Countrywide Surveying Services takes on 60 trainee surveyors

Countrywide Surveying Services has recruited 60 new trainee surveyors weeks after launching its new training scheme.

The firm plans to take on another 30 applicants in January 2014, taking the total to 90.

After completing their training, which will take between six and eight months, trainees will then be eligible for associate membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Applicants must have fours years residential property experience or be degree qualified and have worked in the property industry for two years.

Countrywide Surveying Services managing director Paul Chapman says: “It is clear from the huge response we received for a place on our programme that there is high demand for jobs and careers in the residential surveying industry.

“Encouraging new blood into the surveying profession is key to unlocking the surveyor capacity issue and we are pleased to be at the forefront of recruiting, training and developing talented individuals who are keen to develop a career as a professional surveyor.”

The new recruits have come on board at a time when the surveying sector has been dogged by huge service delays – the extent of which was revealed by Mortgage Strategy – with some firms having to turn away business.

In June Mortgage Strategy mystery shopped three of the UK’s biggest valuation firms to investigate complaints from brokers who were experiencing major delays instructing valuers in London.

Posing as a borrower, Mortgage Strategy contacted three surveyors – Colleys, e.surv and Connells – to ask how long it would take to get a homebuyer report and, separately, a less detailed valuation done on a property in SW15, with a mortgage from Halifax. Countrywide were unavailable at the time.

Connells and e.surv revealed that they were currently “on hold” in SW15, meaning they were not accepting new instructions. A customer service representative for Colleys revealed that it was booked up until the first week of July and then its surveyor was off for two weeks, so it was not available until the 22 July.

In the main brokers blamed the delays on a lack of valuers. But RICS hit back and argued that there were enough valuers but because lenders were “squeezing” fees valuers were turning down unprofitable work. The body also blamed high professional indemnity insurance premiums as a result of “unsubstantiated” negligence claims from lenders.

In terms of valuer numbers there are currently 8,500 residential valuers registered, of which 5,500 list residential valuation as their primary activity, and around 2,000 of which work for the largest 20 firms in the UK.

Mortgage Strategy subsequently revealed RICS planned to launch an independent commission to determine the cause of the delays, the findings of which will be published in November.