Knowledge plug-in launched to support isolated practitioners

Designing Buildings Wiki has launched Designing Buildings Anywhere to help locked-down construction professionals, researchers and students.

The free browser plug-in gives users instant pop-up access to 20,000 construction definitions, explanations and acronyms without leaving the website they are on. When they see a term they don't understand, a topic they want to find out more about, or an acronym they don't recognise; they simply highlight it and a window pops up with an explanation.

Architect Dr Gregor Harvie, co-founder of Designing Buildings Wiki, said: "We created Designing Buildings Anywhere to support people while they're away from the resources they would normally use to access industry knowledge. The lockdown may mean they can't leave home, but now they have instant access to the knowledge they need without even leaving the website they are on. 

"We want to make life easier for practitioners, particularly now, when so many of them are a long way from their offices and the support structures they rely on. It's our mission to help them become more efficient, more collaborative, more innovative and better able to compete – no matter what the circumstances."

The plug-in has been developed following a survey by the Construction Knowledge Task Group in 2019 that revealed more than a third of practitioners don't have easy access to the knowledge they need to do their jobs. This is of great concern to the industry given the Hackitt Review's call for greater competence and the government's ongoing drive for improved productivity and innovation.

Nick Sumption, KTN Strategic Advisor to i3P, said: "There's increasing evidence we need to find new ways of getting knowledge to practitioners so they have confidence they are fully informed wherever they are and whatever they are doing. This plug-in is an innovative first attempt that enables knowledge to be presented to practitioners rather than requiring them to have to look for it. This is an exciting development which i3P, as a member of the Construction Knowledge Task Group, believes will be a key enabler for accessing knowledge. It will be fascinating to see how it is received."

Designing Buildings Anywhere is a free add-on to the Firefox browser and takes less than a minute to download from the Firefox store.

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