Loyal readers will recall our previous discussion regarding the prevalence of tablets and iPads on construction project sites. As the industry becomes increasingly connected, user-friendly apps for mobile devices are changing the way contractors perform their work on a daily basis.
Apps, which can often be found for free, are available for a wide range of industry-related uses, including apps for building codes, conversion tables, and equipment selection, among others. As more apps are developed, contractors are relying less on hard copy drawings, reference manuals, and charts, as in years past. Indeed, mobile device apps are the tech-savvy contractor’s best avenue to improved project efficiency. The ability to check specifications and compare products and pricing from a smartphone or tablet will drive further use of mobile devices at the jobsite, as well as app development. Cutting-edge apps presently receiving attention in the construction industry include the following:
Copper Tube Handbook: the Copper Development Association (CDA) has converted its Copper Tube Handbook into an app that can be downloaded (at no cost) directly onto an iPhone or iPad. Contractors, plumbers, and HVAC technicians working with copper tube and piping or seeking to reference specifications or installation instructions may quickly and efficiently access this information directly from the field.
Map Mobile: Bentley Systems (of Exton, PA) has developed an app, which recently received rave reviews after being beta tested by the Philadelphia Department of Water. The app, which runs on the Android operating system, shares geospatial information and allows engineers fast and easy access to subsurface infrastructure data. Previously, engineers were often forced to sift through hundreds of pages of paper maps at site locations in order to track down the pertinent information.
In addition, Construction Informer Blog recently posted information about five other new apps that are helping to increase project efficiency. These apps include iBlueprint, which allows users to create and export custom blueprints on their tablets or smartphones. Another app, called SmartBidNet, is a bid management tool that allows contractors to track bid and project information, interactions with subcontractors and vendors, and the amount/status/due date of incoming materials and supplies.
Today’s cost conscious clients have high expectations and are demanding the efficiency that comes from digital devices and mobile apps. Accordingly, forward-thinking contractors would be well-advised to incorporate these important tools into their business plans as soon as possible.
Robert O’Brien is an Associate with Cohen Seglias and is a member of the Construction Group.