What is a Chartered Surveyor?

Worldwide, when property surveys are mentioned, the professional described as a Chartered Surveyor often features. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is based in London and has about 120,000 members worldwide, the vast majority, of course, living and working in the UK. Campbell Ferguson is a committee member of RICS España. As we quote in our Survey Spain brochure, the RICS is dedicated to promoting excellence and safeguarding public interest in all property related matters. All Chartered Surveyors have to follow strict rules of ethical conduct, which are enforced by the RICS. Again it’s this latter point that the client is reassured by. We must have professional indemnity insurance so that if we make a mistake and it costs the client money, there is a fund there to recompense him or her.

Chartered Surveyors have to be respectful of their client’s interest and if they are not, or get up to any shady dealings, can be fined by or even thrown out of the Institution. And, unfortunately, it does happen with disciplinary proceedings being reported in the profession’s journal. Chartered Surveyors cover a wide range – QS, land, mining and even specialists in undersea surveys. Most people come across either Quantity Surveyors (a QS) – who can be very roughly described as being involved in the construction process, such as cost control, project management and the like; OR General Practice Surveyors who tend to be more involved with existing buildings and their defects or the finance, the market value, created by the building, its land and location. We are general practice surveyors and have worked on a huge range of property types and values (and with some interesting clients!) over the years.

Why have a survey?

The discovery of defects lets the buyer negotiate with the seller to have them repaired prior to sale or to reduce the price to cover the costs, uncertainty and inevitable hassle involved in building work. In extreme circumstances the client has to take the decision – What I can do for this property or what can this property do for me! It may be that there is too much to be done and it’s better to look for another property that will enable you to ‘live the dream’ of the Costa life.

What are the limitations of the survey? – (see General Background to Survey)

  • Roof – Not on roof or in roof spaces unless open and easily accessible.
  • Under Floor – Not under floor unless open and easily accessible.
  • Electrical system – We try most lighting and socket circuits and record significant shortages or defects found. However, we do not carry out a detailed test of the circuits or supply. We shall be pleased to make arrangements for this to be done when we find items of concern or if particularly required by our client.
  • Plumbing – We try most taps and note heat and pressure and drainage from the receptacle. We check most w.c., baths, showers, basins and sinks to ensure that they appear to empty without trouble. However, we do not carry out any purity or pressure testing. We shall be pleased to make arrangements for this to be done when we find items of concern or if particularly required by our client.
  • Planning and Licences – We comment on all papers provided and on information of which we might be aware that is relevant. We do not carry out planning or licence investigations to the appropriate authorities. We shall be pleased to make arrangements for this to be done if we find items of concern or if particularly required by our client.

Why is it important to get an RICS member?

  • RICS members are qualified and experienced professionals offering independent and impartial advice
  • You can be confident the advice you get will be of the highest and most professional standard possible
  • RICS members must update and enhance their skills, knowledge and competence throughout their working life through RICS’ Continuous Professional Development regulations
  • All RICS members must follow a strict code of conduct, which regulates how they deal with their clients and their clients’ money
  • Consumers are protected by a formal complaints handling procedure.

What to expect when you hire a chartered or technical surveyor

Qualified RICS members should always act in the best interests of their clients, employers and the wider public interest. They will:

  • Act with integrity and honesty
  • Deal fairly and openly with clients
  • Disclose conflicts of interest
  • Respect confidentiality
  • Safeguard clients’ assets entrusted to them.

In carrying out work they will:

  • Act promptly, diligently and with due skill and care
  • Keep their professional and business knowledge up-to-date
  • Act within clearly established guidelines
  • Keep clients informed in a comprehensive and timely manner
  • Act in accordance with RICS guidelines as applicable
  • Carry appropriate professional insurances.

The ‘mark’ of a qualified surveyor

A chartered surveyor will use the letters MRICS or FRICS – meaning they are either a member or a fellow of RICS

A technical surveyor will use the letters AssocRICS – meaning they are a qualified technical member of RICS


If you are in doubt whether someone is a genuine member of the RICS, we can carry out a check on your behalf.

Why you should choose Survey Spain

Thank you for your enquiry. We shall be very pleased to assist. It will help us to quote accurately for the work if we know where the property is and what type it is. A copy of our standard work description and terms and conditions can be found on our website, but these can be tailored to each client’s particular requirements.

As to why you should use Survey Spain, we suggest you compare us bearing in mind the following:

  1. The Survey Spain Network uses 12 RICS surveyors and valuers around Spain and the islands, all with many years experience of inspecting property around Spain plus UK, mainland Europe and many other parts of the World.
  2. We are professional property surveyors and valuers, being RICS Chartered Surveyors. This is as a result of our being university trained and requiring further tests after periods of practical experience.
  3. We are bound by professional and ethical rules of conduct and you have a right of appeal to our professional organisation in the event of there being any problems.
  4. We have full RICS compliant professional indemnity insurance.
  5. The majority are British and will report to you in English. Our culture is likely to be the same as yours, more or less, but we are fluent in Spanish to assist with discussions with owners, developers, contractors, etc.
  6. Because we are professionals, our reports are likely to be taken more seriously by Law Courts, developers, contractors, lawyers, etc.
  7. In addition to all the normal minor defects and snagging points, we are able to comment upon any that might have more significant structural or quality of construction effects.
  8. We have the required construction vocabulary in Spanish for transferring the details to the developer in a style that the building contractor and tradespeople will understand. Without that, you can have a list of what you know needs to be done, but which the actual tradesmen on-site will not be able to understand or respect.
  9. We know what we are doing and why we are doing it; which is to maximise the benefit to you.
  10. We’ll be pleased to hear from you.

Complaints procedure of Survey Spain S.L.(formerly Ferguson Eley S.L. trading as Survey Spain)


Under the mandatory RICS regulations, we have a scheme for the handling of complaints against Survey Spain S.L. We notify you that our procedure is as follows.

  1. We must be open and honest with Clients, working on an ‘open book basis, including declaring all possible conflicts as soon as they become known to us even if not raised by the Client.
  2. We must be professional, conscientious and thorough in our work and treatment of Clients.
  3. We must work within the Rules and Regulations of the RICS except where they are impractical or not applicable to RICS members working in Spain.
  4. In the event of a complaint or realisation of circumstances that could lead to one, the Directors and employees must inform all the Directors immediately in writing (incl. email).
  5. As soon as that is received the Client must be provided with a copy of this Complaint Procedure.
  6. The Directors must then discuss the situation and jointly decide the action to be taken, including whether it warrants informing our professional indemnity insurer.
  7. In the event of the individual within the Company, against whom the complaint is specifically raised, not being able to conclude the situation to the Clients satisfaction within a reasonable timescale, he should prepare a report for the others of all the circumstances and his conclusion. He should give that to the others along with all the papers including copy emails. The others should review the situation and then discuss, agree and implement the Company’s response to the Client.
  8. In the event of the Client still being dissatisfied, the matter should be referred to the appropriate Spanish arbitrator, depending upon whether the client is an individual or a business. For individuals, this is regulated by Artílo 31 de la Ley General para la Defensa de los Consumidores y Usuarios and any subsequent amendments. For a business their arbitration recourse is by way of the arbitration procedure of Malaga Chamber of Commerce.
  9. In the event of the Client still being dissatisfied, the matter should be transferred to our PI insurer for further advice and action, if they have not already taken responsibility earlier in the process.

MAY 2005 (Revised rename change July 2009 and Section 8 November 2013)