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as best practice scheme lands government windfall

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A RIBA-led project looking at best practice in small firms has won a government grant of £66,000, construction minister Brian Wilson said this week.

The scheme was one of 97 research projects chosen by the DTI for part-funding in its Partners in Innovation programme. This initiative aims to promote competitiveness and best practice, and Wilson said the money would help increase productivity through innovation.

The RIBA's two-year project starts this September and will involve 30 architecture practices, said RIBA director of practice Keith Snook. Total project costs were £155,000, and practices would look at streamlining all areas, such as how they deal with firms in the supply chain and staff retention.

A national seminar is scheduled for next year and the final results will be put onto a new website, he said. The RIBA has teamed up with groups including the Building Research Establishment and the Institute of Architectural Technicians.

Total government funding for the 97 projects is £6.4 million, and other schemes include a communication pilot using IT run by a construction consortium of 38 firms, and research by Buro Happold into buildings made of reused materials.

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