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RICS Professional Statement (Evidence) G#40205

By 16 January 2022January 31st, 2022Code, Encyclopaedia, Evidence
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RICS Professional Statement Evidence

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RICS Professional Statement Evidence

Public Consultation

The pre-consultation exercise on the use and application of the existing WLCA PS closed on 16th January 2022, they welcomed all contributions at the following link:

Update to Whole Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment – RICS iConsult

Questions 1 to 4 establish the details of the respondent

5   What is your view of the structure and presentation of the existing RICS Professional Statement?


  • Sets out the context and ‘Must’ and ‘Should’: Good start


  • Seriously you care about the Presentation? Focus on the content

What changes would you like to see?

  • See notes below
  • You must provide an answer to this question.

6.  In terms of the subject matter of the existing Professional Statement, what are your views on the content and layout?


  • Line 21 ‘make up a structure’ could be misread as a ‘structure’ of a building not the whole
    • (there is one carbon calculator that focuses on only the structure)
  • Column 2 (BREEAM LEED, etc.)
    • It was inadequately addressed by BRE Green Guide to Specification
      • based on early LCA and early EPD methods,
      • not just Carbon,
      • not green methods of building and not green materials
      • “The least violet of the Violet materials”
  • 1.1 Column 2 Paragraph 2:
    • Reference to triple glazed windows undermines the ambitions of thermal comfort which also drives down temperature demands and energy consumption in-use.
    • Since windows are the considerably largest cause of heat loss from buildings, comments like this are very unhelpful in the hands of a low cost focused or performance and otherwise uninformed QS.
    • Unless this is backed up with specification and EPD evidence it can be detrimental to progress that is needed away from low cost to low WLC.
  • 1.1 Figure 1 There is no indication of the date of Part L should we assume relevant at 2015?
  • 1.1 Last two paragraphs are too much detail for regular QS, its for LCA specialists and could be directed to BRE GGtS.
  • 1.4 Collecting data:
    • Can be beneficial but its needs peer review before adding or it is misleading.
    • Published datasets including carbon could be useful, but carbon and costs will lead the QS trade to carry on focusing on low costs at the expense of environmental impacts.
    • Not forgetting we have just 10 years to sort out the mess we are in, early adoption of essential low carbon materials and methods could be undermined by evidence of long term gains of in-use impacts by high carbon materials.
    • At least 30% of the industry is not adopting BIM so a lost opportunity there.
  • Table 1
    • Could be an Appendix
    • No Practicing QS is going to afford the upfront cost let alone the time to read these documents.
  • 2.0 3rd Paragraph & 3.2.3.
    • Why 100 years here, when Figure 1 is based on 60 years (in text above and 3.2.3)
    • Why is the LCA world muddling with BS and ISO established design-life standards?
    • Design Life: Normal = 60 years in BS, 50 years in ISO
    • Design Life: Long Life = 120 years BS, 100 years in ISO
    • We must focus carbon reduction on the next 10 years so 60 and 100 years are almost irrelevant
    • Having 100 years as a basis for calculation makes Green materials look less green and violet materials look less violet or both look more grey.
  • Carbon target setting:
    • This ignores LETI, RIBA, TfL Welsh TAN 6 ZCD ambitions and other targets
    • Has not defined ‘carbon’ as ‘carbon dioxide’, nor defined  ‘carbon equivalent emissions’?
  • 3.1 Table 2
    • Part of the reasons for bad cost planning is lack of granularity of available data at the early stage of the design.
