Construction IT firm BuildOnline has predicted an explosion in the use of collaboration software to replace documentation.
The firm said such software could be used in up to half of projects in the coming year. BuildOnline's UK managing director, Mark Oliver, said: "Latest research shows that 10% of projects will use it this year. Next year you might see 30-50% of the industry taking it up. That's a significant jump."

He added that the industry was experiencing real savings from the use of collaboration software, which manages project documents and communication online.

BuildOnline is promoting the use of collaborative software with the claim that it can save companies 0.4-0.7% of the value of the contract: "When firms are working on 1.5-2.5% margins, a 0.5% saving is a handsome one. Three years ago some people were saying you could save 10% oof the projects' values, which the sector just didn't believe."

Using the system could also lead to intangible savings, Oliver said, such as removing the errors made during projects and risk-taking during schemes.

BuildOnline last week secured its most significant job so far – managing consortium Metronet's upgrade of two-thirds of the London Underground. The firm will use its ProjectsOnline product to oversee the project, which will handle 350 gigabytes of information.

Oliver said the deal underlined the firm's move to civil engineering and infrastructure work.

He said: "I think you will see more adoption of these systems from early phases, such as conception and tendering, to after construction, for facilities management and maintenance."

BuildOnline claims that it is currently managing £15bn worth of construction work in the UK and Europe.