This site by Business to Business Internet sets out to provide an information highway for construction, but it looks overcrowded and unfocused. It claims that it is a “one-stop” guide to the UK industry and it does provide links to other sites, but it is fiddly to use.

The search facility isn’t great. Type in “surveyors” in London, for example, and the result is “none found”. Spell it with a capital S, on the other hand, and it offers a link to the RICS. The search on “contractors in London” produces links to nine confederations – also not much use. The Hot News pages are equally disappointing, containing little news of relevance to a wide audience. The products and services pages are cluttered with text, but contain little actual data, although they do offer a link to BBC weather forecasts.

The discussion forum seems to be made up of some isolated comments and queries of little general relevance – it is generally dull.

Every page includes a very annoying search window, the purpose of which is obscure. I tried searching for “RICS” in London – no link found.

I had to type the name in full to get to the RICS site. I understand that this service has been available for only a few months. Perhaps it will improve, and other organisations may join. In its present form, it is not of much use.

In a nutshell

Content Too much text. What you want may be there, but it is hard to find. News About as interesting as watching paint dry. Updates Impossible to tell when links are updated. Ease of use Poor presentation makes it boring to use. After a few tries, one is tempted to give up. Wow factor Non-existent. Overall rating 4/10. Not my idea of on-line information.

On the wire

CAESOR for repair work Red Sky has developed an integrated software package for small to medium-sized building contractors carrying out repair and maintenance work. CAESOR is a Windows-based system that manages calls from tenants, carries out estimates and works out schedules of rates; it also handles accounting data and purchase order processing as well as stock and fixed asset control, giving the client and contractor all the information needed from a common data platform. The software is geared towards firms working with high-volume, low-value work. CAESOR will work on a single PC, and will cost about £2000. An annual 20% maintenance fee is charged to support the software, including upgrades as the product is enhanced. It will be launched at Interbuild in May. Cost and programme software WS Atkins has developed a cost and programme management system. Picture 2000 is designed to manage capital expenditure programmes for projects of any size. The software is web-compatible and works with other systems to ease data transfer. Modular buildings on-line Rollalong Building Solutions has launched a web site giving information on its modular buildings and portable accommodation. The site boasts the full range of services offered, including design and planning, project management, customer care, after-sales building services and financing packages. Fire protection site Kidde International, the fire protection equipment firm, has relaunched its web site. The site includes links to all of Kidde’s subsidiaries. Turf in cyberspace North West Turf has developed a web site to promote the turf industry. The site demonstrates how to lay and maintain turf and includes a page introducing the firm’s staff.

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