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RIBA East New and Emerging Practice Network

The RIBA East New & Emerging Practice Network, affectionately known as ‘Newbies’, held its first online meeting in early July

22 September 2020

RIBA East provides a network for small and emerging practices and sole practitioners

The RIBA East New & Emerging Practice Network, affectionately known as ‘Newbies’, held its first online meeting in early July. The network was set up in response to requests from small or emerging practices, often sole practitioners, for a friendly and supportive forum where those with less experience and opportunities to network might meet to share thoughts and experiences.

RIBA East New and Emerging Practices - July Meetup

The group is facilitated by RIBA East and jointly chaired by Sasha Edmonds, Director of Liv Architects in Norfolk, and Luke Butcher, Director of Butcher Bayley Architects (BBA) in Cambridgeshire. Both are proactive, enthusiastic hosts who, as directors of emerging practices themselves, provide great ideas for presentation, knowledge-sharing and discussion. Sasha has also set up a Facebook group for the Newbies community where members can get in touch with each other quickly and directly.

Sasha Edmonds commented:

“We have been delighted to find that those who are working alone or are very new in practice in our region are jumping at the chance to get involved in a regular peer-to-peer networking group, to give new business owners the opportunity to benefit from the experience of others and share thoughts and tips. The fact that the monthly meetings are run online has only served to help the reach of the group, especially those working around childcare and in remote locations, and I’m pleased to be able to help guide the content as well as learning a lot myself.”

The group holds monthly meetups and each meeting has a headline theme with expert speakers offering their time to advise the group on a variety of topics. The meeting agendas so far have included:

  • an overview on PR + Comms for the built environment – how to build your business and use the tools at your disposal
  • new Permitted Development rights launched early September 2020
  • how to grow your business and employ your first member of staff

The group also makes good use of RIBA research, support tools and initiatives such as the new Marketing Toolkit, part of the ‘Work with an Architect’ client campaign. Expert speakers are always on hand to provide up to date information and news.

The Facebook group members provide each other with regular questions, answers, and general advice on a wide range of topics from the best printer or AutoCAD software to buy, to suggestions for Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers along with queries on contracts and fee proposals.

The meetings are currently delivered digitally but the group intends to arrange a face-to-face social gathering when possible. For now, the online meetings are there to support any practice or sole practitioner in the East region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk) who wish to get involved. The criteria is for small, new, emerging practices – ideally with fewer than five years in practice or under five employees - but there are exceptions to this and it is recognised that even a more experienced practitioner might welcome the opportunity to network with other smaller practices in the region.

If you’re interested in joining the network or want to find out more, please email Juliet at for details of the next event.

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