TWO architectural technicians have become the latest entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions of starting a business after facing redundancy.
Lee Mountford and Matthew Thomas worked together at a large architects practice in Darlington on projects including Heathrow Terminal 5, but the possibility of losing their jobs in the downturn gave them the idea for their own business.
Together, they have set up Lemontree Architecture to provide design and planning support to building projects. The pair are bidding for domestic and commercial work, as well as working on secondment to Richmond- based construction company Gelder and Kitchen.
Mr Mountford said: “The technical side is taking the design information and turning it into buildable information, and the we also look after the planning side.
“We are working remotely using online services. With the way things are, we are finding a niche and trying to become competitive before going on to larger projects – we previously worked on multi-million-pound projects as employees.”
The secondment with Gelder and Kitchen has been extended from its original deadline in the summer to the end of October. Mr Mountford said: “We are thrilled with the way business has started, as this is exactly how we hoped it may have worked.
“We are flexible, very mobile and able to drop our services into major projects in the way we have done with Gelder and Kitchen.”
The consultancy has given the Darlington-based duo financial security to chase outside work.
Mr Thomas said: “We’ve been surprised just how well the two sides to the business have gelled. Lee and I had some clear ideas about offering something different and what we have is a competitively-priced product, executed by skilled and experienced individuals.”
Lemontree is currently tendering on five projects and is working on a number of private extension schemes, each worth between £20,000 and £50,000.
Thomas said: “We’re slowly starting to build a great customer base of private clients. They are very big projects for the individuals concerned, so we are thrilled they have placed their trust in a new agency like ours.
“We like to think we are offering something a little bit different: an open attitude, some fresh ideas and a willingness to do a great job for them really does seem like the exception.”