying practices. Professional in common with other members of society must operate within the Law. 

 

This is recognized in the Rules which identify matters such as discrimination and employment as areas which are subjected to statutory or common law. In addition to using their technical skills for the client’s benefit that professionals have a ‘moral duty of care’ which requires them to practice with the ‘utmost honesty and integrity’.

 

Quantity Surveyors must ensure that they do not inadvertently harm their client’s interests or the reputation of the profession. Adherence to the Rules is important for the wider public interest and the objectives of the Institution. Therefore, in situations where a conflict of interest arises between a member and a client; the client’s interest shall take precedence unless it is contrary to the public interest.

 

The Rules are expressed in a straightforward manner and superseded the earlier, more detailed, 2004 Rules of Conduct. The 2004 Rules contained several additional areas which were then subject to regulation but which, nevertheless, a member should be mindful of in upholding professional standards.

 

Guidance provided in the 2007 Rules encourages members to act within the spirit of the Regulations rather than by the express provisions. Failure to follow such guidance may be taken into consideration in an enquiry into a member’s behavior. The 2007 Rules contains two parts:

 

Part I is related to general matters and contains two regulations relating to Interpretation and Communications and service of documents;

 

Part II contains seven regulations relating to personal and professional standards covering integrity, competence, standards of service, lifelong learning, solvency, information to the RICS and cooperation with the RICS.

 

These regulations require members to:

Act with integrity, avoid conflicts of interest, and avoid situations inconsistent with professional obligations,

 

Exercise due skill and diligence in their work,


Carry out work in a timely manner and take due account of client expectations,


Comply with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements,


Manage their personal and professional finances appropriately, and provide information to, and cooperation with the RICS as requested (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 2007). The rules had been effective since 1st January 2010.

 

On a number of additional important issues regulated by the Institutions Bye-Laws, primarily relating to firms rather than individuals including conflicts of interest; keeping of separate accounts and accounting for client’s money; keeping proper practice accounts; complying with Institutions practice statements; maintaining adequate professional indemnity insurance cover; connected business; trade discounts; financial interest and other related procedural and administrative matters.

 

With regard to conflicts of interest between members and clients, the requirements are that members shall disclose the relevant facts promptly and refuse to continue the commission unless requested to do so, having advised the client to seek independent professional advice and confirming the position in writing.

 

QSAP 2013 sets out one electronic library (under process), which may guide members in managing difficult situations or where their professionalism may be compromised. Members are expected to know and understand these principles & be committed to them in order to maintain the integrity of the profession.


The QSAP ethical principles are:

 

1.      Act with integrity: Never put your own gain above the welfare of your clients, and respect their confidentiality at all times.

 

2.      Be honest: Be trustworthy in all that you do –never deliberately mislead, whether by withholding or distorting information.

 

3.      Be open and transparent in your dealings: Share the full facts with your clients, making things as clear and intelligible as possible.

 

4.      Be accountable for all your actions: Never commit to more than you can deliver, take full responsibility and don’t blame others if things go wrong.

 

5.      Know and act within your limitations: Be aware of the limits of your competence and don’t be tempted to work beyond these.

 

6.      Be objective at all times: Give fair neutral advice, and never let your own dealings or interests cloud your judgment.

 

7.      Respect others: Treat others with respect regardless of their gender, race, religion etc.

 

8.      Set a good example: Remember that both your public and private behavior could affect yourself, the Society’s and other member’s reputation.

 

9.      Have the courage to make a stand: Be prepared to act if you suspect another member of malpractice. 

 

These nine core principles have been reorganized and amended slightly and augmented by a further three principles as issued by RICS Guidance Sheet Maintaining Ethical Standards (2010) these three additional principles require members to:

 

10.    Comply with relevant laws and regulations and avoid any action, illegal or litigious that may bring the profession into disrepute;

 

11.    Avoid conflicts of interest and declare any potential conflicts of interest, personal or professional, to all relevant parties.

 

12.    Respect and maintains the confidentiality of your clients’ affairs. Never divulge information to others, unless it is necessary. (RICS,2010)

 

Taken together these principles represent best practice in upholding ethical standards. The Association’s requirements for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are noteworthy which encourage all members to regularly update and extend their skills and knowledge base.

 

Upholding ethical standard is important for quantity surveyors to be professionally characterized as trustworthy and competent. Besides; ethical principles have a clear link with integrity and professionalism.

 

The Rules of Conduct which regulate the actions of Quantity Surveyors as well as the twelve core ethical principles which are extended from these Rules are intended to encourage all members to achieve higher professional standards.

 

Prepared by

Muhammad Irfan Zafar

IT/ Administrator

Reviewed by

M. Faisal Chaudhary/Syed Mubaraz

President / Core Committee

Checked by

Board & Core Committee

QSAP

Approved by

Laeeq Hassan

Chairman (Global Head)