New SCSI President Des O’Broin says that the Society should continue to be an organisation which informs and shapes sustainable policy for the national and the profession’s interest.

The SCSI must continue to inform discussion and help shape sustainable development.

It is a genuine privilege to be President of the Society of Charted Surveyors Ireland. I would like to thank you, the members of the Society, for electing me as your President. Chartership was a very important step in my own career path. I have been a Chartered Surveyor for just over 30 years, initially as a quantity surveyor and more recently as a project management surveyor. I am a director of Linesight in Dublin, where I have spent most of those 30 years in the company of three former presidents of the Society. As President, I’ll be tapping in to that experience and the key traits of a good quantity surveyor mixed with my project management experience – clear communications, organisational skills, combined with a team-oriented style of working and decision making.
My three priorities for this year are vision, leadership and value. There needs to be a clear vision on the range of challenges facing the sector and the profession – from the housing shortage and infrastructure deficit through to education. We need to continue with and update the strategic plan based on a clear business case and a long-term plan to develop the Society for members. Indeed, it is no different when addressing major issues for the country. The Government set out its plan for strategic development in Project Ireland 2040. We may have diverse views on elements of that plan but I think we all know that nothing gets built without a plan, particularly longer-term large-scale infrastructure and housing projects, which are in the national interest.
The Society needs to show leadership in the delivery of its vision and maintain its position as the organisation for all things land, property and construction related in Ireland. The SCSI must remain politically neutral but not policy neutral. We must continue to inform the discussion and help shape sustainable policy. This must be based on impartial analysis of the facts and not based on sentiment, soundbites or populist political agendas. Following my election, I had the chance to articulate such an analysis in an opinion piece in The Sunday Times, where I spoke about the need to end the ‘not in my back yard’ (NIMBy) culture in Ireland’s planning process and foster a ‘yes, in my back yard’ (yIMBy) culture. Development in the public interest is being hampered by the existing planning approach, which was made for the Ireland of a different era with a much lower population, in which the majority lived in rural areas.
Lastly, it is perhaps no surprise that as a quantity surveyor, my focus is on the Society demonstrating and delivering value through its collective vision and showing leadership for our profession and the public interest. The Society will strengthen the public appreciation of the value of SCSI members in the built environment, whether they are in the land, construction or property sectors.