News Release

The people who built Singapore

A tale (almost) as old as CHIJMES; New publication makes known the untold stories behind Singapore’s multi-storied cityscape.

Book Announcement

World Scientific

The History of Chartered Surveyors in Singapore, The First Hundred Years: 1868-1968

image: Cover for "The History of Chartered Surveyors in Singapore, The First Hundred Years: 1868-1968" view more 

Credit: World Scientific

Singapore citizens, residents and foreigners working in Singapore experience the splendour and magnificence of the Singapore-built environment every day. When recognising the beauty of the Raffles Hotel, the size and complexity of the Marina Bay Sands complex or the efficiency of Singapore’s built infrastructure, most people associate their creation with the skills of architects and engineers. However, few know of the feats and achievements of the chartered surveyors that made them possible.

The History of Chartered Surveyors in Singapore tells the fascinating histories of individual chartered surveyors in Singapore over the first hundred years since the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors was founded in 1868, and explains the role these individuals played in the development of Singapore. The book will also tell the stories of the pioneer Singaporean Chartered Surveyors from 1941 onwards, many of whom studied overseas but returned to Singapore where they played important roles in the real estate industry over many decades (and still do to this day).

During the period of time covered by this book, the role of the chartered surveyor was integral to the creation of a successful and sustainable urban environment. Chartered surveyors played an important role in the development and transformation of Singapore. The story of these chartered surveyors is largely unrecognised, so the aim of this book is to redress the balance, given that they paved the way for future generations of Singaporeans to become chartered surveyors.

From the second half of the 19th Century through to the 1920s, chartered surveyors in Singapore were mostly British “expatriates” or military personnel with a small number of Eurasians. However, after a period in the 1940s and 1950s when local talent struggled to break through the expatriate stranglehold on the profession, the mix from 1958 onwards was much more diverse, and there have been well-known (and many less well-known) Singaporean chartered surveyors who played a key role in the development of today’s Singapore.

The research conducted to produce this book is solely the work of the author. Furthermore, the views expressed in this book are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the RICS, the National Heritage Board of Singapore or any Government agencies. However, the author would like to thank the National Heritage Board of Singapore in particular, for their grant assistance and support (along with the National Archives of Singapore) in producing this book.

The History of Chartered Surveyors in Singapore, The First Hundred Years: 1868–1968 retails for US$158/ £140 (hardcover) and is also available in electronic formats. To order or know more about the book, visit


About the Author

William James (‘Bill’) Jones is a Singapore Permanent Resident. He qualified as a Chartered Valuation Surveyor in 1986 whilst working in private practice in the northwest of England. He joined Royal Dutch Shell Plc in January 2002 and through Shell he came to work, live, and settle permanently in Singapore. In March 2008, he first became directly involved in Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Singapore activity as the inaugural RICS Singapore Working Group Chair (2008–09) as well as being the RICS Singapore representative on the RICS Asia-Pacific Board, later known as the RICS Asia World Regional Board. He was appointed as the full-time Singapore-based RICS Managing Director for the SE-Asia World Region in October 2011, and later became the RICS Director of Standards for the Asia-Pacific World Region. He became an RICS Fellow in 2012 and continues to work in the property industry in Singapore. He is married with two grown-up children and lives in Pasir Ris. He continues his involvement with RICS as an APC Assessor and Licensed Assessor Trainer and Auditor assessor auditor for the Southeast Asia region as well as being a mentor and counsellor to many RICS APC candidates across the Asia-Pacific region. He is also an elected member of the RICS Governing Council for the period from 2020 to 2022.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 160 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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