Our History

Early Days of the P&D Division

Planning & development (P&D) surveyors have a long history in the United Kingdom. When the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors was formed in 1984, its constitution allowed for the provision of a P&D Surveying Division.

At the time, there were very few P&D Surveyors in practice, with only seven P&D members in the HKIS by the late 1990s. They were Sr Eureka CHENG, Sr Kempis LAM, Sr P.C. MOK, Sr Edwin C.L. TSANG, Sr Andrew K.C. WONG, Sr Prof. William SEABROOKE, and Sr Julian WYATT, although these surveyors were also members of the then General Practice (GP) Division.

By late 2000, the consensus was that there might be a genuine need to train more P&D surveyors. Sr Edwin TSANG, a member of the GP Council, initiated an informal paper that called for the setup of a P&D Division. At the same time, the HKIS’s Board of Education requested that P&D members initiate a P&D APC Examination scheme for future potential P&D members and appoint surveyors of other disciplines to join the working group.

The first W.G. meeting on P&D APC was held on 16 May 2000 at the HKIS headquarters. Among those in attendance were:

Sr Prof. William SEABROOKE (P&D); Sr Kempis LAM Chi-ming (P&D); 
Sr Eureka CHENG Tak-yiu (P&D); Sr Edmund HO Hin-kwan (GP); Sr LAU Chi-keung (BS); 
Sr David Chris LEE Tsung hei (BS); Sr Edwin TSANG Ching-lun (P&D)

Between May 2000 and November 2001, ten W.G. meetings on P&D APC were held. The APC Guidelines were formulated and endorsed by the Board of Education. Although P&D membership was small, it was advisable for the P&D APC Exam to be administered by the P&D Group’s education committee. A revised paper was drafted by Sr Tsang in October 2003.

Formation of the P&D Division

By 2000, there were still only the seven aforementioned P&D Members in the HKIS. A study on HKU & MSc (Urban Planning) graduates with GP membership involved Sr Francis LAU, Sr Francis LAM, and Sr Rita LAU. Given the small number of P&D members, multiple membership was thought to be a way to admit additional P&D Members. Accordingly, Sr LAU and Sr LAM were recruited as founding members of the Division.

The first Working Group on the formation of the P&D Division was held on 5 November 2003 with the following present: Sr Prof. William SEABROOKE, Sr Francis LAU, Sr Kempis LAM, Sr Edwin C.L. TSANG, and Sr Julian WYATT.
Apologies came from Sr Eureka CHENG and Sr Michael CHAN.

On 20 November 2003, Sr Edwin TSANG was asked to sit on the HKIS’s General Council as a representative of the P&D Division, whose formation passed through a number of hurdles starting with the setup of a Working Group by 2004. On 2 June 2004, a Provisional Council was established comprising:

Chairman :Sr Edwin TSANG
Vice Chairman/Hon Secretary :Sr Francis LAU
Council Members :Sr Prof. William SEABROOKE
Membership Committee :Sr Eureka CHENG
:Sr Francis LAU
:Sr Edwin TSANG
Education Committee :Sr Edwin TSANG
:Sr Prof. William SEABROOKE
:Sr Kempis LAM

The P&D Divisional Regulations based on the GP Council Regulations were drafted and approved. On 10 November 2005, the PDD Council approved the following members: Sr Francis LAM, Sr Albert SO, Sr Markus LI, Sr Norman NGAI, Sr William YIP, Sr Kenny KONG, and Sr YEUNG Ka Lai as Planning and Development Division members through the multiple membership arrangement. At the 2nd AGM on 23 November 2005, ten members were elected as council members. The same AGM approved upgrading the Provisional Divisional Council to Full Council status and the 1st Divisional Council Meeting was held on the same date. The Council focused on admitting new members through APC exams and the multiple membership arrangement. The 1st CPD course was conducted by Sr Prof. Barnabas CHUNG on the development aspect.

Membership Development

Although the APC was set up in 2002, only a few candidates have taken the APC examination. Membership growth has mainly come from the multiple membership arrangement. From seven members in 2003, membership steadily grew to over 60 by the end of 2013.

Membership standing as at December 2013

Year Members Admitted Chairmanship
1998 (Before) 7
2003 7 Sr Edwin TSANG (Working Committee)
2004 – 2005 7 Sr Edwin TSANG (Provisional Council)
2006 4 Sr Edwin TSANG (Divisional Council)
2007 9 Sr Edwin TSANG
2008 9 Sr Edwin TSANG
2009 12 Sr Edwin TSANG
2010 3 Sr Francis LAM
2011 3 Sr Raymond CHAN
2012 4 Sr Raymond CHAN
2013 3 Sr Raymond CHAN
2014 1 Sr Dr Tony LEUNG
Total: 62


The P&D Stream surveying courses at HKU and HK PolyU have been recognised by the Division for some time, but past records showed that registration for the P&D APC Exam was low compared to that for other divisions, possibly because students were not familiar with the work of P&D Members. However, the Division plans to recruit members on two fronts by recognising the new courses at HKU and establishing courses in Shanghai.

New Courses at the University of Hong Kong

The Division, after a mutual agreement, has recognised the new four-year BSc in Urban Studies course offered by HKU with the first intake occurring in 2012. Graduates will be eligible to take the P&D APC Exam in accordance with the established P&D APC Guidelines.

All MSc (Urban Planning) graduates, upon their completion of prescribed top-up courses to be offered by the Faculty, will also be eligible to take the P&D APC Examination.

Since early 2013, the Division has been discussing with Tongji University(同濟大學)about setting up a P&D course in Shanghai. The Letter of Intent of the said course has been signed by Tongji University and the Division on 4 March 2014. PDD Education Committee will follow up the implementation of the said course.

Career Prospects

The demand for P&D Surveyors is strong. Experienced members have either taken up top or senior posts in the government/quasi-government, universities, institutions, and private developers or are in private practice.

At present, no P&D professional institute exists in China that has a reciprocal recognition. Professionals like architects, engineers, and doctors have their own institutes, while surveyors in general practice, building surveyors, and quantity surveyors have reciprocal arrangements with their respective counterparts.

There are tremendous opportunities for P&D surveyors in China, where development opportunities are vast. Currently, the work that they should assume has been taken up by anyone who claims to be able to do the job.

Besides technical knowledge, professionalism and ethics are of extreme importance in our practice. Thus, properly trained P&D surveyors in Hong Kong have greater career opportunities than their Mainland counterparts.


The P&D Division's early work focused mainly on drafting APC Exam Guidelines. Its development went through a number of stages from Working Committee to Provisional Council to full Division Status in 2006. Membership grew steadily from a few members to 60 within ten years. The philosophy behind admitting members is to maintain quality rather than quantity and to focus on P&D experience rather than on other trades. The Division welcomes those with extensive or appropriate P&D experience to become members.

Way Forward

The Division looks forward to organising more CPD lectures and conferences and extending its recognised university courses to Guangdong Province, Southern China.