This was a short shortlist, but this Taylor Woodrow-backed category wasn't short of entrepreneurial ideas, as these three firms show. The winner was a firm that seems intent on wiping paper use out of the industry altogether …


BIW Technologies

BIW Technologies, the information systems company founded in the dotcom boom, has gone from strength to strength over the past five years. Not content with cornering a 25% share of the market for internet-based information exchange within the construction industry, BIW's turnover rose 33% during the past year off the back of long-term relationships with the great and good of the client world: Sainsbury's, BAA and Land Securities among them. By the end of November last year, the heavy use of BIW's products by industry leaders had removed an estimated 20 million paper documents from circulation - no mean feat for a company set up by three men less than six years ago.

Colin Smith,  BIW chief executive: Leading the construction industry towards a paper-free future

Colin Smith, BIW chief executive: Leading the construction industry towards a paper-free future

Runners up


Three years ago, the directors of niche development firm R.gen pooled their savings to purchase the Little Alex, a dilapidated pub in Manchester's rundown Moss Side, to build their first scheme. In May this year, the work of the eco-specialist developer will be complete, and a once notorious drugs den will be transformed into a feast of solar panels, water recycling tanks and low energy lighting. The Little Alex scheme has not gone unnoticed: R.gen has been commissioned by Urban Splash to develop designs for a site in New Islington Memorial Village, and recently won a design competition for 54 apartments in Hulme, Manchester for Manchester council.

PTE Property

Behind the famous name of Pollard Thomas Edwards lie its two less glamorous, but equally hardworking relations: PTE Property and PTE Services. These divisions, added to the PTE family in 1996, have enabled the architect to make the step up from bright-eyed young practice to a serious player in the transformation of inner-city London sites. Working in tandem, PTE Architects and PTE Property can maximise both commercial return and community and environmental benefits on complex urban sites: the current Arundel Square residential development in Islington, built next to a railway cutting, has an out-turn value of about £30m.