Last year was a monumental year in the construction industry, and 2016 won’t buck that trend.
Coming out of the recession and now dealing with a labor shortage, industry professionals are turning to technology now more than ever to get their jobs done.
Mobile technology continues to gain prominence and plays a big role both in the field and at the office. According to a recent study by Sage Software, 48 percent of construction companies use mobile technology to access customer and job information; 47 percent use it for drawings, schedules, photos, and documents; 38 percent for daily field reports; 36 percent for job cost and project reports; and 30 percent for time keeping.
With that in mind we present our fourth annual best of the best Construction Apps List.
Here are 16 of the best construction apps for 2016
JobFLEX allows contractors to create estimates quickly and efficiently, even without an Internet connection. JobFLEX’s newest version is more mobile friendly and provides an easy-to-build materials list that is editable from anywhere. The customizable format can create estimates for up to 50 customers with one user account.
“It’s designed by people out in the field,” said Mac McCabe, JobFLEX’s VP of sales and business development. “We’ve come up with a solution that allows you to do an estimate really quick and get it to clients.”
After a year off the annual list, SmartBidNet returns with an enhanced interface.
Consisting of bid management systems, the iPhone app (also available in the Google Play Store) allows you to create and track the bid process. It also allows you to build custom prequalification forms in order to identify the qualifications and level of risk for subcontractors before inviting them to bid.
The app works with SmartBidNet’s bid management software and helps users keep track of vendors and subcontractors.
Need to keep track of your employees? Timesheet Mobile is a free app for iPhones and Androids. There is no software to download or text and data plans to purchase. Employees can capture their time spent on customer sites, jobs and tasks, adding notes and mileage, and can provide mid-shift information using Check Point. An alert will even remind employees to clock in and out.
Paper time sheets? Who needs ‘em? With ClockShark, supervisors can track the time and GPS location of employees using various devices. Available for Apple, Android and Window devices.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 Docs is so new it hasn’t been launched yet, but when it does in early 2016 you can use it to keep your project team on the latest documents, plans and models. It includes unlimited users and unlimited documents — all for free. The cloud-based document-management software integrates with mobile apps for easy document handling, whether you’re in the office or on the job site.
In advance of 360’s commercial release, you can sign up to preview its features.
Autodesk is a leader in construction apps and offers a range of valuable tools, including the recently released Building Ops, a mobile-first application for building operations and maintenance, and BIM 360 Plan, a cloud and mobile app for simplifying the planning process. See a complete list of Autodesk’s offerings at www.autodesk.com/products.
It may sound like a dating app, but it’s built for the construction industry. Harmon.ie gives workers access to documents, emails and collaboration capabilities. Can’t find a WiFi connection? No problem. With Harmon.ie, you can access your documents remotely, even when there is no connection.
BluVue is designed by construction professionals for secure, fast and reliable access to construction plans and revisions. It’s meant for mid-sized and large companies that have large plan sets in a design-build system. BluVue includes tools for PDF markups and attachments, supports workflows handling RFIs, streamlines centralized documents, and manages teams and notifications.
FTQ360 company officials boast that their app helps builders get better — and they may be right. The construction inspection and “smart” punchlist software apps add an additional focus on tracking and improving first-time quality, safety and subcontractor performance. You’ll have access to more than 150 quality control checklists.
Estimate Rocket, released in 2014 as a Web-based app, is an estimating, invoicing, scheduling, project tracking and CRM app that allows contractors to instantly create and send digital estimates and invoices in the field from any device.
The app is designed for people who work in high places and adds fall detection to their iPhones. It detects falls while running in the background by using the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer. If the app detects a fall, an audible alarm sounds for 30 seconds and then alerts your emergency contacts by email, text and voice message.
The Safety Meeting App makes the list for the second straight year because of its ease of use and easy interface. It covers 34 trade types and can be accessed from phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. It meets OSHA’s required meeting laws and stores records electronically.
The app, which now includes high-definition graphics, calculates quantities of concrete and rebar required for any concrete-pad project. It also calculates material cost and waste, and allows users to instantly email estimates to team members and clients.
PlanGrid has made the top apps list every year — and for good reason. It’s still one of the best mobile apps around, letting contractors and architects collaborate on all their project plans, specs and photos, as well as track revisions, document progress, and manage problems in the field while keeping the team in the loop.
Brookfield-based Penta Technologies has created an app for field inspectors and related personnel so they can perform their jobs quickly and without a single sheet of paper. It allows service-management staff and field-service technicians to stay connected.
Who isn’t looking for the perfect pour? With this app, you can set up your ready mix concrete order from your smartphone or tablet. You can also track delivery times and get information about a pour in real-time at the job site.
Photo Measures is useful for contractors, real estate agents and even the do-it-yourselfer. Simply take photos on your Android or iPhone and you can note dimensions directly on the photos. The app allows you to add text to any photo and export your dimensions by email (JPG or PDF) or to a photo library.