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RICS puts retail property in the spotlight

A number of changes are taking place on the high street which will have a significant impact on the type of advice given by surveyors to their clients.

A new information paper being produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) aims to identify and explain the reasons for these changes and outline the ways in which retail trends may impact chartered surveyors.

According to RICS, the demand for retail space is declining with some estimates suggesting that half the existing retail space in some high streets will become redundant. This has implications not just for the vacated units but for healthy trading conditions for the remaining occupied units. It also has implications for the future use of empty space. In response, the government has launched a number of policy initiatives aimed at keeping high streets healthy. Many of these changes will impact on the way surveyors approach their work.

The aim of the RICS information paper is to explain the most important drivers of change on the high street, to outline the government’s policy response and to suggest to surveyors how this may impact on their work. Surveyors from many specialisms may be affected and the aim is not to produce detailed technical guidance for all of them but to identify the main impacts of change which surveyors may need to consider and to point out the contribution that different specialisms can make.

Work on the information paper began in September. Anyone with an interest in this area of practice and who feels they could make a contribution should contact: Tony Mulhall, Associate Director to the RICS Land Group, by email at

For more information on the retail sector contact Keith Low, associate at Watts Group PLC, on 0117 927 5800.

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.