This information is intended to tell you about the Institution of Structural Engineers and its role should you be considering making a complaint against a member.
The Institution’s main purpose, in accordance with its Royal Charter, is to promote for the public benefit the general advancement of the science and art of structural engineering. As well as being an international learned society, it is also a qualifying body with high entry standards and our members undertake mandatory continuing professional development.
The Institution is not a trade association and firms and companies are not members. It is not able to act as a mediation or an arbitration body between members and their clients. Complaints can only be considered in relation to the Institution’s Code of Conduct which all members have to observe.
The preparatory classes of membership are Student and Graduate.
Those who qualify as Incorporated Structural Engineers are elected Associate-Members, with the designatory letters 'AMIStructE'.
Those with appropriate academic qualifications and experience are elected Chartered Structural Engineers, as either Fellows ('FIStructE'), Members ('MIStructE') or Associates ('AIStructE').
The Institution is always willing to state whether an individual is in membership. Some organisations use the Institution’s logo to indicate that at least one partner or director is a member.
The Institution’s Royal Charter gives it the power to devise, promulgate and enforce high standards of professional conduct for its members. The Bye-laws provide that members shall be obliged at all times to uphold the reputation of their profession and to observe the Laws of the Institution (defined as the Charter, Bye-laws and Regulations together with the Code of Conduct, guidance notes and similar material).
A member may be subject to disciplinary action by the Institution if alleged to have been guilty of misconduct by:
- (a) failing to comply with the Laws of the Institution, or
- (b) sustaining a conviction in respect of an offence relevant to membership of the Institution.
The procedure for dealing with complaints against members, and the penalties that the Institution may impose on members found guilty of misconduct, are set out in the Regulations and the Disciplinary Procedural Rules, which will be sent to you should you wish to make a formal complaint.
The Code deals with members’ ethical behaviour. It does not relate to commercial matters such as fees, contract terms or copyright, for which there are legally enforceable remedies. Furthermore, it is not within the remit of the Institution to decide whether or not a member has been negligent.
The Institution has a rigorous and impartial procedure for the consideration of allegations of professional misconduct. The operation of this procedure is the responsibility of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one of the permanent committees of the Institution.
The PCC will not normally investigate a matter that is to be considered by a court, although it will do so after legal action has been completed.
Your complaint must be made on the form available from the Institution, identifying the member concerned and the article(s) of the code of conduct you consider to have been infringed. With the completed form, you should send a copy of all relevant documentation.
Further information is contained in the Complaints Procedure leaflet. The whole procedure is set out in the Institution’s Regulations and Disciplinary Procedural Rules, which will be sent to you should you wish to make a formal complaint.
Institution staff can give further information on this procedure, but may not discuss the merits of complaints or the progress of cases under consideration. The Institution will write to you should the committee require further details, and in any event once the investigation has been completed.
For further information please contact the Disciplinary Manager.