Contractors are failing to embrace the e-commerce revolution, according to two surveys released this week.
A Construction Confederation inquiry found that 12% of companies used online market places for buying materials, with 14% using the internet for project collaboration.

A similar survey by the Federation of Master Builders found that 7% of builders subscribed to internet client–builder matching services. It also discovered that 52% of builders believed that the internet had no impact on their businesses.

Both associations said the claims made for e-commerce in construction had not been borne out in reality, although the surveys conceded that e-commerce would be used more in the future.

Confederation chairman Manus Adamson said IT packages for contractors could be improved.

He said: "There are too many different products and systems on offer and the costs quoted for the user can be significant."

Adamson said the spate of industry portals launched last year had been disappointments.

FMB director general Ian Davis added that e-commerce had yet to make an impact. He said: "Bright young things spending millions of pounds setting up e-businesses with strange quirky names will not have much impact on builders."

Davis added that the internet needed to be developed as a communications and research tool to complement traditional methods in order to appeal to builders. "It is a question of business evolution rather than cyber revolution," he said.