Blog: SME of the Year SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Playle & Partners LLP

04 June 2019

Sponsored by CIOB

Playle & Partners LLP

Playle & Partners LLP is a small construction consultancy competing against multi-million pound organisations with huge property portfolios. They believe their record for delivering a continuous high standard of results, passion for staff, regular analysis of financials and performance against them, ability to adapt to change and their inclusive approach to business, is why they should win SME of the Year 2019.

Established 65 years ago as quantity surveyors, the Practice has since expanded its services to include chartered building surveyors and architects as well as principal designers. This diversification has allowed them to survive recessions and able to offer a range of professional construction services at all times.

Protecting staff and close analysis of financial trends has enabled them to maintain people and react quickly when required. Keeping staff informed of these trends and the reasons behind management decisions help foster good relations.

They compete against global multi-million pound organisations and still manage to attract and retain a high calibre of staff. This is largely done through an ongoing commitment to training and development and has produced loyal staff who show the aspiration and drive to succeed as the third generation of leaders over the coming years.

The trust and experience afforded to the younger management team have led to a successful business, sharing the profitability with all staff members. As the partnership has grown, the potential for further development has assisted the existing Partners to make Playle & Partners LLP an enjoyable place to work whilst gaining professional qualifications in a modern office environment.

The industry is challenging and they compete not just for business but also with them on other levels:

  • Attracting and keeping talented members of staff can prove difficult. The Practice has to come up with innovative ways of attracting and keeping staff.  These include offering tailored study and progression programmes, including fully-sponsored degrees with the opportunity to work with experienced Practice Partners on live projects. 
  • Due to some of their locations (Sidcup, Redhill, and Ipswich) candidates are often drawn to central London with higher salaries compared to the South  East of England.
  • Their size and project experience is sometimes a barrier to entry on some major Construction Consultancy Frameworks but their reputation for providing a high-quality service and client feedback support their applications.

Despite these challenges, the Practice has a low staff turnover - some staff have been with the Practice for over 40 years. Over the last couple of years, they have been on a drive to attract younger candidates by attending university fairs across the UK. They currently have three university students on placement years.

Their message to others within the industry is to be staff orientated. Ensure staff are empowered and are able to have open conversations. Train them and reward individual achievements but also in overall business successes too. Share information with staff and encourage them to participate in management roles and aid decisions at an early age.


  • Playle & Partners LLP is an SME that invests in the ongoing training and development of staff. 
  • They have recently won the Investors In People GOLD Standard Award, further showcasing commitment to staff.
  • The financial processes and time dedicated to these means they can safeguard staff and futureproof their business.

For more details:

Visit Playle & Partners LLP

The SECBE 2019 SME of the Year Award is sponsored by CIOB.

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