I am usually looking at the future of the industry but, this month, I wanted to look at what is available right now which you can take advantage of. Recently, there has been a boom in the number of apps available for those working in Construction and so I thought it was perfect timing to focus on these.
It’s now possible to cover a range of everyday tasks from the Android operating system on rugged, perfectly adapted hardware for the job in hand. Apps for construction are offering powerful new ways to increase productivity, boost the capacity for remote working (particularly on site) and thus changing the landscape of the job site in the sector.
A 2015 survey, conducted by Canvas, reports that over a third of respondents within Construction firms indicated that their company used more than five mobile apps for construction business in 2014, and 23% said they’d used ten or more! 61% of these apps were used for inspections, 49% for work orders, and 31% for checklists.
These figures represent the use of apps for Construction back in 2014, yet it’s safe to conclude that the statistics for use could only have gone up since then. And a great way to illustrate this point is to give you a rundown of the apps for Construction making the biggest waves in the industry right now.
Over a million Construction professionals are already using the Construction Manager app. Construction professionals are able to use the app to make estimates of construction projects, calculate measurements and track necessary information. Users can also keep daily reports and maintenance logs of jobs, both on- and offline, and export their work to PDF reports.
A long time favourite and revered app for Construction professionals, PlanGrid is considered one of the best apps on iOS. It’s also available for Android. PlanGrid allows architects and contractors alike collaborate on all project plans, specs and photos. PDF drawings can be uploaded direct to the PlanGrid website, from which they will be automatically synced to all devices in real time. It’s a great way of helping disparate elements of the team come together to streamline the project.
An interactive 3D communication and presentation tool, BIMx is a multi award-winning app for the presentation of architectural designs. It is adept enough to work with even the most complex 3D models, and capable of handling those with masses of documentation. Architects, contractors and clients benefit from easy mobile sharing of plans with the BIMx app. Its unique Hyper-model technology is designed for integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation.
This construction app is as handy as its name suggests. And what’s more, it’s really very good looking. It’s a neat little multi-tool pack, which comes in useful at those times when you don’t have the necessary tool to hand. The iHandy Carpenter app features a plumb bob level for verifying verticality of walls and lines, a surface level, a bubble level bar, a swipe-able ruler, and a 180 degree protractor.
Need a calculator with all the trimmings? Well the construction app BuildCalc is an advanced materials estimation calculator. It can estimate materials for:
- Volume and area
- Roofing (sheathing, shingle, etc.)
- Siding and panels
- Studs, pylons, poles, balusters and posts
The app also allows easy conversion of distance, area, volume, weight and angles. Oh, and so much more. It’s pretty breathtaking how incredibly helpful the BuildCalc app is for Construction professionals, and how wide ranging its features really are. As such, a full manual with loads of examples is included, and you can knock up easy-to-use spreadsheet-style forms to keep all your calculations neatly together.
Pervidi allows users to automate any type of inspection and safety audit direct from the app. Everything from property assessments and asset management, through to work orders, service management and custom forms are covered.
Rather than a ready-built app, Flowfinity allows Construction companies to build mobile solutions bespoke to their business.
Users build mobile forms and enterprise apps using the software’s point-and-click editor. No coding is required, so the development timescale (and thus, cost) is significantly reduced. The apps can be changed and updated at any time, and those changes will take immediate effect.
Once built, personalised apps are then automatically published to users, and a database is created.
A dialogue can then be set up between both office and field users. Field users will collect and access data and mobile devices, and can email reports direct from the field to partners and managers, as well as direct to client. Office users, meanwhile, can review field operations in real time, and dispatch or assign tasks to be picked up directly by field staff.
The data gathered from the app’s use can be integrated with any other backend systems you’re using, and kept centralised, searchable and instantly available.
Staff can create tabular reports within the software, as well as custom-branded PDF documents. CSV files can be easily imported and exported through the software, and data can be visualised within dashboards with ease.
Flowfinity is also fantastic for intraoperability with third party apps (like mapping software, for example), and you can set up deep links to switch between your Flowfinity apps.
The Corecon construction app integrates estimating, job costing and project management into one place. Ideally suited to SMEs, Corecon is a great way to automate construction processes, collaborate with vendors and stay organised. It features an easy, clean and user-friendly interface that doesn’t require any real IT – making it perfect for even the most tech-phobic user.
Corecon currently has over 4,000 paying subscribers across 14 countries, pulling so many aspects of project management together that the time and cost saving benefits are hard to miss.
Rated top Safety app in both 2015 and 2016 (DailyReporter.com), the Safety Meeting app is great for mobile construction professionals needing to keep up to date with OSHA safety meetings, which are required by law. Offering a streamlined solution to recording and tracking OSHA-required safety meetings, the Safety Meeting app also allows multiple users to record any accidents or incidents, any near-misses, and track employee attendance, directly to mobile. The app covers 34 trade types (as defined in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s required meeting laws), and over 950 safety meeting topics within this.
Like the Construction Manager app, Safety Meeting also allows administrators to print and download PDF reports. Its ability to electronically store records of both current and past meetings, as well as both active and inactive employee data keeps things nice and simple for those all-important archives, too.
Just one account needed for a whole company, and it’s suitable for small and large corporations, as well as both Residential and Commercial construction projects. The latest version now offers free updates for life, and the topics are provided in both Spanish and English.
Another great planning app for collaboration between project members on the field. Fieldwire is a great organisational tool for allowing foremen, engineers, project managers and superintendents to share vital information (including photographs, drawings, files and punch lists), as well as look at the latest sets of plans as they go. Contractors receive instant notifications to their device whenever a task is updated, meaning there’s little chance of missing important changes.
Performing many of the same calculations as BuildCalc, Construction Master Pro allows the full range of Construction personnel to save time and money by avoiding costly errors. Difficult construction maths problems can be solved direct on the job, and if you’re unsure of anything, you can just press and hold the desired key for full explanations, definitions and examples.
The most indispensable software for engineers, draftspeople and architects, AutoCAD simply needs to be mobile. Users can view, edit and share drawings direct from whatever device they’re using… a real godsend for those who rely on AutoCAD at work. The app features:
- Drafting, editing and markup functionality for drawings direct from mobile or desktop
- Access to advanced layer management, measurement and annotation tools
- Connection to external cloud storage (including both Google Drive and Dropbox)
- GPS syndication with points on a drawing
Users can create fresh new drawings direct from the job site, as well as viewing the most recent set of plans. Any changes made offline will also be synced as soon as you’re back online.
Currently only available on iOS, the Architect’s Formulator app contains over 400 essential formulas architects will need. Plumbing, Electrical and Carpentry formulators are all included, as well as Concrete and Excavation formulas. Special formulas specifically for steel and concrete design, for the design of pavements and parking areas, and even swimming pools, are included, as well as all the basics like windload and wind overturning force.
GenieBelt is building the next generation of project management apps for the construction industry. It’s an online and mobile platform designed and built from the ground up to support better project management and collaboration. It’s based on the innovative idea of transparently sharing an interactive project programme in real-time. It simply aims to help get construction projects completed smarter and faster.
So those are the top apps for construction currently in widespread use. Ultimately apps are helping the industry become more efficient and speed our, rather process-driven, sector forward.
Please do get in contact if you have any suggestions, and we can add them to the list.