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How valuable is this RICS Expert Witness Certificate?

The RICS Expert Witness Certificate is appearing more frequently on candidate CV’s in the construction disputes sector. For those of you unfamiliar with this course, I’ll shed some light on what it is, and how valuable it may be to your career.

What is the RICS Expert Witness Certificate?

The RICS Expert Witness Certificate is a 12 week learning programme that combines theoretical and practical learning methods and intends to provide delegates with a sound knowledge of law and best practice.

The course looks to cover 5 key competencies:

  • Managing the appointment
  • Managing the post appointment process
  • Constructing a comprehensive expert report
  • Cooperating productively with other experts
  • Delivering effective expert evidence in court

The courses are led by experienced surveyors, lawyers and expert witnesses. You will also be assigned a mentor, who will work with you to acquire the competencies you will need to successfully complete the course.

Optional Further Development:

After completing your 12 week course and obtaining the RICS Expert Witness Certificate, you will have the additional option to sit an interview in which you will be assessed on 3 competencies covered on the course:

  • Managing clearly the expectations of those who appoint you
  • Assembling accurately the materials you need to function
  • Cooperating productively with other experts

A further option of having your expert witness report cross examined by Barrister is available for those who may find this a useful exercise. 

Upon completion of the above, you will be able to market yourself as an RICS registered Expert Witness.

Finally, candidates who have completed the above, and who can demonstrate the necessary practical experience and meet some additional requirements, may consider making an application to become an RICS Accredited Expert Witness.

To achieve this status, candidates will have to undertake the normal RICS President’s Panel assessment process of an application, interview, examinations and the providing of references.

Once all of the above has been completed, you will become an RICS Accredited Expert Witness.

Feedback on the Course:

Having spoken to several candidates in the last 6 months who have completed the course, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback.

The course has been highly interesting and informative, delivered by well-respected industry  professionals,

I’ve also learnt of at least two clients that I work with in the construction disputes sector, who are putting members of its staff through the initial 12 week course.

A key word that has been used to describe the course when speaking to candidates is “challenging”. It is an intense 12 week programme, that has a strong practical element to it. Working alongside Surveyors, Lawyers, Barristers and other leading industry professionals at practical workshops to learn and develop your skills and competence. This is not a course where you can sign up and expect to put in minimum effort and expect to pass and get a certificate at the end of the 12 weeks. You need to be motivated to complete the course and put in the required time and effort if you are going to complete the 12 week programme.

Do Employers Want it?

The reaction I’ve had from employers to this course has largely been that it’s a nice additional extra to a CV rather than an essential criteria to move into or progress in the Expert Witness sector. I’ve not yet had experience of any particular client operating in the Expert Witness sector, to ask me to find candidates specifically with the RICS Expert Witness Certificate. However I am aware of multiple clients who are putting employees through the course, so it is obviously recognised and respected within the sector.

Whilst I don’t believe that clients are requesting this certificate as a benchmark to entry or progression within the sector in a similar way to which I see Professional Memberships being requested; I certainly do not want to suggest that the course is not worthwhile.

Where I see the Benefits of the RICS Expert Witness Certificate:

I see the benefits of the course being largely on a personal level. I can see benefits to both candidates who are not currently working in the expert witness sector, but would like to move into the sector. I can also see benefits to candidates already in the sector and looking to progress their career.

Candidates looking to Move into the Expert Witness sector:

Having read what the course covers, who leads the course and and hearing feedback from candidates who have undertaken the course; it covers some very important competencies and processes that may be completely foreign to candidates wo have no prior experience in the sector.

Therefore if you are looking to make a move into the expert witness sector and construction disputes, this course will allow you to meet and learn from respected individuals already operating in this sector. You will get a taste of what experts do on a day-to-day basis and learn practical skills that will help you in your career.

You will be able to draw upon this theoretical and practical knowledge in interviews. Something that many candidates entering the expert sector for the first time are not able to do.

Candidates looking to progress in the Expert Witness sector:

To candidates already working within the Expert Witness sector, the course may help to serve as a refresher or an opportunity to learn different perspectives on the expert role. Many candidates in this sector may have only learnt from one expert or employer in their time within the sector.

However, where I see the real benefit coming for candidates within the sector already, is the potential networking opportunities that may come with being affiliated with the RICS and this course in particular.

One of the biggest challenges to many within the expert witness sector, is getting their first opportunity to act as a leading expert on their own appointment.

The way to get your first expert appointment is to increase your network and reputation within the legal sector. To have a network of lawyers that know you and and trust your ability to perform in this role.

The RICS Expert Witness accreditation will introduce you to senior level professionals within this sector. You will be able to demonstrate your capabilities and take advantage of the ongoing CPD events that the RICS Expert Witness network run, which may contain solicitors and similar useful networking connections.

Summary:

I feel as though the RICS Expert Witness Certificate is gaining positive reviews within the construction disputes sector and appears to provide a challenging and informative 12-weeks of learning with a strong practical element to the course.

It’s delivered by the RICS who are widely regarded as one of, if not the most prestigious professional body in the industry.

As I highlighted earlier in the article, I see the course as an additional extra that may help set you apart from other similar candidates, rather than an essential requirement to entry or progression within the expert sector.

My advice to anyone looking to move into the expert witness sector for the first time, would always be to priorities becoming a full member of your relevant professional body (RICS, ICES, CIOB etc) prior to completing any additional courses or qualifications such as the RICS Expert Witness Certificate. Being a Chartered professional is still the #1 criteria I hear from clients within this sector when looking for candidates.

However the RICS Expert Witness Certificate is a welcome addition to the multitude of courses and qualifications on offer to help professionals with their continued personal development and it has some highly attractive attributes.

If you’d like to find out more about the course, you can visit the RICS website here https://www.rics.org/uk/events/training-courses/expert-witness-certificate/

About The Author

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant, UK

I am based from the Maxim Recruitment head office in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and I specialise in the recruitment of quantum and delay, claims and expert witness professionals in the UK and Overseas.  With over 11 years experience spent recruiting construction professionals, I have an extensive knowledge of the construction industry and an enviable network of reputable clients and contacts, allowing me to find my candidates the right position with highly desirable employers.

Latest UK Quantity Surveying Jobs: https://www.maximrecruitment.com/quantum-delay-claims-and-dispute-jobs 
Email: stuart@maximrecruitment.com

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