ACT-UK, the UK West Midlands-based National Centre for Advanced Construction Technologies, was launched at the end of last month (see 31 January news release).

It aims to become a “centre of excellence for the construction industry, creating a knowledge based environment where education, inspiration and innovation flourish”, and is backed by various national and regional partner organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Building, CITB Construction Skills and Constructing Excellence.

There is no mention of UK collaboration vendor Asite, whose latest news release – The beginning of a long term partnership – says “Asite is proud to invest its time and effort in helping ACT-UK to build the Centre for Advanced Construction Technologies and is looking forward to a new long-term partnership with ACT-UK.” Does this mean that Asite’s ‘extranet’ solution is going to be used by the project team delivering ACT-UK’s new building in Coventry (or that Asite is aiming for it to be used)? Or is Asite one of several companies which have contributed funds to the Centre? Or was it simply because former Asite chairman and non-executive director Sir John Egan was one of the keynote speakers at the 25 January launch?

Whether Asite is used or not, I hope that the construction of the centre does include use of a UK vendor’s collaboration software. It would be a shame if this national centre of excellence was to be delivered using traditional, rather than advanced, technologies. And it should also be a demonstration of what can be achieved with UK-developed applications.

Update (14 February 2007): Coincidentally, I met Asite’s Nathan Doughty at a Constructing Excellence London Club meeting in the City of London last night. I asked him about the ACT-UK situation. He said it was similar to Asite’s involvement with Avanti (see previous post) insofar as Asite was providing support in kind: ie: during design and construction of the centre, the project team would be using Asite’s collaboration solution (this is now mentioned on Asite’s website in the final paragraph of some remarks attributed to Egan – see The industry’s need for ACT-UK by Sir John Egan).

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