Building industry e-marketplace decision near

A consortium of seven construction industry suppliers is considering building an online marketplace for the building industry.

A consortium of seven construction industry suppliers is considering building an online marketplace for the building industry.

The companies, including New Zealand Office Supplies, plumbing supplier Mico Wakefield, Protector Safety Supply, Carter Holt Harvey, Company Health Services and Maccaferri, are evaluating tenders for building the marketplace, which would be called ConstructionNet.

Once tenders have been reviewed a decision will be made on whether to proceed, says consultant Matthew Blomfield.

Ten e-business companies were invited to take part in the closed tender and a partner or a short list of three is likely to be chosen this week, according to Blomfield.

Blomfield is working with Carter Holt Harvey’s independent e-commerce consultancy velocit-e to manage the project.

The consortium has also gone out to 40 construction companies on the buyer side and several are negotiating to join ConstructionNet.

“That will give it the flavour we need, which is to be both buy-side and sell-side,” Blomfield says.

Share holding will be equally spread across participants. The benefit is that cost and risk is shared across everyone, says Blomfield.

Should ConstructionNet go ahead, the first stage will be to build a portal in the next six to 12 months through which participants can access key supply-side information.

Companies will be able to access each others’ websites to buy and sell through the portal.

The idea for ConstructionNet was first mooted in December 2000 when the seven companies were drawn together by Blomfield to talk about tackling e-commerce. They agreed to research a business model, which was presented to group members in March.

Blomfield stresses the importance of the project being industry-driven. For that reason Velocit-e was chosen to manage ConstructionNet, he says.

“It came from the industry so it’s very industry-aware. That’s something that is lacking among most e-business consultants in this country,” he says.

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