As a newcomer in the construction sector, innovative building systems company Öppen has made quite an impact with public and private sector clients looking to commission new offices, labs and classrooms for health and education facilities and other developments on ever-tighter budgets. 

That is because its unique product can offer cost savings of up to 20 per cent by delivering high quality, robust and durable buildings in half the time of a traditional structure – and, unusually for a building system, presenting an individual appearance.

A recent commission for a West Country hospital saw the Öppen system delivering a completed building in 19 weeks compared with 42 weeks for a non-Öppen  solution.

Öppen separates the construction into three parts: the skeleton, engineered to be quick and simple to build; the external skin, suiting the context and the client’s aesthetic wishes; and the interior fit-out and mechanical/electrical/plumbing services to accommodate the occupiers’ needs.

Although a new company, Öppen carries greater credibility than most because it was the brainchild of John Rich and Nicholas Stubbs, partners in an established firm of architects in Bath, Stubbs Rich. They have brought in Cliff Dare as managing director.

Öppen grabbed our interest as soon as we were introduced to it. Many of the start-ups we deal with are rather different, often internet-focused or high-tech businesses, but Öppen has the potential to succeed in a very traditional market, construction. It is also completely ‘of the moment’ as it offers a radical solution to the problem of funding essential building projects at a time of global frugality.

Öppen, which has a patent pending, is delivered via a licence to the contractor. Roxburgh Milkins worked with Öppen to establish how best it could license its valuable intellectual property and secure a revenue stream from it.  As the licences need to work within the constraints of conventional construction contracts and tendering processes, this required us to think laterally and to collaborate closely with the Öppen team and a specialist construction lawyer.

Öppen recently won in the innovation category at the Bath Business Awards. We are sure this is the first of many and we’re looking forward to seeing Öppen buildings all over the country in the very near future.

To find out more about Öppen visit