Web-Based Project Management Services Taking Off

Sept. 1, 2000
Gx Bug Web

In the past few years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of companies offering Internet-based project management services to the $1.7-trillion US commercial construction industry.

One of the leaders in this burgeoning field is e-Builder in Boca Raton, FL (www.e-Builder.net). The company offers owners, general contractors, construction managers, and other construction parties these Web-based services: a private Web site providing project collaboration, document management, and other construction-management software, accessible only by password to project team members; a public Web site providing project updates (typically includes location map, project players, project status, and current construction photos), which is especially suitable for high-profile projects; and a “constructor cam,” providing 24-hour, real-time still photos of construction sites for the project team.

According to e-Builder CEO Jon Antevy, its construction photo service involves setting up a Sony digital camera on a roof or other high point on the construction site. The camera is configured to cycle through six positions or views, any of which can be commanded from the Web page. Owners love the service, Antevy says, because it gives them an up-to-the-minute view of construction progress. It’s also popular with construction executives because it enables them to quickly check the progress of several projects. Typically the initial camera-system installation cost is $10,000, with a monthly hosting fee of $75.

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E-Builder Web-based construction management services have already been used on scores of projects, the most notable being the recently completed $240-million Staples Center in Los Angeles. E-Builder was the main means of transmitting information among 150 contractors and subcontractors, architects, and consultants. The site helped builders and architects cut down on travel and express mail and allowed users to share files, mark up engineering drawings, and view the project’s progress via a live, 24-hour Web camera.

In May, e-Builder announced that it is teaming up with publishing giant McGraw-Hill to expand Web-based services to the construction industry. The two companies will use McGraw-Hill’s construction.com, a leading online construction-industry marketplace to expand construction management services. McGraw-Hill’s Construction Information Group, which includes F.W. Dodge and Sweets, hopes to make construction.com a single point of contact for construction professionals to do business with one another, from project identification to project collaboration to project bidding and procurement.

In June, e-Builder announced that it is also teaming up with International Design and Construction Online (IDC) of Annapolis, MD (www.e-IDC.com), to meet the needs of the architectural-engineering construction community. IDC’s aim is to become a leader of information and e-commerce for the design and construction community worldwide. Among e-IDC.com’s offerings are up-to-date information on construction projects for bids and requests for proposals from F.W. Dodge; construction materials and furnishings; Sweet’s database of 25,000 product types and 1,600 manufacturers; product specs; interactive access to architects, designers, and contractors; searchable classified ads; and links to project management software.

Primavera, a leader in project management software, has just launched primecontract.com, a site aimed at large contractors. In addition to offering Primavera project management software, this new Internet site will offer document management. It is also partnering with mro.com, an online marketplace, to offer construction products and materials.

Other companies offering Web-based project management services include AEC Online Project, bidcom.com, Blueline Online, buzzsaw.com, cephren.com, constructware.com, contractorhub.com, cubus.net, harddollar.com, and Meridian‘s projecttalk.com.
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