EUROPE – Valuers are failing to collect and use data on assets' sustainability performance, according to a soon-to-be-published survey of 305 valuers in Switzerland, the UK and Germany.

Report co-author Sarah Sayce, head of the school of surveying and planning at Kingston University, told the recent 40 Percent symposium: "Valuers are led by the evidence on the ground, clients' instructions, professional guidance and to a large extent their own judgement – not by collected data."

Sayce said a year ago there had been demand for a market-led approach, but the most recent data suggest significant variability of demand between markets from lenders and investors.

In the UK, for example, 60% of valuers said investors had not asked them to report on sustainability performance.

"Valuers are not collecting data, and the types of data used are extremely variable," Sayce said. "There is no European convergence."

In response to an audience question, she added: "There is not enough data – but there are too many ways of putting it together. The problem is that there's a semi-understanding of some of these measures. 

"What valuers really need to know is what will influence the value of the asset. Labels? Energy?"

She said valuers were still focusing primarily on energy consumption, despite evidence that certificates were "too broad-brush" as indicators.

"They need to have a deep understanding of a wide range of sustainability criteria," she said. "The big question will be which buildings we should just abandon and which are worth investing in for the long term."

Recent amendments to the professional guidance distributed to valuers offered some hope of improvement because it offered "a much stronger steer".

"It might not sound like a big deal, but it is," Sayce said. "[RICS] guidance is not quite 'thou shalt', but it's close. But the guidance still needs to be upgraded."