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Who are RICS?

The RICS has a strong presence across the UK, with over 500 offices and nearly 50,000 chartered members. They are well placed to help promote an industry-wide Japanese knotweed strategy.

RICS was established in 1868 by a group of individual members and eleven firms who wanted to take the professional standards and practice levels of their time to a higher level. Today, RICS is one of the largest global professional bodies, with more than 140,000 members in over 140 countries.

RICS New Assessment

A new set of recommendations for the assessment of Japanese knotweed in UK properties was published on 22/06/21 (Click here for more) for consultation by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The RICS guidance will cover factors such as providing reassurance that a property affected by Japanese knotweed can be sold, and helps to ensure confidence in the advice provided.

Currently, property sales are in threat due to the effect of Japanese knotweed on a property. The RICS is working on providing a framework for the treatment of Japanese knotweed so that buying and selling property where it’s presence is known is much more straightforward.

The new guidance from RICS will help both surveyors and mortgage brokers to understand the impact of knotweed on property values. This new framework will make it easier for lenders to identify a property affected by the weed. Additionally, it will set out an objective assessment system that will help to identify its severity and prioritise remedial action.

This change to the regulatory framework will remove uncertainty and move the valuation process forward. It will provide more certainty and transparency during the property buying process.

Creating confidence and awareness that knotweed isn’t a death sentence for home sales is a key principle behind this guidance – it’s certainly not the ‘bogey plant’ that some make it out to be.

In most instances the weed can be remediated with effective treatment – so it’s critical that all those involved in the home buying and selling process have access to unbiased, factual information, that sets out when they need to obtain reputable remediation services.

Philip Santo FRICS, the author behind the new guidance

We’ve launched this consultation ensuring the lending community, homebuyers and our chartered professionals get the opportunity to directly engage on how to dispel the myths and misconceptions, help unblock needlessly effected home sales and play our part in the built environment’s war on knotweed.

We will aim to publish a final version later this year, recognising how important it is to bring clarity to the marketplace as quickly as possible – particularly for those in need of help getting their property unstuck - and how to tackle knotweed with the latest expert advice.

Nigel Sellars, RICS professional standards lead

RICS Developments

Knotweed Services have set out some of the key points of the new draft below:

  1. RICS found that Japanese Knotweed is unlikely to cause damage to structurally sound buildings, but it can cause damage to more light structures such as; walls, drains and other ancillary structures.
  2. Research indicates that the distance in which Japanese Knotweed can be expected to have some influence on a structure is 3 meters. RICS confirms that 7 meters was too generous a measurement and in fact, 3 meters for the spreads of the root/rhizome was more appropriate.
  3. Consider the environmental implications of any treatment recommended, which can include using herbicides and excavating. Some treatments take years to reach a conclusion, so they should be backed by an insurance guarantee in case of reappearance – you’re in safe hands witch Knotweed Services, we offer IBGs on our services.
  4. To ensure the professional (and the client) know the extent of the inspection taking place and the different options available, specifications/limitations of a survey or valuation, as well as the scope of duty in the retainer, must be made clear to clients. This includes informing them that if they want specific advice/confirmation on the presence of JKW, they should hire a specialist remediation company, which is part of a recognised trade body.

Once again, Knotweed Services are perfectly positioned to provide all of the above and we are a member of the PCA. 

Our conclusion

RICS clarifies that the guidance aims to move away from the belief that eradication is the only option and residential properties are unsafe or susceptible to damage where Japanese Knotweed is present. The guidance seeks effective management of Japanese Knotweed and gives professionals confidence to conduct inspections and make assessments involving Japanese Knotweed.

Want to find out more about building on land with Japanese Knotweed – click here.


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