    • BIM Low Levels of Detail (LoD) and Low levels of Information (LoI) hamper having high Levels of Cost Accuracy (LoCoA) and high Levels of Carbon Accuracy (LoCaA)
    • Designers have not habitually considered maintenance unless forced to by CDM regulations. FM Specification and digital twins can hope to gather such information but its not part of standard build specifications, yet.
  • 3.2.4 Page 12 left column Module D
    • If the project starts with a choice between demolition v refurbishment then Module C & D need to considered together and C will be based on actual rather than projected
  • Table 4 and text below:
    • Refer to Modules, Stages and Scope referring to the same thing. Choose one and stick to it.
  • 3.2.5 Areas
    • 1 BIM model with dimensions could and should be accurate if the Technician has correctly identified all elements correctly and delivers a BoM to work from?
    • 2 BofQ will be +/-10% inaccurate? But based on BIM BoM or Consultant Drawings
    • 2 Cost plan quantities might probably be as inaccurate as BofQ, (based only on client brief room schedules?)
    • 3 Consultants drawings: could and should be accurate if the Technician has correctly identified all elements correctly.
  • 3.2.6. Quantities
    • 1 materials delivered:
      • Includes: excess to requirements, damage and waste factors, and handed to client for FM)
      • Does not account for x% lost on site and diverted to do PJs Private Jobs by sub-contractors)
    • 2 BIM model with dimensions could and should be accurate if the Technician has correctly identified all elements correctly and delivers a BoM to work from?
      • Ignores the wastage and loss factors listed above (in 1 materials delivered)
    • 3 BofQ will be +/-10% inaccurate? But based on BIM BoM or Consultant Drawings
    • 3 Cost Plan probably as inaccurate as BofQ
    • 4 Estimations (Measurements? Inconsistent with 3.2.5) from Consultants drawings: could and should be accurate if the Technician has correctly identified all elements correctly; but will be +/-10% inaccurate?
  • ‘As Built’ is not a true reflection of cost to constructor nor of embodied carbon (ignores all waste and other losses)
  • This is all part of the QS drive to low cost (at the expense of performance, impacts, emissions), that does not reflect the truth.
  • There is a contradiction here ‘as-built’ and ‘gross materials quantities’ allowing for losses.
  • 3.2.7 Units of measure
    • NIA may result in ignoring external and internal corners in quantities
    • 5 of the 7 invite very low levels of accuracy
  • 3.3.1 Table
    • excludes the Micro SMEs without EPDs with innovative low carbon materials
    • (EPD for the simplest materials costs: circa £10,000, more complex products considerably more)
    • The figures probably exclude carbon sequestration of timber products, which is essential to get through the next 10 years
  • 3.4.1 PEFC is not equivalent to FSC in our judgement, Government bodies tell us to assume they are equal.
  • EOL End of Life: if we survive, in 60 or 100 years time the circular economy should be well developed through necessity, it is unlikely that timber will be permitted to be landfilled or incinerated.
  • Table 6
    • Could be an Appendix
    • UK spelling is Galvanized
    • Why should we start a project with default assumptions that do not reflect our standard practices,
    • Why automatically choose high impact materials?
    • Why are all three timbers not FCS Or Equivalent?
  • Table 9
    • Could be an Appendix
    • Table content does not reflect reality
    • e.g. Asphalt roof 60 years, Single layer 25, BUR 20 years
    • Is ‘No Predetermined change of use during 60 year life’ permitted?
    • So much of this is a great deal of work for project that may not go ahead and so there incentive will be to over simplify these process and reuse them without thorough review on subsequent projects.
  • Table 12
    • could be an Appendix
    • Uses BCIS approach to elemental cost planning for carbon planning, is this low level of granularity good enough?


