AN architectural company from Darlington is at the forefront of a new approach to save time and money in the construction industry.

Browne Smith Baker is using the Partnering approach to complete projects.

Partnering aims to bring architects, builders, project managers and other contractors together at the earliest opportunity to ensure teamwork and eliminate conflict.

Using these principles, the firm has completed a £300,000 information technology suite at Stokesley School, North Yorkshire.

Partner Guy Holmes said: "We initially master-planned the project as there were various phases to be completed over a period of time.

"We thought the first phase would be an ideal partnering project as both deadlines and budget was tight.

"Just two weeks into the project we put the contract out to tender, helping us to design out potential construction problems and costs."

The project was delivered on time and within budget, and has led to further work at the school in the near future.

Mr Holmes said partnering was a common sense approach based on trust.

He said: "Instead of individual parties sticking to one role regardless of any problems that may occur, all partners involved in the project seek to help each other work towards common objectives within a team."

The scheme stems from a Government report on construction, the first major client-led review the construction industry had seen.

"The report was concerned with how to improve quality and efficiency in the industry through the early involvement of contractors," said Mr Holmes.