Sir John Egan pledged himself to the struggling e-construction sector this week by joining industry portal Asite as chairman.
Egan said the portal, whose shareholders include Mace, Stanhope and BAA, could help to instigate the changes to the sector that he recommended in his 1998 report Rethinking Construction.

The move follows the collapse of rival project management portal iScraper earlier this month and is Egan's first construction-related role since he wrote the report.

Egan told Building: "I think this is going to wean people off competitive tendering by improving the knowledge of cost in the industry. You will create a value-for-money product with predictable indicators of cost, time and quality.

"We are trying to preplan buildings before we build them. There is nothing very clever about this – if you can preplan it, you can preplan predictability, safety, logistics and maintenance." Egan said his non-executive role would look at the future direction of the firm, owned by property services and investment group PremiSys Technologies.

He said: "I will try to influence the future strategy of the firm. If I cannot, then I depart." Egan said the portal wanted to convince all parts of the industry of the benefits of Asite's services, which will include product catalogues, online tendering and material purchasing.

He said: "We want to demonstrate how all parts of the supply chain can be involved in improving the industry's processes – and that includes all the materials manufacturers and distributors, many of whom have been left out of these dialogues in the past." Asite and Stanhope director Peter Rogers added that the industry was crying out for a standard portal. He said: "The industry is struggling with so many competing systems. We need everyone focused on one." Industry sources claim that iScraper was partly brought down by the rise of Asite, which was unveiled last autumn. Israeli-based iScraper, which had operations in the UK, USA and Germany, was founded in 1998.

Rival project management portal Building Information Warehouse has now taken on six iScraper staff so it can develop relationships with its key contracts.

A spokesperson for Building Information Warehouse said: "We now have a divert on the telephones from the iScraper offices linking straight to the BIW offices.

"The new staff we have brought to BIW are currently providing a free helpline to iScraper clients. We have not bought the iScraper company.

"But as we have secured most of their clients, it makes sense that the staff should continue to work on the projects they know about."