Countrywide Surveying Services

In October, Countrywide Surveying Services (CSS) launched PropertyFact.

PropertyFact is an online offering which allows valuers to complete a desktop-based assessment of the property. The tool aims to improve the quality, accessibility and efficiency of property-related information required by its valuers and helps reduce risk for lender clients.

Features include:

  • Address validation and integration to Google maps which allows quick and easy identification of the property and its surroundings.
  • Risk Perils – every instruction is screened against risk perils such as flooding and ground stability along with providing additional location information, property attribute details and energy ratings.
  • Ability to triage any instruction against set location or lender specific rules based on LTV, property age, style and type and more.
  • All site notes, risk perils and documentation are stored electronically for audit purposes.
  • Lender guidance – surfacing lender guidance directly to the surveyor as they complete each section of the remote valuation assessment.

The business also sought to address the future challenges around sustainability and upskill our 450+ surveyor workforce to meet the demands of sustainability, by creating a new Sustainability Department, headed up Ana Bajri. Ana has previously held a number of roles at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) over the past nine years, plus also sits on a number of industry groups and is currently a deputy chair of the Home Buying & Selling Industry Group.

We also continue to host bi-monthly webinars which in 2021 have been attended by over 800 mortgage industry professionals including lenders, surveyors and brokers and panellists have included:

  • Robert Stevens, Head of Property Risk at Nationwide Building Society
  • Charlie Blagbrough – Mortgage Policy Manager, Building Societies Association
  • Emma Harvey – Programme Director, Green Finance Institute
  • Adrian MacDiarmid – Head of Mortgage Lender Relations, Barratt Developments
  • David O’Leary – Policy Director, Home Builders Federation
  • Fiona Haggett – Head of Valuation, Barclays UK
  • Ben Elder – Global Director of Valuation, RICS

These webinars have resulted in us publishing stories such as 71% of property professionals think valuers should reflect the EPC rating in value depending on a property’s EPC rating and only 1% of industry professionals have total faith in the government to resolve the cladding issue within the next two years.

In February, we promoted Rebecca Freeman to director of field operations. Rebecca joined the firm in 2004 on its graduate training programme and later became a residential surveyor in 2006. In addition, she has also been involved with RICS as part of its diversity and inclusion campaign and is one of many women we have promoted to senior positions within the business in 2021.

The CSS Training Academy has delivered 250+ surveyors into the industry over the past six years. We have over 60 new trainees currently attaining their qualifications whilst working with us, many of whom are women and/or come from different ethnic groups, which is a testament to our efforts in bringing new diverse talent into the business.