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Mosescameronwilliams on breaking away from RMJM

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Colin Moses, Murdoch Cameron and Peter Williams reveal how they grew Mosescameronwilliams into a successful 20-strong practice after breaking away from RMJM four years ago

The decision to establish our own practice was a simple result of a shared realisation that creative satisfaction – and therefore our professional happiness and success – is derived from the quality of our relationships with our clients, our co-consultants and our staff.

Our track record of designing and delivering projects for user-clients was a strong one, having delivered masterplans and buildings, particularly in the higher education sector, for more than 20 years.

While working within the machinery of a large, global practice has some clear advantages, such as the spectrum of possible projects and scale of resource, we were increasingly feeling the strains and stresses that come with it. These were starting to adversely affect our valuable relationships, with our effort being deflected from ‘the sharp end’ of projects.

We all knew that what we wanted was to be able to give time and energy directly to project work and to our clients and to build a business based on a set of agreed values: excellence, professionalism, integrity, respectfulness, fairness and well-being.

We wanted to be able to give time and energy directly to project work

Our ‘breakaway’ from RMJM was negotiated in a non-confrontational manner and there was a period of transition in which we continued to act on RMJM’s behalf within ongoing projects in which our sudden exit would have been destabilising for clients. Lasting for approximately six months, this gradual departure was recognised with a reciprocal agreement to our use of our collective project experience within our new marketing material and web content.

This has been vital to how we have communicated our breadth of experience and to winning work in a sector that heavily relies on previously completed projects to showcase expertise. 

Our work with existing clients such as the University of Hertfordshire and University of Bedfordshire (top) has led to us winning new clients such as Cardiff University and University of Northampton (above).

We are grateful to Ramboll’s Cambridge office, which offered us space in their office in the first year; to consultants, such as Aecom, which were very supportive; and to our clients, who allowed us to tender for work shortly after we had set up our practice.

Our faith in relationships has proved to be correct as we enter our fifth year and are now nearly 20-strong, with a great set of ongoing projects and prospects and with very happy clients, staff and collaborative friends.

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