At Nick Adams Architects, we believe in working closely with our clients to produce design solutions that not only fulfil a shared vision but are also cost effective and environmentally sensitive. We pride ourselves on a very personal service.

wch 18 1 » Lewes » Nick Adams Architects
Healthy inside-outside living spaces.


We are committed to promoting the use of low carbon, locally sourced and sustainable materials wherever possible. We prefer to work using natural insulation materials and breathable plasters and finishes to create healthy living spaces. We also strive to remove VOC containing products from our specification where alternative exist. This will help reduce exposure to airborne chemicals in the buildings we design.

Creating healthy indoor environments for our clients is at the core of our ethos.

Ensuring your project has as low an impact as possible, we undertake a sustainability appraisal during the design process. The purpose of this appraisal is to identify opportunities for reducing the environmental impact and increasing energy efficiency.

We believe in the importance of the circular economy: using materials that are sustainable, but also designed to last. We believe in refurbishment, retrofitting and reuse, considering the lifecycle of a building: how the building will work for you and for generations to come.

Nick Adams Architects take on a range of small to medium sized projects including residential extensions, renovations and one-off houses; restaurant and retail fit-outs; and small residential developments.

Most of our projects are within the South Downs National Park and we often work in conservation areas and on listed or historic buildings.


Our services are tailored to each individual project, giving the client flexibility to choose what suits them, the project and their budget best. They generally fall into one of four types:

  1. Design and planning
    Provides the design and obtains planning permission only. It is generally only suitable for new developments.
  2. Developed design
    Includes the above and coordinates the structural, electrical, lighting and heating design, providing general arrangement construction drawings and notes. The finishes, technical detail and contract are agreed between the client and contractor and it is generally only suitable for a basic level of finish.
  3. Design and tender
    Includes the above plus a Cost Plan, Scope of Works, Specification and Schedules; it is most suitable for mid-range projects and above, where an experienced client wants to manage the tender, contract and on-site detailed design themselves.
  4. Full architect’s service
    The architect, acting on behalf of the client, manages the design, tendering and construction stages, being available during the build to assist in detailed design and ensuring the project is built in accordance with the design and specification. This is suitable for projects where the client wants a high-quality finish, built to specification and/or requires careful cost management with assistance in the decision-making process whilst on site.

Cost planning

With the costs of materials and construction services varying constantly, understanding the build cost of the design early on is important.

When not using a full architect’s service, if a project becomes significantly over budget it is common for the client to negotiate directly with the builder. This, however, can lead to unfavourable outcomes. Changes to the design made without a designer’s assistance may not have satisfactory outcomes, the main reason being that at tender stage your builder won’t know the detail of the project as they weren’t involved in the design process, workshops and discussions. They may make a suggestion to save you money without realising that it negatively impacts something else that you were trying to achieve. Unfortunately, designs and finish qualities suffer and such negotiations can also result in delays.

Builders are busy people, often quoting for a significant number of projects simultaneously. If your project is significantly over budget there can be quite a lot of work involved in changing the design or renegotiating the costs.

We offer a cost management service, either working with local cost consultants or using our cost planning software, to help keep your project on track. Having an initial cost plan prepared early in the process can ensure that the design develops in a way that keeps it within budget.

Our practice isn’t just about doing the work and receiving a fee. It’s much more than that. We provide a very personal service. We share the journey from concept discussions to physically realising the designs we agreed upon together, designs that combine our architectural knowledge and philosophy with the client’s hopes and vision.