Builder Homesite, the consortium of 30 big builders and a dozen major suppliers founded in 2000, announced that its members had approved funding for a subsidiary unit, called New Home Technologies, to develop a complete suite of online product option selection and management tools for builders to share and customize for use by home buyers. The suite of tools, dubbed Envision, is expected to debut by the end of 2004.

Envision will allow builders to assemble product information and marketing material from a variety of suppliers and aggregate it into a standardized database that buyers can tap into from different builders' Web sites. Builders will be able to create online customized option selections for buyers. Suppliers can keep their information up to date and market directly to consumers without having to deal with separate builders' data standards.

Builders are expected to benefit from being able to manage the online product-selection process using a standardized template that captures current product information from a single source. Participating suppliers currently include Georgia-Pacific, Hearth & Home Technologies, Honeywell, Masco Corp., Owens-Corning, Progress Lighting, Square D/Schneider Electric, Therma-Tru Doors, Weyerhaeuser Co., Whirlpool Corp., and York International.

The option selection tool will be developed by the same team that currently manages the consortium's new home sales Web site, Shea Homes, of Walnut, Calif., is the newest builder to join the consortium.

“The success of Builder Homesite demonstrates the ability of an industry consortium to conquer problems and move the entire industry forward,” said Tim Costello, president and CEO of Builder Homesite.