038 Residential Surveying and Sustainability with Kate Charrington

Kate Charrington is a residential surveyor and valuer, sustainability and equality advocate and RICS Young Surveyor of the Year finalist. Passionate about sustainability in residential surveying she has developed a voice within the industry through active engagement on social media, in particular LinkedIn where she ranks highly within the industry.

She has been involved with RICS Matrics, Women in Residential Property, Countrywide Surveying Services Communications, and Countrywide Surveying Services Leadership Development programme.

As a creative thinker, Kate aims to inspire young people to use their voice to engage with and enhance a cross-collaborative industry, challenge inequality, promote visibility of minorities, and develop an interest in the sustainable future of our industry by advocating SDG2030.

The Benefit of Estate Agency Experience

Before becoming a surveyor, Kate Charrington was working as an estate agent. She is very appreciative of the skills and experience she gained while being in that position.

“It’s one of those industries, where actually you don’t sell houses, you sell dreams. You can’t force someone to spend a quarter of million plus pounds, depending on where you are in the world. But what you can do is build relationships with people, what their goals are, what’s important to them. I would say that I was excellent at that,” says Kate.  

“I think the estate agency background gave me an incredible amount of transferable skills. It gave me the ability to not be afraid to talk to people who I have never spoken to before on the phone, particularly in surveying, when often you don’t actually meet the client. When it comes to surveying all people really want is someone to tell them what the issues are. Is it going to cost them very much? Is that actually a real problem? Is the house gonna fall down? If they’ve got a professional to say to them ‘though it’s obviously down to your appetite for risk, if it’s not something that I would consider significant, then I think everything’s gonna be okay.’ It’s just that reassurance that people want.”

Stepping Into Visibility

Kate has built a significant online presence in the surveying industry and beyond, and we wanted to know how she decided to step into that kind of visibility.

“I’m naturally a curious person. I don’t like doing the same thing every day, which is why surveying is a great job for a lot of people, because you always see different things. I guess I just wanted to make it better. It started from the fact that when you ask me what I do for a living, often I find it hard to verbalise what it is that I do. And those videos that I did helped me to demonstrate exactly what a surveyor does in very simple terms. The general public doesn’t get what we do, and that’s partly our own doing, because we don’t give them the right perception of our job. So from there I just found myself more and more having a voice. It put me on the map a bit, in terms of being a voice for surveyors, for young surveyors, for female surveyors. It allowed me an outlet to show people that it’s not a male dominated, older guy job, nor should it be. I think we’re on the right trajectory, just maybe need to get there faster,” she explains.

Passion for SDG2030

Kate Charrington is an advocate for equality and sustainability, and actively promotes UN Sustainable Development Goals. She briefly explains SDG2030.  

“Sustainable development goals were born out of the United Nations in 2015. There are 17 goals that cover different elements, like land and water technology, gender equality, climate action, sustainable communities and cities, and others. What they’re trying to do is align developed nations globally to make a peaceful and prosperous world for all.”

As for the role of surveyors in promoting these goals in their practice, Kate sees all of them interrelated and relevant to the property industry.

“SDGs aren’t a one-fix-all thing, they’re not mutually exclusive. That’s why everything is so difficult, because you can’t fix these problems that we have in the world, they are things that we try to mitigate. You can’t separate out one without impacting another. It’s great for businesses to ensure that they can at least try and look at various goals. Equally, as an individual, it’s really helped me to look at what interests me, in particular SDG 5 which is gender equality, SDG 11 about sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 3 about climate action. For me, it’s all about individual action. Without individual action, you can’t have collective action. Without collective action, you can’t make a big impact. People can use whatever framework they’d like, but all it means is that we’re going to align ourselves together with a vision of the future.”

Measuring the Impact

We asked Kate how we can actually measure the impact we are making on the world as individuals, as professionals, and as a society.  

“Measuring is very difficult. What it comes down to is the businesses being vastly more transparent. We’ve got to have a starting point. In the LGBTQ+ sphere we have a lot of ‘pink washing’ done by businesses, and a lot of companies are doing what’s called ‘green washing’ in the environmental sphere. Effectively, it is all talking, no action. Just because you put a rainbow flag during the Pride month, it doesn’t mean you’re ensuring the necessary means to make a more inclusive workplace. But if you are transparent with gender pay gaps for example, that allows you to see where women sit at different levels of business. Measuring is a potential minefield, but I think people just want to see the options,” she concludes.  

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