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E-commerce slow down hits construction

E-COMMERCE USE in construction has expanded more slowly than predicted a year ago, according to the results of a survey published by the Construction Products Association this week.

The annual report, E-Construction - Where are we now?

is the second on the subject and reveals that while construction's use of e-commerce increased by 14% last year, only 5% of transactions are carried out electronically.

Growth forecasts have also been scaled down from 12 months ago. Bullish predictions that 33% of transactions would be carried out over the Internet by 2003 have now been revised to 14%. Expectations that the figure would rise to 50% by 2005 have been downgraded to just 22%.

The report highlights the fact that the culture of the industry is still holding up progress. It also blames high set up costs, loss of personal contact and the need to retrain staff as the main disincentives to using e-commerce in construction.

But it also points out that half of the firms in the survey reported that incompatibility of systems and standards was a major obstacle to the development of e-commerce.

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