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Today we’re chatting to Mark, our Director, about how to make a success of a small business.

Can an architectural practice really stay small and still succeed?

Yes. Success here is about playing on the strengths of being small. We’ve kept our practice deliberately small because we place a lot of emphasis on offering a personal approach – something that just wouldn’t be possible if we were bigger. Our view is that a close working relationship between client and architect is vital to creating successful, stand out designs.

PCH is a small practice but it has taken on large projects – housing estates and multi-million-pound car park builds. How have you made this happen?

As a practice we’ve always been keen on collaborating with other small practices that offer skills and experience in areas that we may not be able to cover. This allows us to successfully take on and deliver much larger projects than we would have done had we worked independently.

Our offices at Bulwer Yard are testament to this approach – we have four practices working under one roof and we regularly collaborate on projects to great effect. We’ve managed our practice in this way for over 10 years now, so we must be doing something right!

How do you make collaborating with other practices work?

The foundation of any relationship of this kind has to be mutual respect – we appreciate the skills each practice has to offer. And as Directors we all trust each other, which means there is a real willingness to share knowledge and our designs and projects are all the better for it.

What do you see as the main benefits for clients?

Clients get the best of both worlds. They get the personal, hands on approach of a small practice. But they also get the shared experience, sets of skills, contacts and manpower of each practice working together as if we were a much larger practice. It also means that we pool ideas for everything from initial designs to problem solving, so these processes become more creative, efficient and effective.

What are the benefits for your employees?

This is another vital element to why we run our practice this way. With everyone working together, our architects can quickly improve their skills and experience. They benefit not only from the wider variety of projects we get to work on but also from the experience of other architects we work with. We have also managed to save jobs, keeping talented staff under one roof by having them move from one practice to another. The fact that there are more of us also means that our socials are all the more enjoyable too!