Blog: People Development SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Noviun Architects

30 May 2019

Sponsored by Cheesmur Building Contractors

Noviun Architects 

Noviun is a practice that likes to build around its people. They are proud to have limited staff turnover. They have members of staff that have been with them for over 30 years and they continue to take on new members each year. They are focused on helping the next generation of young architects and technologists progress through their career - including financially supporting them through qualifications and providing training for continued development.

Whilst developing their own staff, they are also committed to encouraging university students and schoolchildren to enter into the construction industry. They have attended a ‘Quadrivium’ session at a local primary school where pupils are challenged with sessions appropriate to their stage. The sessions are designed to broaden perspectives, raise aspirations and encourage pupils to think and articulate ideas.

This year Noviun held their first practice open evening for prospective architects and technologists to come and meet staff and take a look around the practice. This proved a great way to meet with young students and get an idea on what they are expecting when moving into full-time work at a studio. They encouraged everyone to bring along their CV and portfolios so that they could discuss them with staff and find out what Noviun would expect from them as employers.

Since the establishment of the practice in 1997, as part of the Hunter & Partners Group, the directors had a clear ambition to develop a practice which could compete with the top London practices whilst operating from a rural West Sussex office base. They recognised they were working within a restricted market place for resourcing, compared to major city practices, but by investing in the latest technologies and providing a good working environment they found they could compete with the larger practices. This approach has been successful over the years as they have been able to attract staff from city practices and students direct from university.

The type of work the practice produces also forms a vital ingredient in attracting and retaining the best staff. The practice initially specialised only in the education sector. Education sector work has always attracted architects because of the fully immersed approach to design and construction and because of the increasingly sophisticated nature of the current buildings. However, they now provide small and large-scale project experience for their architects and technologists in a variety of sectors, such as housing, health, hospitality and commercial work - to broaden their experience base.

In recent times the practice has fully separated from the Hunters Group and established the new identity of Noviun. This is seen as a positive development where the 20+ years of experience within the practice portfolio can be taken forward by the progressive new office management structure, so as to best position the practice within the construction sector of the future.

These aspirations for the future are still founded on the quality of retaining and developing the expertise within their multi-national staff base, which they believe help differentiate them from other practices. They are always happy to share their approaches with other industry partners, whether by office open evenings or conference appearances.


  • Highly skilled and motivated workforce, 70% of which have been supported through their training by the practice.
  • High retention rate by recognising people management and professional / personal development skills are the most important aspects of running the practice.
  • A good working environment, high quality of project work and forward-thinking, flexible contractual arrangements provide them with the ability to attract the very best staff available.

For more details:

Visit Noviun Architects

The SECBE 2019 People Development Award is sponsored by Cheesmur.

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