As in many other professions in the built environment, estate surveying and valuation profession has a fair share of pseudo-professionals, otherwise known as quacks, who masquerade as genuine practitioners in housing and construction industry.
This has been a long-subsisting phenomenon that is blighting the image and integrity of genuine, trained and registered estate surveyors and valuers. But hope is now in the horizon as the newly inaugurated leadership of the estate surveyors and valuers registration board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) has set out with ambitious plans to tackle the menace.
Drawing from the strength of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Decree which specifically states that it is only registered estate surveyors and valuers that are qualified to carry out valuation job in Nigeria, the new board says its focus is in compliance with the provisions of that law.
“The focus of this board is to work in compliance with the provisions of the law which sets out to regulate the practice of estate surveying and valuation. We are aware that in the construction industry there are lots of non-professionals who hold themselves out as professions which is creating wrong impressions among the public as to who estate surveyors and valuers are”, said Oluyinka Sonaike, ESVARBON’s new chairman at a press conference in Lagos recently.
Sonaike, one-time president of the Nigerian institution of estate surveyors and valuers (NIESV), was inaugurated ESVARBON chairman in Abuja recently. He studied Estate Management in UK and has garnered over 40 years foreign and local working experience as an estate surveyor and valuer.
The thinking within the institution is that the easy infiltration of their profession by quacks is because of the small number of registered estate surveyors and valuers which is below 5,000 in a country of over 170 million people. “One of the main objectives of this new board is to get the message across to the public the true position and function of an estate surveyor and valuer”, Sonaike assured.
Apart from surveying and valuation, estate agency practice is also an aspect of this profession and it is one area that has become an all comers affair. It is pretty difficult, most times, to distinguish between a professional estate agent who should be an estate surveyor and a valuer and a quack.
The new chairman therefore sees it as the board’s duty to educate the members of the public who the estate surveyor and valuer is. And to address the imbalance in the proportion of estate surveyors and valuers to the huge population they service, he said, the number of registered members must go up.
“What this means to us is increasing the membership strength of the profession from 4000 to well above this figure. It is my projection that within my three-year tenure, we would be able to increase the number by at least 2,000”, he assured.
Sonaike is not comfortable with the attitude of even the informed in both private and public sectors who he accused of sidelining the profession to give valuation job to non-professional firms. He cited instance of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which, he alleged, was arranging to value all corporately owned property in Lagos with a view to taxing them.
“FIRS has engaged the services of a non-professional firm to carry out the valuation these properties and when you talk about corporately owned properties, you will be talking about properties owned by companies like Zenith Bank, Gtbank, Nigerian Breweries, PZ Industries and other big industries and banks”, he noted, and assured that the board would look into such situations and, where appropriate, would take steps to remedy them.