  • Seriously you care about the layout?
  • Table 1 Why is this not an appendix
  • Table 3 Whys is this not an Appendix
  • many tables could be an appendix
  • You must provide an answer to this question.

7.   How accessible and applicable do you believe the existing Professional Statement is in respect to undertaking a LCA?

  • It is not an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) the task is described in all locations as a WLCA (Whole Life Carbon Assessment)
  • LCA is normally associated with a product or generic material or a specific material, it addresses more than Carbon
  • The result of which is an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), most LCA’s EPD are focussed on A1-A3 since manufacturers cannot do crystal ball gazing and many are not thinking circular economy yet.
  • A1 to A3 is the best that can be done without a lots of site specifics; materials, labour and plant availability, which may not yet be available; and needs a crystal ball.
  • Doing a carbon estimate, carbon plan or carbon tender feels like it will be as challenging and time consuming as a Cost Tender.
  • Another profession or service for the LCA profession?
  • We will be the most highly documented demise of a planet’s race.
  • There may be some scope for breaking down the silos and closer teamwork in this area.
  • Table 2
    • So much information is not readily available today, more guidance is needed on how to get it or how to calculate it.
  • EofL End of Life:
    • In the context of number intense LCA, assumptions are unreliable and the industry might have shaken off the shackles of QS Cost Planning and entered the Circular Economy, so many assumptions, like timber will be burned, is probably unlikely.
  • What the RICS PS describes is carbon focused not LCA, and is closer described as an EBS (Environmental Building Declaration), but it has ambitions to address Whole Life Cycle which is well beyond the Construction Industry without enormous help of LCA experts.
  • It is way beyond the RICS professional surveyors capability without considerable extra training.
  • This document does not go far enough to explain how to go about getting data to complete the W in WLCA in the task.
  • You must provide an answer to this question.

8.  Do you have any further comments?

The Construction Industry’s perception of the QS trade is that their only ambition is to set ridiculously low cost targets; weather it is relevant to the Client’s brief and project ambitions.

There after all hell breaks loose on route to scraping the bottom of the barrel; undermined by bad cost planning, building performance is gappy and ultimately we get Grenfell.

Now the RICS wants QS’s to champion carbon, adopt a completely new skill with little or no education and this guide really does not help.

Has every QS got round to BofQ in MS Excel or equivalent yet? They need to be up to speed to also adopt Carbon accounting which will also need to be in MS Excel or equivalent to be able to do dynamic benchmarking easily.

Value engineering could be done intelligently with MS Excel ‘What If’ function.

But it needs intelligent tools that understand intelligent measurement rules and building method to be successful

If Cost Planning as it stands is replaced by or supplemented by Carbon Planning we don’t stand a chance of success.

The RICS needs to address the issue of poor professional education: measurement skills and realistic cost planning ambitions, etc. then add on Carbon literacy and Whole Life Carbon Assessment. And CPD has a mammoth task to re-educate the graduate and qualified professionals.

If QS’s armed with RICS PS promote to designers an ambition to address circular economy and expect redesign to lower impact design and then push back with ridiculously low cost planning targets we will never get good results.

Quantity surveying is progressively getting worse, inadequate wrongly focussed education, gradual moves away from Bills of Quantities and Measurement towards elemental cost planning and schedules of rates; focussing on and prioritising low-cost over quality, resulting in bad cost plans and inevitable project final costs escalating.

The UK construction industry already suffers from increasingly growing inaccuracy in cost planning,

  • based on BCIS, Spon, Laxton, etc. wildly inaccurate rates, lack of granularity of materials and construction methods, simplistic elemental approach, (See Table 3)
  • without green methods of construction increasingly being expected by Clients, BREEAM and adopted by designers;
  • without any allowance for the complexity of real buildings and the interfaces between building, structure, services, finishes.
  • You will not get a green building the brief asked for if you cost plan using Violet Building Price Books.
  • Where are the Green Building Price Books that are urgently needed?

Bad cost planning starts project on the wrong footing and nothing good follows:

  • Cost cutting towards a false budget
  • Cost cutting presented as ‘value engineering’ when its anything but VE
  • Kamikaze tendering, subcontract Dutch bargaining, bread and butter contracts, followed by years of claims for extras
  • Surreptitious specification substitution; omissions, performance gaps, at worse Grenfell;
  • Main contractors insolvency but for 90 day late sub-contract payments, mental health and suicide rates increasing, modern day slavery.

Cost Planning is so widely inaccurate that replacing Cost Planning with Carbon planning (with non-carbon expertise) means we run the risk of failing in this ambition too.

Whoever asked these questions did not have a good understanding of the content, or had deliberately dumbed down the questions. Surely this will only get equally dumb responses?

You must provide an answer to this question.

© NGS GBE GBC Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan

Sunday, 16 January 2022

© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
16th January 2022 – 31st January 2022

RICS Professional Statement Evidence

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© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
16th January 2022

RICS Professional Statement Evidence G#40205 End.

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