Some might say 2011 was the year for big advances in collaboration technology for the construction industry. More teams are beginning to use software to share project details, creating greater transparency and accountability through the technology platform. As this trend begins to take shape, technology providers continue to release new updates with added functionality for collaboration.

e-Builder, www.e-builder.com, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is one of the most recent examples. Yesterday, the company launched e-Builder 7.11, which is capital program and project management software for facility owners.

One big new feature for the industry is the Plan Room feature, which facilitates sharing, reviewing, marking up, and searching for project plans, specifications, and other project documents. This feature complements e-Builder’s existing document management and collaboration features.

The company says the e-Builder Plan Room extends a user’s ability to configure how project documents are organized. In addition, the system provides a consistent way for users to access plans and display information when bidding on a project. Aaron Cole, project manager, Inova Health System, says the system is very flexible and fast.

e-Builder 7.11 also includes other new features for usability such as faster process workflow set up for project administrators and users; increased flexibility when creating bid packages; streamlined steps for issuing and tracking submittals; and faster status updating for scheduled tasks.

This trend toward more features for collaboration was big in 2011. In the final quarter of 2011 alone, a number of providers introduced new partnerships or products aimed at collaboration. Textura Corp., www.texturacorp.com, Deerfield, Ill., even acquired two companies in order to work toward its goal of building a true end-to-end platform for improved collaboration across a project.

Keep an eye on this trend in 2012. New products, features, partnerships, and even acquisitions will likely continue to develop in the year ahead as a way to provide the industry with the ability to increase transparency among all project participants.