Estates Gazette have kindly given me permission to make a copy of my recent article on the valuation of renewable energy installations available as a pdf file, here: Estates Gazette 18 August 2012: Renewable Energy valuation. This article was first published in the Estates Gazette on 18 August 2012. It is reproduced here with its permission. Copyright: Estates Gazette 2012. I hope this will be helpful to readers who may not have ready access to Estates Gazette or its subscription-based website.
The article summarises the Information Paper published by RICS earlier this year. RICS Practice Statements, Guidance Notes and Information Papers are important to practising chartered surveyors because they are expected to be aware of their contents in order to ensure that high professional standards are upheld and promoted. The ultimate purpose of this is to ensure that clients who rely on their surveyors and valuers for advice will know that high standards are being maintained. Practising chartered surveyors who do not follow RICS guidance can find themselves in trouble with the institution, facing the ultimate sanction of loss of membership.
The production of an official RICS Information Paper like this is therefore an onerous process. First the author works with the RICS staff and a working group on the overall structure and theme of the paper. As author of the paper it was essential to distill the initial thoughts of members of the working group. The group included chartered surveyors, solicitors and accountants, 15 members who are all very familiar with the topic of the paper. Early drafts of the paper are reviewed by the group before an agreed draft is sent to the RICS Valuation Standards Board for consideration. This is to ensure that the new guidance will be consistent with the RICS Valuation Standards (colloquially the Red Book). Further amendments are then needed before the draft paper is published for consultation. This phase is sometimes restricted to RICS members, but for this paper public consultation was desirable in view of its potential wide interest to the renewable energy and investment community.
Amendments arising from the public consultation are then dealt with one by one before the draft is again cleared by the Working Group. Now it goes back to the Valuation Standards Board for their final approval before publication. Great care is taken throughout this process to ensure that the document is appropriate for its purpose. This Information Paper for example, started life as a Guidance Note but the tone and nature of its content meant that it was more appropriate to issue it as an Information Paper. Finally the draft is handed over to the design team and published.
As an academic chartered surveyor, this offers an interesting comparison with ‘academic’ publishing in which a research paper is submitted to an academic journal, reviewed by two or three blind referees, comments considered by the author and editor, leading to publication. The ‘status’ of such a paper is often determined by the ‘Impact Factor’ of the journal in which it is published, and this can be very important to the academic prestige of the author. Professional publications in the form of monographs like the Information Paper do not attract this prestige in academic circles, yet which has the furthest reach and impact on professional practice?