At first glance, a project-management software release from a company best known for providing silicone-based materials might be a bit of a head scratcher. But the new Web-based project-management system from Dow Corning, www.dowcorning.com, Midland, Mich., might in fact be an interesting product that fits a particular function in the construction project.

Named COOL (COnstruction OnLine), the product will allow construction professionals, ranging from contractors to designers and architects, to have Web access to a global network of building materials experts in order to help with service-related inquiries and to reach Dow Corning’s sales and technical support team.

The company hints this is just one of several innovations designed to better integrate its global support services, helping to create smooth interactions builders have with the company.

Here is how it will work: Users register at the COOL Website, where they can then request construction services such as print reviews, sample tests, and warranties online; receive realtime progress reports; and get recommendation letters and documentation sent directly to them and partners. The Website will also become an information resource, where companies can ask questions and access information.

Extending collaboration out to the material suppliers is certainly a much-needed process. Dow Corning materials play a strong role in many construction projects and include such things as structural glazing, weatherproofing and insulating glass building applications, photovoltaic solar panels, and energy efficient LED bulbs and fixtures.

Whether project management is the right term for this particular product is up for debate, but that is simply semantics. The idea of getting key members of the construction project team in direct contact with the right suppliers to get their questions answered in a timely manner is all that seems to matter. Technology continues to play a critical role across all phases of the construction project.