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Starting a Practice: A Plan of Work

Author/EditorFoxell, Simon (Author)
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
ISBN: 9781859469880
Pub Date01/09/2021
BindingPaperback
Pages224
Edition3rd Ed
Dimensions (mm)246(h) * 189(w)
$48.31
$38.65
excluding shipping
Availability: 1398 In Stock
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Running your own practice can bring immense job satisfaction, but it is not without its risks. Do you have all the information at hand to set up confidently on your own?

Comprehensive, accessible and easy to use, Starting a Practice helps architects navigate the pitfalls associated with establishing a successful business.

This fully updated 3rd edition is mapped to the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 and approaches starting a business as if it were a design project, complete with briefing, sketching layouts and delivery. It features new material on professionalism and ethics, sustainable development and achieving a net-zero carbon emission built environment.

Invaluable for Part 3 students, early practitioners and those considering setting up from scratch or wanting to consolidate an existing business, Starting a Practice gives architects the tools they need to thrive when setting out alone.

Features essential guidance on:

  • Preparing a business plan
  • Choosing the right company structure
  • Setting aspirations
  • Monitoring finances
  • Getting noticed
  • Securing work
  • Retaining and developing staff
  • Planning for disaster.


Simon has always been a thinking practitioner, with architecture at the centre of all he does. This book will be an invaluable guide for anyone thinking of starting a practice. From founding it, to running it, to making sure it produces architecture and allows a practitioner to have another life. It even suggests the need to make a succession plan. Which is not something you think about when you setup, but it catches up with you surprisingly quickly!’ – Simon Allford, RIBA President

Simon Foxell’s insight, clarity and small practice experience has created the contemporary must-read guide
to tackling the many issues in setting up and maintaining a practice. If all practices treated their businesses as
an ongoing project, and used their briefing experience to create and review their business plans we would have a profession on top of its game, which we could be truly proud of.
’ – Jane Duncan OBE PPRIBA

Written in crisp and direct language sprinkled with witty insights, this book is a comprehensive and highly practical guide, of value to all architectural practices; not only to those just setting up but to all wanting to do better.’ – Sunand Prasad, Principal, Penoyre & Prasad

Running your own practice can bring immense job satisfaction, but it is not without its risks. Do you have all the information at hand to set up confidently on your own?

Comprehensive, accessible and easy to use, Starting a Practice helps architects navigate the pitfalls associated with establishing a successful business.

This fully updated 3rd edition is mapped to the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 and approaches starting a business as if it were a design project, complete with briefing, sketching layouts and delivery. It features new material on professionalism and ethics, sustainable development and achieving a net-zero carbon emission built environment.

Invaluable for Part 3 students, early practitioners and those considering setting up from scratch or wanting to consolidate an existing business, Starting a Practice gives architects the tools they need to thrive when setting out alone.

Features essential guidance on:

  • Preparing a business plan
  • Choosing the right company structure
  • Setting aspirations
  • Monitoring finances
  • Getting noticed
  • Securing work
  • Retaining and developing staff
  • Planning for disaster.


Simon has always been a thinking practitioner, with architecture at the centre of all he does. This book will be an invaluable guide for anyone thinking of starting a practice. From founding it, to running it, to making sure it produces architecture and allows a practitioner to have another life. It even suggests the need to make a succession plan. Which is not something you think about when you setup, but it catches up with you surprisingly quickly!’ – Simon Allford, RIBA President

Simon Foxell’s insight, clarity and small practice experience has created the contemporary must-read guide
to tackling the many issues in setting up and maintaining a practice. If all practices treated their businesses as
an ongoing project, and used their briefing experience to create and review their business plans we would have a profession on top of its game, which we could be truly proud of.
’ – Jane Duncan OBE PPRIBA

Written in crisp and direct language sprinkled with witty insights, this book is a comprehensive and highly practical guide, of value to all architectural practices; not only to those just setting up but to all wanting to do better.’ – Sunand Prasad, Principal, Penoyre & Prasad

Simon Foxell is Principal of The Architects Practice. He has designed buildings across the UK including houses, schools and offices and is a recipient of the prestigious Benedictus Prize awarded by the Union of International Architects. In recent years he has worked with schools and local authorities, designing new facilities and advising on development programmes. He was lead design adviser to Birmingham City Council's Transforming Education programme from 2007 to 2010. He is a core member and co-ordinator of the Edge, the built environment think tank. He is a former member of the RIBA Council and Board and was Chair of both Policy and Strategy and RIBA London region. He sat on the RIBA's recent Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission. He has authored multiple books, most recently Professionalism for the Built Environment (Routledge, 2019).

Preface About the Author Acknowledgements Stage 0 Strategic Definition Strategy formulation Start-up thinking Alternative modes of practice Business mentor Accountability partner Feasibility study Escape routes Stage 1 Preparation and Brief Setting outcomes & aspirations Knowledge and skills Global Challenges Budget Programme & execution plan Stage 2 The Outline Business Case SWOT analysis Market research Advice Professional obligations Network Business training Investment and risk Funding opportunities The outline business case (OBC) Stage 3 The Business Plan The business plan The company Business potential Your offer Responsibilities & ethics Sustainability Practice promotion Business arrangements Finances Data management Company or trading name Stage 4 Business Design STRUCTURE Practice culture Design culture Service delivery Customer experience (CX) Practices and policies Information management Knowledge management Intellectual property (IP) Developing standards Training and CPD Health and safety Performance and feedback COMPONENTS Graphic identity Premises Office basics Equipment Bank account Insurance Professional advisers Keeping account Tax, National Insurance and VAT Pensions Stage 5 Starting up SETTING OUT YOUR STALL Planting your flag Declarations and commitments Performance monitoring Openness Relationships GETTING NOTICED Marketing Publicity materials Networking Thought leadership Social entrepreneurialism Overcoming procurement barriers WINNING WORK Working at risk Negotiation Saying 'No' Generating your own work APPOINTMENTS AND FEES Appointment Fees Expenses WORKING Professionalism Organisation Health and safety at work On-line tools Project staffing Records Quality control Change control Standard procedures Resourcing Time management Research and innovation Risk Locums Money IT Trouble Taking on staff Skill development Performance Verifying outcomes Sharing information/feedback Giving back (to the profession) Stage 6 Keeping Going Maturing Benchmarking Reviewing Office manual Quality management Workload Skills Retaining & developing staff Planning for disaster Work-life balance Stage 7 Evaluation and Looking Ahead The (next) business plan Forward planning Practice positioning Size and growth Staff progression Succession planning The future of work Conclusion Bibliography and websites Index

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