The RICS APC Quantity Surveying Competencies That You Need to Know

This entry is all about the RICS Quantity Surveyor pathway competencies that you need to cover. I will also discuss as to which optional competencies I have chosen for my route.

The competencies

The competencies that we will need to meet is based on the RICS Quantity surveying & construction pathway guide. As a Quantity Surveyor, we will need to cover 3 types of competencies: Mandatory, Core and optional.

The mandatory competencies covers common topics covered in all the pathways available under the RICS. This means it will cover personal, interpersonal, professional and business practices.

The core competencies covers topics that are specific to your field, this means we will be covering contract practice, project financial control, and reporting, etc..

The optional competency, these I believe are more of competencies where you are specialised in or you do a lot of work with. For example, I don’t work with BIM at all and I don’t think it is fair I should be assessed on its use.

Levels of competency

Each competency topics has a level that you will need to achieve to pass your APC. There are 3 levels:

  • Level 1 – Knowledge & understanding
  • Level 2 – Application of knowledge and understanding
  • Level 3 – reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge

or simply… know, apply and advise.

I think this is key when you’re learning and undertaking your day to day activities. While talking to my peers who completed their APC the recommended that I should gather a list of examples for each competency so that I can demonstrate level 2 and 3.

Explaining the levels in detail:

Level 1 – knowledge and understanding

Level 1 is explaining what learning you have done to gain this level. You have to be able to demonstrate the understanding of the topic.
I am planning on achieving these level 1 via demonstrating that I have undertaken an undergraduate and post-graduate in that competency. I will also be on just explaining the what of each competency. For example “what is procurement?”, “what is insolvency?”, etc…

Level 2 – Application of knowledge and understanding

In level 2 is about demonstrating that you can use the knowledge and understanding into practice. Here I am planning on using examples from previous projects to demonstrate the application of the knowledge.
I will be referring to specific scenarios for each competency so that I can knock it off.
Within the examples, I will include the role I played in the project, the project type as well as the specific of the scenario. This needs a lot of practice, and hopefully I will be able to demonstrate this while writing about them here.

Level 3 – Reasoned advice and depth of knowledge

In level 3 it is about demonstrating that you provided professional advice to your clients with examples of the options and the considerations for providing that option.

So while I am going through my day to day activities and writing my daily diary log I will be keeping in mind examples I could use to demonstrate these competencies. I will try to share somewhere while I am going through the motion of learning each topic under the competencies. This is important for your summary of experience document that you need to produce for your submission.

Photo by robstephaustralia

The list of competencies

Mandatory Competencies

Level requirements – Level 3

  • Conduct rules, ethics and professional practice

Level requirements – Level 2

  • Client Care
  • Communication & negotiation
  • Health & safety

Level requirements – Level 1

  • Accounting principles & procedures
  • Business planning
  • Conflict avoidance, management and dispute resolution procedures
  • Data management
  • Sustainability
  • Team working

Technical competencies:

Core Competencies

Level 3

  • Commercial management of construction or Design Economics & cost planning
  • Contract practice
  • Construction Technology and environmental services
  • Procurement & tendering
  • Project financial control and reporting
  • Quantification and costing of construction works

Optional competencies

Level 2

  • Building information modeling (BIM) management
  • Capital allowances
  • Commercial management of construction or Design economics and cost planning (please note that you cannot have both at level 2)
  • Contract Administration
  • Corporate recovery and insolvency
  • Due diligence
  • Insurance
  • Programming and planning
  • Project Evaluation
  • Risk Management
  • Conflict avoidance, management and dispute resolution procedures or Sustainability

In addition you will also need to select one of the fields for the pathway for the APC. The fields are:
* Construction
* Civil Engineering
* Railways
* Petro-chemicals
* Oil/gas installations
* Mechanical and electrical installations

Choosing your optional competency

For my two optional competencies I will be choosing contract administration and design economics and cost planning. Even though I could do conflict avoidance, management, and dispute resolutions procedures. I feel that because I don’t have enough practical experience in that area to be comfortable to demonstrate level 2.
Contract administration is something that I do on a daily basis so it should be ok for me to attain level 2.
With Design economics and cost planning I feel I comfortable with that as I had prepared and priced a couple of tenders in my years as a Quantity Surveyor that I can talk about. I also have experience in updating the cost plan for the cost report on a design and build project. Which, to be honest, is a very long and hard exercise to update continuously if the drawing or work packages have not been produced. It also helps you go out to tender for these packages as you have measured the works.

Of course, you can select any other competencies under the optional list that meets your experience on site. There is a nice guide to selecting your optional competencies on page 53 of the Quantity Surveying Pathway guide.

Ethics add-on notes

Being part of the RICS we have to abide by the rules of conduct . The RICS has 5 ethical standards we need to work towards to and implement them in our everyday role.

  • Take responsibility
  • Treat each other with respect
  • Always provide a high standard of service
  • Act with integrity
  • Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession.

There is a free ethics module from the RICS website which can be found at If you follow the online instruction, you’ll be able to get to the course page which is free. At the end of the course, you’ll have 20 multiple choice questions where you’ll be assessed.

More information on the rules and regulation can be found at

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Published by

Bhavesh Ramburn

Commercial Manager - Quantity Surveyor with 10+ years in the construction industry.

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