Bricsnet Project Center

InfoWorld (US)

Contractors, architects, and engineers are in a constant struggle to communicate and share documents effectively with one another. According to a 1997 International Data Corp. report, Federal Express Corp. delivered more than 15 million sets of blueprints in 1997, averaging a cost of US$33 per set. With Bricsnet Inc.’s Project Center 3.0, project teams can eliminate these costly delivery charges.

Project Center offers a construction crew a site where documents and drawings can be shared via a Java-based Web browser. Team members can have threaded discussions and redline architectural drawings online, greatly enhancing productivity.

Bricsnet’s Project Center competes most closely with BuzzSaw’s Project Point with regard to price and functionality. While Project Center costs $259 per month with unlimited users and storage space as large as 200MB, BuzzSaw offers free storage as large as 25MB and then charges $200 for 25MB to 1GB of storage. Although BuzzSaw’s offering is slightly cheaper, its feature set is not as comprehensive as Project Center.

Version 3.0 includes new features such as subscriptions, a team calendar, team directory, and fax-in and mail-in capability for adding documents and drawings.

Bricsnet covered its bases by including the documents required for managing a large construction project. Bricsnet includes field forms for tracking issues, reporting site conditions, and submitting RFI (Request for Information) and ASI (Architects Supplement Instructions). Many of the forms are based on America Institute of Architects (AIA) documents.

Viewing the detailed drawings was simple. Project Center allows users to zoom in to view details and turn layers off, similar to a CAD application. We could also add comments to shared documents. But we would have liked to have the ability to view files simultaneously with another user.

Overall, Project Center is a Very Good collaboration tool for large, globally dispersed construction teams. Bricsnet provides an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution that is sure to greatly improve a construction project’s success.

Test Center Senior Analyst Lori Mitchell can be reached at lori_mitchell@infoworld.com.

THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD

Bricsnet Project Center 3.0

Business Case: Improve project communication, productivity, and reduce errors by storing documents, drawings, photos, and other correspondence in one location. With Project Center, team members collaborate via the Web.

Technology Case: Administrators, contractors, and architects alike will not need to implement any hardware or software. Bricsnet’s solution allows a globally dispersed team to use this project collaboration service from a Java-enabled Web browser.

Pros:

+ Easy to use

+ Supports many document types

+ No hardware or software required

+ Multiple language support

Cons:

– No conferencing tools available

– No document version tracking

Cost: $259 per month with unlimited users

Platform(s): Java-enabled Web browser

Bricsnet Inc., Portsmouth, N.H.; (603) 436-6868; http://www.bricsnet.com.

Copyright 2000 InfoWorld (US), International Data Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Prices listed are in US currency.