The Institution of Structural Engineers The Institution of Structural Engineers
Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Date published

Members of the Institution practice high professional standards as required by the Code of Conduct. The Code provides guidance and examples of how members are expected to conduct themselves.

The Institution's Code of Conduct allows its members to demonstrate competence, integrity and professionalism to colleagues, employers and clients.

The Articles of the Code of Conduct and their principles.


Act with integrity and fairness and in accordance with the principles of ethical behaviour

Members of the public and other professionals rely on, and make decisions based on, the advice and service provided by members of the Institution of Structural Engineers. The advice given, either verbally or in writing, including calculations and drawings, will be fair, honest, and trustworthy, in order to provide a safe and effective service for clients and their agents. Honesty is essential, even if the advice is contrary to the client’s expectations. Operating with integrity and fairness engenders respect from clients and other professionals and provides a platform for open communication and effective professional relationships.


Have regard to the public interest as well as the interests of all those affected by their professional activities

Public interest can be broadly defined as the actions or steps that result in the welfare of individuals and wider society. Members undertake their professional duties with respect for relevant legislation and for the health and safety of all.

Members carry out their professional duties cognisant of the short term and long-term impacts of their actions, taking measures to protect those affected by their advice and the laws that are relevant to their work. The Institution of Structural Engineers supports a policy of sustainability and renewable resources.


Uphold the reputation of the profession

Members are employed for their high level of technical knowledge and skills, to design and provide advice for safe and serviceable structures.

Members set and maintain the high reputation that the profession holds in society by providing their services with professional excellence, integrity, fairness, care and courtesy, by communicating effectively to various audiences, and by exercising appropriate judgement when performing their role. Members of the Institution are committed to ensuring that the reputation of their own profession continues to be held high in society.


Maintain and broaden their competence and, where appropriate, assist others to do so

Members ensure that they possess the skills and the knowledge relevant to the services that they provide. The Institution supports members, through its requirement for Continuing Professional Development (CPD), to ensure that their knowledge and skills are current and relevant to the specific areas in which they practice, and to the services and advice that they provide.


Undertake only those tasks and accept only those appointments for which they are competent

Structural Engineering encompasses a wide range of specialisms within the skills and  knowledge of members of the Institution. Members ensure that they possess the skills, knowledge and competence, relevant to the services and advice that they provide. Where they have a role to develop and oversee the services provided by others, they do so by recognising and communicating unambiguously the extent and limitations of any relevant
knowledge or skills.


Exercise appropriate skill and judgement

Members take care to undertake tasks and duties with appropriate skill and good judgement, ensuring that their clients understand the scope of service to be provided, and ensuring the safety and serviceability of the structural engineering work entrusted to them; all under the assurance of a quality management system and within the legislation of the country in which they are working.


Not maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure the reputation of another person

Members share common goals and aspirations, however as individual engineers, members may have different approaches to procuring and producing solutions, either individually or as part of a company. These differences can be advantageous, providing a choice of design and solution to a client. Members provide alternative solutions and opinions without denigrating the work or character of another person or company. Alternative solutions are provided with integrity, fairness and transparency, thereby avoiding conflicts of interest and upholding the reputation of the profession.


Avoid conflicts of interest

Members understand that if they, or an organisation for which they work, are involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, serving one interest could involve working against another. By being aware of and being transparent about multiple interests, they can take steps to avoid conflicts of interest. By ensuring affected parties are aware of multiple interests, members may continue to discharge their duties impartially with care, courtesy, and fairness.

In addition to the Articles and principles above, the Code of Conduct also requires members to

  • comply with the Laws of the Institution of Structural Engineers as described by the Charter, Bye-laws, Regulations and associated Rules

  • comply with the Statement of Ethical Principles published by the Engineering Council and the Royal Academy of Engineering

  • comply with the legislation of the country in which they are working and that which is relevant to the project location;

  • disclose to the Institution upon being declared bankrupt and/or becoming disqualified as a Company Director and/or Charity Trustee; 

  • disclose to the Institution if they have been convicted of a criminal offence (other than motoring offences which did not result in disqualification);

  • disclose to the Institution if they have been subject to an adverse finding before any tribunal, court or other competent authority in respect of an allegation or offence relevant to membership of the Institution; 


Download the Code of Conduct

If you have any concerns regarding the conduct of a member of this Institution, please contact our Professional Conduct Department or visit our Complaints page to find out more on how to initiate a complaint.

Further guidance and examples of Best Practice

<h4>Business Practice Notes</h4>

Business Practice Notes

The Business Practice Note series has been developed by the Institution’s Business Practice and Regulatory Control Committee to provide guidance on aspects of running a practice and project management.

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Example ethical scenarios

The following example scenarios were designed to test your understanding of how to manage ethical issues.

Date – 19 June 2017
Author – IStructE
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Provides an overview of whistleblowing and how to raise a concern.

Date – 19 June 2017
Author – IStructE
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Conduct on social media - guidelines for members

6 key points all members should consider when using social media.

Date – 12 March 2020
Author – IStructE
Price – 0