Members of the CIOB and CIAT are being invited to pool their collective knowledge on design, construction and procurement on designingbuildings.co.uk, the industry’s new collaborative “wiki” resource.
The website, which has seen around 600 articles posted since it was launched in June 2012, is offering a £500 prize for the best new article contributed to the site by 26 April.
The competition, sponsored by the CIOB, is designed to make more people in the industry familiar with the process of creating content for the site.
Gregor Harvie, an architect who is now the site’s technical director, said the idea was to grow awareness of the free resources available to practitioners and students on the Wikipedia-style site “until it reaches the critical mass point where people feel the site is incomplete and want to contribute”.
Articles on the site typically cover design, construction, property development and legislation, as well as the theory and history of the industry, but Harvie said there were no strict guidelines. “As long as it’s useful to people, we want it on the site.”
Submit an article and you could win £500
Submitting an article is straightforward. Users can click on the relevant button on the site and will first be invited to search for their topic to see whether there is an existing article. If not, they can then type or paste their contribution, which will be published immediately. However, behind the scenes all new articles are read and monitored.
Articles have to be factual in nature, and sales pitches are not accepted. Any readers who feel an article is inaccurate or biased can flag this up, or post a comment below the article. But Harvie said there had been no problems with people posting misleading content.
“We did have an article written about accessible design, where the author and another contributor had different opinions on one definition. But we were able to put them in touch, and they then collaborated on a new definition,” he said.
He also added that the same topic could be covered from different angles, for example from the client’s, occupier’s and main contractor’s point of view.
Harvie said that traffic to the site was “double our most optimistic projections”, with around 35% of visitors located outside the UK. The site was set up by veteran project manager David Trench FCIOB and has four corporate sponsors: Buro Happold, Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, Development Securities and the CIOB.
The competition opens for entries on 11 March. The winner and four runners up will also be featured on the site’s home page, raising their profile as industry experts. The winner will also be invited to write a blog piece for the site.