Martin Brühl, RICS

RICS is the world's leading professional body for setting standards in the surveying industry, with members all around the globe delivering knowledge and serving the public interest at a local level. In an exclusive interview with Europe Real Estate, Martin Bruhl, RICS’ Senior Vice President talked about the importance of RICS valuation and professional standards for the European real estate sector.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your role in RICS.

I was elected RICS Senior Vice President on July 1, 2013 and I am Head of International Investment Management at Union Investment Real Estate, a major German open-ended fund provider. I am in charge of property acquisitions and disposals in Asia, the Americas and the UK. My background is in valuation and capital markets advisory and during most of my professional life I have worked for international consultancy firms, notably Cushman & Wakefield.

Within RICS, I was a board member of RICS Deutschland and a member of the RICS Valuation Faculty Board and in my current role I actively promote the recognition of RICS standards and its model of professional self-regulation around the globe.

When is RICS launching its new Red Book?

This new edition of the RICS Valuation - Professional Standards January 2014 (Red Book) will be published early in November 2013 and will become effective on January 6, 2014 replacing all previous versions of the Professional Standards. It is fully compliant with the International Valuation Standards (IVS), which have also been updated and are effective from January 2014.

The Red Book is mandatory for RICS members valuing assets - commercial, residential and other property, as well as land, plant, machinery, and other business assets. It covers all of the mechanics of valuation, including assembly, interpretation, and reporting of information, and is applicable for both RICS regulated and non-regulated firms.

Can you describe what has changed from the previous edition?

The layout of the Professional Standards has been reorganized so that material that previously appeared in different parts of the 2012 edition has been brought together to improve clarity and ease of use and to avoid repetition. The Professional Standards are now more in line with the IVS standards, and especially with IVS scope of work, framework and reporting and they have been updated to include new material on special assumptions relating to projected values.

They also offer new guidance on the valuation of intangible assets, businesses and business interests. The global guidance notes have been updated as the RICS Global Valuation Practice Guidance – Applications (VPGA). These Applications focus on the relevance and implementation of the professional standards in specific contexts.

Since April 30, 2011, RICS Members carrying out Red Book valuations in the UK have been required to be members of the Valuer Registration Scheme (VRS). The essence of the scheme is to monitor Red Book compliance, which promotes transparency of valuation processes. VRS compliance promotes professional expertise and shows the market that you follow best practice ethics and valuation reporting.

Why should a real estate professional trust a RICS-certified valuer? How do RICS standards guarantee the reliability of a valuer and/or a specific valuation?

RICS Valuer Registration is a proactive regulatory scheme that monitors all registered RICS members who are conducting valuations in accordance with RICS Valuation Standards (the RICS Red Book). Every RICS Registered Valuer’s annual return is risk-assessed and reviewed and VR helps to safeguard consistent and high-quality valuations by ensuring that standards laid out in the Red Book are being maintained and correctly applied.

RICS Valuer Registration allows the profession to manage risk as members not only commit to high standards, but have these independently reviewed and the quality continuously improved by feedback, guidance and continuing professional development.

Do you think the economic slowdown has increased the importance of accurate and reliable valuation in real estate?

I believe accurate valuations are important at all times- they are the lifeblood of the market. Accurate valuations allow better decision making by governments, businesses, organisations and individuals, increasing market efficiency. The slowdown just highlights the requirement for accurate valuation information.

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