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Nick Cox Architects journey at HPIC

June 22nd 2023

How specialists in historic architecture grew their business without needing to worry about their offices falling down!

Taking the plunge and starting your own business can feel like a daunting step into the unknown, as Nick Cox can attest to.  Nick Cox Architects first joined HPIC in 2006 and specialises in the repair and conservation of historic buildings and the design of new buildings in a historic context.

Managing Director, Nick Cox explains: “When I decided to set up my own practice my first big decision was where to be based.  I didn’t really want to be commuting for an hour each day into Oxford, so decided I wanted somewhere close to home, with easy access, ideally a reception to welcome guests and phone lines. Heyford Park Innovation Centre ticked all these boxes and with business rates rolled in and no building charges, it was low- hassle which meant I didn’t need to worry about anything else. As a practice we spend a lot of time worrying about buildings that are falling down, so the last thing we wanted was to look after a property, so I really appreciated that.”

At first, they took a smaller room for himself and his secretary Deborah, who is still working with the practice 16 years later. He utilised freelancers until the business was more established and able to commit to employing staff. As the number of employees grew, the office became too small and so the dividing wall was taken out. Once that space became too small, they moved to a different building at the Centre where they remain now.

We recognise that all businesses are different, some may grow rapidly and make the move to their own premises, whilst others may remain at Heyford Park Innovation Centre. Whilst we are a hub for science and tech businesses, we also have clients in professional services and Nick is a good example of that. He has grown his business roughly by one employee a year and now employs fifteen people.

As architects they are rarely in the office and Nick liked the fact that the centre has good road and rail links, with the M40 and A34 nearby and easy train to London or Birmingham.

Nick explained further: “The Centre has always given the freedom to concentrate on the day-to-day, you can just turn up and get on with your work. Nothing here ever feels a problem, they just make things happen. It’s a nice community and whilst in the early start up days I welcomed joining in the 11am coffee, now we are more self-contained as we have enough of a critical mass ourselves. It’s nice to have the flexibility and be part of such a supportive environment, it’s certainly helped me to build my business to where it is today.”

Find out more here – https://www.nickcoxarchitects.co.uk/

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