What We Do

All architects carry out design work for their clients, but we also offer a whole host of associated services to our clients, making us a single point of contact for the management of a building project, large or small. Some people are surprised at the extent of what we do…

Project Management

We can manage a building project from the first thought by a client that a project might be worth doing to the making good of defects 12 months after its completion.

Feasibility Studies

We investigate the options for a project, including preliminary cost, planning legislation and sketch design work.

Brief Preparation

A client’s requirements are examined and we assist them in preparing a brief, which may include the required function of the building and individual rooms, cost constraints, drawing up a budget and investigation how the finished project will have to perform.

Eco Design

We provide advice on how to incorporate environment-friendly materials into a project, rainwater harvesting, energy efficiency, allergy-free interiors, use of recycled materials, sewerage disposal and all other aspects of sustainable design.

Energy Efficiency

As qualified assessors, we can prepare energy assessments of houses and housing projects (Code for Sustainable Homes or CSH). We are also able to advise on the range of energy saving measures available, including solar panels, feed in tariffs, ground source heat pumps, wind turbines, air source heat pumps, energy saving lighting schemes and heat sinks.

Condition surveys

We can make an assessment of the condition of existing buildings and propose remedial work.

Measured Surveys

Preparation of accurate measured drawings, in standard CAD format is essential for any project that involves work to an existing property.

Site finding and analysis

Julian Owen Associates are unusual for an architect’s practice, in that they actively pursue leads relating to development opportunities for clients. We maintain a database that is available free on our website. The database we hold offers records of land prices going back many years, useful information for many of our clients.

Planning applications and advice

We are highly experienced in dealing with all the local authorities in the East Midlands area. In almost all cases we would recommend obtaining professional advice before approaching the planners. Careful presentation at an early stage, based on a sound knowledge of the likely reception of an application, can make the process of obtaining planning approval easier and less likely to be refused.

Building Regulations Submissions

Julian Owen Associates work with building control officers and approved inspectors (the commercial equivalent) on a daily basis. A thorough knowledge of the regulations is essential when preparing sketch designs, to reduce the risk of the finished project being blocked by failure to comply with the regulations governing the detailed construction.

Statutory Authorities

We are used to dealing with the many other bodies that may become involved in a building project, such as the Environment Agency, Highways Departments, archaeologists, Natural England, English Heritage, utilities providers, amenity societies, residents’ associations, councillors, Severn Trent and British Waterways.

Tender Packages

Tender packages need to contain detailed information on the construction and specification of the building, to ensure that the quotes are accurate and minimise extras on site. We have extensive experience in the preparation of tenders, including construction details, large scale sections, colour schemes, interior designs, hard landscape design and electrical layouts. We are also able to offer detailed advice on the selection of products and components chosen by clients to be incorporated into the finished building.

Selection of Contractors

The correct management of the tender process can save tens of thousands of pounds on a project. With nearly two decades of working in the East Midlands area, we have extensive knowledge of the better contractors available, many of whom do not advertise, or even appear in the Yellow Pages. We have procedures to make checks on new contractors and can advise clients on the suitability of companies that are being considered for the building work.

Contract Management

Julian Owen Associates are trained, qualified and experienced in the legal issues that relate to the management of building contracts and can manage the contract on behalf of clients, as well as suggest the appropriate form of contract for a project.

Site Management

We frequently manage projects on site, checking the quality of the work as it progresses and assessing payment to the contractor.


We can issue interim payment certificates, instructions to vary or condemn building work, and snagging lists. Unlike many non-architects, our certificates are accepted by banks and building societies for the release of payments to our clients. Our certificates are also accepted by solicitors acting for purchasers of buildings that we have inspected during construction.

Unusual Projects

Currently we have a project for an earth ship at the design stage, using recycled rubber tyres.

We have designed two underground houses.

We have completed drawings for a client who has a holiday cottage in Croatia, although could not persuade her to pay for site visits.

We have designed two show houses for national exhibitions.

Project Sizes

The practice is structured so that a cost effective service can be provided to clients with relatively small domestic projects as well as projects on a much larger scale.

Other Consultants

We have access to an extensive network of consultants whom we have worked with on construction projects, including structural engineers, planning consultants, quantity surveyors, clerks of works, building services consultants, energy efficiency experts, naturalists (bats, newts and badgers), highway engineers, arboriculturalists (tree experts), archaeologists and party wall surveyors.

RIBA Registered Practice

Most architects are members of the Royal Institute of British Architects as individuals, but their practices are not Chartered Practices, i.e. approved and monitored by the RIBA as a practice and signed up to the more onerous business management standards required in order to qualify.

ASBA Membership

As members of the ASBA Architects Network, we have access to informal advice and support from locally based architects across the UK.

Membership of Other Bodies

Julian Owen Associates or its directors are members of the following organisations:

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)

Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB)

Federation of Small Businesses

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce

British Standards Institute (BSI) subscribers

Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA)

RIBA Register of Construction Adjudicators

Adjudication Society

All architects at the practice are registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) the national government organisation that regulates architects and approves their training.

We are the Midlands office of the UK-wide 1st Architects company.