New Panel and Conference for Small Practitioners

Published: 25/05/2017

Richard Gibson MIStructE

The Institution has launched a new Small Practitioners Panel (SPP) to provide the best possible support to members working in businesses with seven employees or less. Here Panel member, Richard Gibson, outlines the aims and ambitions of the Panel and invites members to this year’s Small Practitioners Conference.


It has been broadly estimated that over a quarter of the Institution’s members might be employed in small practices, that is businesses employing seven or less staff. Small practitioners are a key body of the Institution’s membership and the wider construction community and as a result the Institution concluded that greater direct contact should be established so that it can better serve such members.  

With this in mind the Small Practitioners Panel (SPP) was established in 2014; initially made up of five members and expanding to ten in 2016, with further input from six corresponding members. Initial work undertaken by the Panel revealed the wide range of unique factors that bear on the practice of those employed as sole or small practitioners. 

The Future

The Institution will develop a comprehensive strategy to assist and guide the work of the SPP in providing the best support to those working in small practices. The knowledge and understanding produced by this initiative will also be a valuable resource for the wider membership.

The aim of the Panel is to enhance the wider perception of this sector and develop its undoubted strengths, capability and professional approach, such that its overall integration into the construction sector will continue to keep pace with technological change and professional practice.

The Way Forward

Through 2017 the SPP plans to develop its knowledge by engaging with the wider membership through the Institution’s Regional Groups, which will be encouraged to nominate representatives to make contact with small practitioners in their areas - with a view to establishing how they operate, their background, and their views on the type and extent of support they would welcome from the Institution.

The SPP aims to communicate and liaise with other Institution Panels to ensure they incorporate the needs and development of small practitioners in their own strategies. The SPP has received encouraging responses from several established Panels all keen to engage.

The range of support under consideration will be wide ranging, from business development and management through to technical aspects of structural engineering. 

Small Practitioners Conference

The Panel is supporting a Small Practitioners Conference on June 14, including sessions on all aspects of operating a small practice, and providing small practitioners with the opportunity to help shape the Panel’s development. 

If you are a small practitioner with opinions and ideas then please take this unique opportunity to meet Panel members and network with others in the sector. If you are unable to attend the Conference and would like to contact the Panel then please send an email to


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