Wired At Webcor

The builder counts on the Net to keep it ahead of the pack

At first glance, Parkside Towers in San Mateo, Calif., looks like any other commercial construction site from the past half-century: Cranes lift I-beams onto a two-story concrete shell. A backhoe claws at a pile of dirt. Workers wearing hard hats slog through thick, black mud hauling galvanized steel rods. But peek in the back pockets of some of those workers, and you'll find Palm computers. In the cluster of trailers that serves as the on-site office, there's a high-speed connection to the Internet. All around San Francisco Bay, architects, engineers, and contractors are logging on to a Web site created especially for the construction job. "Using technology is the only way we can keep pace," says Andrew J. Ball, president of Webcor Builders Inc., the general contractor for the project. "You can't afford to slow down."

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