Headlines: February 26th, 2001

A new innovation business support scheme – Fast Track – has been launched to help construction businesses by retaining useful information gained from building projects.The half a million pound project aims to build a database of innovation. It recognises that for many projects, the information about excellent ideas behind what’s been built are lost as the construction teams split up.

In return for a DETR grant, A contractor or consultant will report on a technical or process innovation so that vital knowledge can be shared. In this way industry as a whole will benefit. Each of the innovation reports will be assessed by a group of hand-picked practitioners and the report will be posted on the Fast Track web site.

The scheme will be administered by Technopolis,- an evaluation specialist. It is hoped to sponsor up to 40 projects during the pilot phase, at up to 50 per cent of the cost.

The scheme is intended to be a spur to the ‘Rethinking Construction’ agenda and enable the Government to establish a direct relationship with many more businesses and especially SMEs.

Stakeholders in industry, Government and the research base have endorsed the basic conceptand some 50 expressions of interest were registered in the period between July and October2000.

Fast Track will operate as a pilot for the first nine months. Link: www.pii.org.uk/fasttrack