Reply To: Architects use of technology
Being involved with selling technology to AEC firms in the U.S., I have found Architects to be ready and moderately early adopters of electronic methods. It has been my experience that the rest of the construction industry is considerably less so.
I believe that your idea of providing a central repository for web-based details and specs is very economically viable. Vendors have been shown to be ready to pay to make their products available online to customers. I think the biggest success of the web has been to create a vibrant new advertising medium and anybody who exploits it well (and has the resources to be unprofitable for a few years) will succeed.
Over here, a factor that has contributed enormously to the success of web-based business services is the wider availability of inexpensive bandwidth. I don’t know what the situation in Ireland is, but affordable, high-speed “always-on” internet access has made a big difference to the use of the web as a tool amongst small businesses – such as your typical Architectural firm. I think the construction industry is ready for the electronic library part of the service you are launching but it will take some time to sell the other concepts such as online procurement and tendering. Hopefully, you can use one to finance the propagation of the other.
As a sometimes middleman, I don’t believe web based technology will get rid of all the middlemen in the supply chain. It is certainly a great opportunity for middlemen!
Good luck with your venture.