RICS Sri Lanka convened a media conference Tuesday (23) at The Kingsbury Colombo to announce the upcoming commemoration of its 150th anniversary, which falls on 2 November.
Speakers of the Head Table were RICS Sri Lanka Chairman Sunil Fernando, Senior Vice Chairman Shihaan Burah, Secretary D. Prathapasinghe, Executive Board Member Prof. Chitra Weddikkara, Elmo Fernando and K.A.R.L. Silva.
Opening the media briefing, RICS Sri Lanka Chairman Sunil Fernando elaborated on the rich history of RICS Sri Lanka, and the evolution of the profession from as far as early 1920s to present times. Touching upon the aspects of RICS Global and the services extended in Sri Lanka, as well as the vision and mission of RICS Sri Lanka, Fernando stressed the importance of commemorating a perennial profession that has become imperative to the rapidly evolving real estate and construction sector, especially with the emergence of mega development projects in the country.
He further noted that Sri Lankan university system produces around 250 graduates every year, who will become members of RICS. The future economy of the country will depend on its export products. New generation of RICS professionals will become new contributors in the market.
RICS Sri Lanka Senior Vice Chairman Shihaan Burah highlighted the contribution made by the RICS and its services to the local fraternity. He further explained how RICS is geared to groom students majoring in real estate and construction related disciplines, and make them fully-fledged professionals endowed with the Royal Charter accreditation. Burah also elaborated on the significance of bridging gaps in the industry by coordinating with local universities and increasing the service sector.
He also noted that workshops will be held covering all part of the Island, particularly Northern and the Eastern Province to groom a new generation of RICS membership. This membership will serve as a passport to enter the practice in global real estate industry and the market as part of RICS’ corporate strategy in disseminating specialised knowledge and experience throughout the country.
Stressing upon the recognition of RICS, Secretary of RICS Sri Lanka D. Prathapasinghe went on to explain the significance of recognising the RICS professional equally with other professionals in the country, particularly under the scheme of registration of qualified persons by CIDA.
He also mentioned that the absence of real estate regualtory mechanism in the country leads to an increased involvement of incompetent, unprofessional individuals in the sector, while escalating malpractice, corruption and manipulation. He further emphasised on the importance of establishing integrated regulatory mechanism that would standardise and uphold the quality of real estate industry and transparency on par with global standards, consequently creating a well-established real estate market, free from imperfections and distortions ensuring the public trust.
Highlighting the fact that the real estate literacy level of the country is far below than the global benchmark, he added that such market participants are at risk of obtaining prudent decisions in real estate investment.
Prathapasinghe also pointed out that the country has not established a culture as such to receive competent professional advice when making important decisions in real estate investment. And that it is vital to make the market participants aware of the benefits of getting professional advice and consultancy services in making prudent decisions in investing in real property.
Drawing attention on the lack of a central hub to access data and information on real estate acctivities and transactions, Prathapasinghe stressed that such limitations would compel market participants to lose their prudence. This in turn would lead to uninformed irrational decisions in real estate investments, that are prone to unnecessary high risks apart from industrial risks. He further added that this would cause corruption and manipulation to a great extent, which would ultimately distort the market and market prices.
Sharing his views, RICS Sri Lanka Executive Board Member Prof. Chitra Weddikkara elucidated on knowledge economy, stressing on the impact of Knowledge Index in Sri Lankan real estate and construction market. Prof. Weddikkara further explained the role of RICS and how it continues to enhance the real estate and construction industry on par with global standards.