By BUILDER Magazine Staff. The Internet continues to evolve as a useful communications tool for home builders. Dot-coms are forging ahead with new Internet offerings. Here are some recent ones.

Warranty worker

If you want good referrals, you need to provide good warranty service. Cary, N.C.-based BuildLinks, which provides online communication tools for small- to medium-sized builders, has struck a deal that it hopes will ease the flow of warranty information between homeowners, home builders, and subcontractors. BuildLinks' software already lets buyers track construction, alerts them when it's time to choose options, and enables discussion between builders, subs, and homeowners. A new alliance with Corrigo, a Redwood City, Calif., company that provides software for field service workers, will bring warranty providers into the loop by providing access to warranty information via wireless devices. Homeowners will also be able to go online to get updates about their requests.

Going solo

Poor communication can cause big problems during a building project. That's why the Chicago-based BuildView recently released its Communicator software as a stand-alone product. Formerly part of the BuildView Enterprise Suite, the Web-based offering is following the lead of large home builders by giving customers their own Web portal, where they can post questions as well as view plans, documents, and digital progress photos. This is supposed to reduce the number of customer questions salespeople have to answer. Customers get regular progress reports that track major construction milestones and deadlines. The product is pre-integrated with MH2's scheduling application.