NetClerk Inc., a two-year-old online permitting venture, has been acquired and the new owner is turning it into a live help desk offering online permit application assistance.

The service will be free in exchange for project data when it relaunches as PermitWorks in June, says Mike Gaynor, CEO of Builders Information Group, Chicago, which acquired NetClerk.

Technical advisors will draw from NetClerk's data repository of 30,000 permitting forms for 2,000 communities to answer questions.

Gaynor plans to sell the project information as sales leads to people inside and outside the industry through his ConstructWorks business, which currently serves Chicago and is just starting up in New York City. Some project data comes from another of Gaynor's companies, a permit expediting service in Chicago called Burnham Online.

ConstructWorks is in the beta testing stage. Initial clients include the Chicago offices of Boise Cascade and Compaq Computer Corp.

Gaynor has secured $1.25 million in venture capital for the first year, after which he hopes to take Construct-Works national.