FOCUS ON COURSE: Estate Management & Valuation

Last time we focused on economics as a course of study, the history and prospects, with special reference to Nigeria. Our guest writer this week is Mayowa Akinsola. In this piece, he enlightens us on Estate Management as a course of study and as a career.

By Mayowa Akinsola

The origin of Estate Surveying and Valuation commonly referred to as Estate Management in higher institutions in Nigeria dates back to the beginning of time. At creation, God established the Garden of Eden and put Adam and Eve in charge of it (Genesis 2:15). Thus Adam and Eve were the first Estate Surveyors and Valuers since Eden was the first estate known to man.

However, the evolution of Estate Surveying and Valuation as a distinct and recognized profession is a middle Ages development rooted in the feudal societies of Europe. The Lords of the Manor of Medieval Europe owned extensive and sometimes far-flung holdings. Usually, only a portion of each of these estates was held and exploited directly by the land owners. The rest, which constituted the bulk of these holdings, was given out to tenants and serfs to use, either for a fee or under some feudal arrangement. On account of the size and disparate locations of these holdings, each landowner appointed stewards or agents to oversee these estates for them. At the beginning what was required of these stewards was that they were men of honour who could be trusted in fiduciary relationships. This explains the sobriquet, “Noble” which is attached to the profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation.

As time went on the business of managing these estates rose in sophistication, the requirements for the job increased. First, it became necessary that the practitioners were also lettered, in order to keep pace with the demands of ever increasing record-keeping. Next, a  knowledge of book-keeping was required, to accommodate the accounting requirements involved. Later on, the ability to tackle various proprietary and commercial relationships involved in managing these estates introduced Surveying, Law, Commerce, Economics and Statistics into the profession.

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The modern foundation of what is now known variously as Estate Management, Estate Surveying and Valuation, or Land Economics was laid in the mid-eighteenth century. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, a major reorganization took place in most of Europe. In the United Kingdom especially, this resulted in a massive population shift from rural to urban areas and a consequent redistribution of land rights and proprietary interests.

At the dawn of the 19th century, the practitioners of the various skills comprising Estate Management banded themselves into trade groups or guilds. Later on there were definite moves to form a distinct professional group to embrace the various classifications. The most serious moves began in London on 27 June, 1843 with the formation of the Land Surveyors Club. There were fits and starts in this respect until the establishment of the Surveyors Institution on 23 March, 1868, which metamorphosed into the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors(RICS) in 1946.

In Nigeria, the profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation followed in the wake of colonialism with F.G Gleave, an expatriate being the first known Chartered Surveyor to set up a General Practice or an Estate Surveying and Valuation firm in the country in 1955. Hitherto, there were a few Chartered Surveyors in private and public employment in Nigeria.

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The profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation is defined as the arts, science and practice of:

1. Determining the value of all descriptions of property and of the various interests therein;

2. Managing and developing estates and other businesses concerned with the management of landed property;

3. Securing the optimal use of land and its associated resources to meet social and economic needs;

4. Determining the structure and condition of buildings and their services and advising on their maintenance, alteration and improvement;

5. Determining the economic use of land resources by means of financial appraisal for the building industry; and

6.  Selling (whether by auction or otherwise) and buying or letting (as agent) of real and personal property and of any interest therein.

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Historically, Estate Surveying and Valuation profession was concerned almost exclusively with the operations of residential, commercial and industrial properties on behalf of individual owners who wanted to be relieved of the responsibilities of personally attending to the details of rent collections, property maintenance and record keeping as regards the property, but with the advent of civilization and sophistication in commercial practices, the profession responded in like manner by expansion in scope which has made it a specialized type of management with various branches. These branches include:

1. Valuation: This is the estimation of the capital or rental value of land/ or building at a particular point in time.

2. Estate Agency: This entails the buying and selling of property interests.

3. Property Management: This involves the overall administration and maintenance of properties.

4. Project Development: This is the co-ordination of the development of a property from inception to completion. This aspect entails the following activities; project conceptualization, feasibility and viability studies, securing development finance, project supervision and project maintenance.

5. Estate Consultancy Services: This revolves general advice on property transactions.

6. Arbitration Services: This entails acting as an intermediary between disputing parties.

Other ancillary services but important branches of the profession are; property rating, auctioneering, estate brokerage, investment appraisal, compensation and compulsory acquisition matters and land economy.

Based on the foregoing, it is evidently clear that the profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation is a multi-disciplinary one requiring appreciable knowledge of law, building construction and quantitative subjects like accounting, statistics among others.

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By training, an Estate Surveyor and Valuer is indeed the best equipped to handle matters relating to the sale of real estate. Simply put, they are trained to harness and advise on and manage resources in land and landed property. In Nigeria, the body that is legally empowered to cater for and control of the activities of Estate Surveyors and Valuers is the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV). The institution is a non-profit voluntary, professional organization set up in 1969.The Institution  was accorded official government recognition six years later by the promulgation of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Act which is more popularly known as Decree Number 24 of 1975.

The legislation established the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria, ESVARBON, as a corporate body empowered to regulate the profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation in Nigeria.

 

Akinsola is an Estate Management graduate of the University of Lagos and a chartered accountant.

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Other contributions on FOCUS ON COURSE/CAREER are welcomed  for publication, subject to meeting our standard.

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