Technology is at the heart of almost every industry, providing new and innovative ways of improving processes and helping companies to generate additional business. Once you get past the initial investment, new technologies and systems start to pay for themselves (if implemented right) and in the case of construction apps it is often the smallest of investments that lead to sizable improvements.
The construction industry might not be one that is immediately linked to technology, due to the 'hands-on' nature of the work. but there are all kinds of ways in which the industry has utilised innovations – and apps specifically – to reduce costs and increase productivity.
We decided to update the previous list we produced by in 2016 and conducting some further research into the increasing number of apps for construction professionals in order to discover which can bring the most value to workers across the UK.
What are the most popular types of construction apps?
The most popular apps for construction professionals vary between project management tools and those that enable sub-contractors to bid for work. In our analysis of the best apps available, we’ve tried to cover those that cover different areas of the construction industry to provide something useful for everyone.
SmartBid Mobile is only available on iOS devices and requires iOS 8.1 or later, but it provides the perfect platform for sub-contractors to bid for work. The application has a dashboard that is clear and intuitive, enabling you to store contacts and details so that you can get back in touch with contractors you’ve worked with previously, and the system works with the SmartBit Internet application that requires users to log-in. It was first released in July 2017 and has been rated 4+ in the AppStore. In case you wanted to see what the clever and highly popular app looks like there is a handy YouTube guide available here:
Builder’s Helper is a user-friendly construction app that helps builders to cost jobs quickly and easily, enabling you to give out the estimate to the customer and seal the deal as efficiently as possible. Capable of handling a variety of different projects including concrete, rafters, roofing and flooring; the calculator works out measurements and essential details, and you can even print the quotes or email them to your customer as a professional PDF. Having been available in the AppStore since May 2015 it’s gained an excellent reputation and has received 3.5 stars from users.
Construction Cost Estimator is a similar and equally popular calculation app that helps users to provide costs and estimates while out on-site rather than waiting until you get back to the office. You can even save yourself more time and money by saving frequently used items into your cost book so that you can quickly tell your customer how much a certain amount of specific material will cost.
Russells Workwise is a relatively new online tool and mobile app that enables the user to assess health and safety standards across a site. By using this tool you can store and collect information about your premises to ensure that everything is legal and safe for all members of staff and visitors.
FingerCAD is one of the most creative iOS and desktop apps available at the moment and has recently been updated for HD, enabling you to make technical drawings with your fingertips! Rather than taking photographs and going back to the office to sit down with paper and a pencil, you can make instant assessments with the help of the computer system that can then be emailed, saved and edited at a later date. This is a fantastic little app that can be used by everyone from students taking their first steps into the profession through to experienced architects and surveyors and has been rated 4+.
EarthCam have released their updated Control Center 8 app which enables you to send instant video from the site to anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. This is great for sending footage to colleagues to get their thoughts on what is possible or areas where you may be unsure on the best approach; as well as streaming a presentation of what you and your team have been doing. Video is one of the most effective and in-demand formats so combining this with a mobile app to communicate seamlessly is a win-win for all concerned.
The use of technology to help professionals in the field
Technology has changed the way we all do business, from construction workers and architects out on-site to project managers who ensure that everything is on-time. This in many ways is similar to fleet management and the kind of tools that we at Teletrac Navman have developed, making data available in an instant and helping to keep costs low and productivity high.
In the same ways that project managers and builders look to create quotes on-site, fleet managers want to look after their drivers and equipment, whilst optimising productivity whether they are in the office, on the road or on the work site.
In the years to come these technologies will continue to evolve making them more intuitive and user-friendly than ever before, and making collaborations much more frequent which will continue to benefit businesses all over the UK.