The increasing numbers qualifying as Chartered Surveyors is cause for optimism in these uncertain times.
As the economy continues to recover, Chartered Surveyors are getting busier and making their contribution to economic growth. It is good to see that in 2017, 116 graduates applied for Final Assessment of their APC, of which 98 were successful. Congratulations to them. This is a large number of new Chartered Surveyors. They are qualifying into a profession where there is great demand and, given the shortage of accommodation and the deficit in infrastructure, there is every likelihood that the numbers will grow in future. This means that the Society will be strengthened and hopefully many of these young surveyors will get involved in the Society and contribute to its work of developing the profession in Ireland.
As reported in this edition of the Surveyors Journal, at the National Conference, Daniel Susskind, co-author of The Future of the Professions, spoke about the prospect of machines displacing professionals. He pointed out that if the growth in computer processing power is continuous, in the near enough future a computer will have the processing power of the human brain. Quite often in the media, speculative pieces can be seen where it is said that specific professions are particularly threatened by all this. It seems unlikely, however, that the particular set of skills possessed by Chartered Surveyors is in the immediate firing line. A lot of surveyors are engaged in negotiation, which is an essentially human activity that will probably not be amenable to machine power. Only time will tell.
At what was a successful and clearly interesting conference, John Moran, the former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, also spoke, saying that we need a complete rethink of how we build our country and plan for the future. Tellingly, he pointed out that it’s very hard to think of a good example of Irish town development or urban development since probably the foundation of the State. There are of course some examples, e.g., Marino in Dublin, on the north side of the city, the first significant building scheme by Dublin Corporation, now Dublin City Council, after independence. In a time of housing shortage it’s worth remembering that the first government of the State, under W.T. Cosgrave, built an estimated 26,000 houses, while twice as many were built within the first five years of the subsequent Fianna Fáil administration. There is a lesson here somewhere.
The National Planning Framework document will be out shortly and it will be important for surveyors to make a contribution to the debate about physical growth that will ensue.