“A single source of product and technical information on-line” is how Ned Trainor, president and founder of BuildSite, Oakland, Calif. likes to describe www.buildsite.com. Trainor credits co-founder and chief technical officer Mark Anderson with the database design that gives contractors and distributors access to product and technical information for over 200 manufacturers.

BuildSite lets a contractor or distributor search for product information four ways: Manufacturer Name, Product Name, ASTM standard specification, or Product Category. For example, if you are doing an ASTM search you can match products to ASTM specifications, such as C 1059 for bonding agents, C 881 for epoxies, or C 578 for foundation wall insulation. There are over 200 different ASTM standard specifications. To do a Product Category search for a non-metallic grout, the contractor types in “grout.” Then there are choices such as non-metallic grout, epoxy grout, masonry grout, tile grout, and others. When you pick non-metallic grout, you'll see a list of over a dozen manufacturer's products. When you select the product you want, the site brings you to the Product Detail Page. This is where all product information is stored, including product data sheets, Material Safety Data Sheets, installation instructions, and ICC approvals. The information is in PDF file format with options to print, fax, or e-mail the document.

BuildSite includes sitework, concrete, masonry, and waterproofing, plus roofing and interiors. The concrete section has divisions such as forming, structural concrete, decorative concrete, and tilt-up. It includes below-grade waterproofing and insulation, plus selected finishes for concrete, like epoxy coatings or high performance paints. If you select a specific manufacturer's color product, the site provides an entire system package, including enhancers, sealers, cures, and joint treatments. It lets you purchase all the materials together ensuring product compatibility.

Many architects on commercial projects require product submittals and it is increasingly required in the residential market for builders of larger tract homes or condominiums. Sometimes concrete contractors formalize their presentation to homeowners with a submittal-like package. Using the point and click tools, contractors can build, print out, and submit the technical data and spec sheet information creating a professional-looking information packet with Submittal Builder.

AdFeature is a recently introduced program that uses a symbol system to indicate whether a product meets a Green Standard, or a UL rating for recycled content. This option is increasingly useful to those designing and building to meet sustainability goals.

You can try a free search, but advanced searches, messaging, and submittals are available only with a subscription. The service costs $95.00 per month for individuals, with a different rate for companies. Subscriptions include all search capacities and features, online telephone, e-mail support, and a quarterly newsletter. Call 888-717-8665 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.