Mr. Benjamin Okeke is a BSc holder in real estate, a chartered member of NIESV and a registered member of ESVARBON. He has been operating in the real estate industry for over 7 years.
He started his career with Diya Fatimilehin and co., worked for 6 years and rose to the position of Assistant Head Of Valuation.
In this interview, he talked about the required criteria needed to become a chartered estate surveyor and valuer
NREH: What does it take to become a chartered estate surveyor and valuer?
Mr. Benjamin: To become chartered, it is solely based on experience, unlike other professional exams like ICAN where you can just sit for the exam, pass and get qualified. You need to have a minimum of 3 years working experience before you can be qualified to take the exam. A lot of fresh graduates fail this because they find it difficult to answer most of the questions which are things they are expected to have learnt while on the field.
NREH: What are the steps and the requirements?
Mr. Benjamin: The first step is the exam which is called PPE (Professional practice exam). We have two categories which are for HND and BSC holders. BSC holders write PPE while HND holders write PQE (Professional qualification exam) before writing PPE.
After the exam, you will provide a project topic. Your project topic has to be something that will give you practical knowledge of the industry. Some of us that did valuation had to sight a case in our report about the valuation we carried out. After choosing our topic, we submitted to our supervisor for approval then after approval, we went ahead with the project.
While writing the project, you are expected to have 20 credit units. To get this, you must have attended 2 national conferences, 1 national CPD(Continual practice development) then 1 State CPD
The national conference is 7 credit units, State CPD is 5 credit units while National CPD is 3 credit units. After doing all these and you have the required 20 credits then you can package it with your project for defence
After the defence, you will be interviewed by the committee set up at the national level. It is called a National interview. They have one coming up soon. If you pass the interview, you will be accepted into the institution and you’ll get your certificate
NREH: What’s the difference between being an ordinary member of NIESV and a chartered member?
Mr. Benjamin: NIESV is an institution on its own. We also have another institution called ESVARBON. It is a government regulated agency which gives you the certificate to practice.
After getting your NIESV certificate, the next stage is to proceed to ESVARBON which means you have to be a member of NIESV before moving to ESVARBON. Without ESVARBON, you can’t be a chartered estate surveyor and valuer.
NREH: How has this certificate helped your career development?
Mr. Benjamin: Having the certificate alone has given me the license to practice. I can set up my own firm and seal off reports because the real essence of the certificate is for valuation
Secondly, when you are going into a real estate firm, they see you as a partner, not as an employee. The only difference between you and the owner of the company is the years of practice. We still have higher ranks like Associate and Fellow. Fellow is based on the years of experience like 20 years and the individual must have done a lot of presentations and supervised a lot of people.
NREH: What advise do you have for a young graduate of Estate management who wants to be on the same career path with you?
Mr. Benjamin: People don’t take being chartered seriously because this industry can be deceptive. The moment you start making quick money, you might just forget about the practice. That’s why we have a lot of quacks in the industry. A time will come when that certification will be needed and it might be a big contract you will not be able to acquire without the required certificate. It is better you make hay while the sun shines and continue progressing in your career. That is very key. You might not see the benefit at the moment but it’s something that will open opportunities for you later in the future.
NREH: What plans do you have for the future?
Mr. Benjamin: My plan is to set up my own firm but I’m not going into that soon. I’m looking at becoming a consultant to real estate sections, banks, and multinational organisation. For now, I am still gathering contacts, working on my exposure and experience so that when I start my own firm, it won’t look like starting afresh
NREH: Thanks for your time sir
Mr. Benjamin: You are welcome