Eight Useful Apps for Builders

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Friday, July 18th, 2014
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Builders and subcontractors can now manage most, if not all of of their business from their smart phones and/or tablets. Here are a few of the most useful apps.

Home Builder Pro Calcs ($4.99, iPad and iPhone)

This app has more than 350 calculators built in, including loans, pricing, and travel costs; concrete and paving calculators; electrical; floors, walls, and ceilings; foundation work; framing, including siding, joists, studs, stairs; HVAC, including insulation, air conditioning, and airflow; hours estimates for carpentry, concrete, doors and windows, finishes, roofing, and site work; landscape and yard; masonry work; 24 area, volume, and angle calculators for a variety of shapes; 26 different unit conversions; 22 calculators for roof framing and roofing; and wood and materials.

Home Builder Pro Calcs

BuildCalc ($19.99, iPad, iPhone, Android)

Some say this may be the best builder’s app available. The program generates design layouts for stairs; balusters; miters arcs; hip/valley, jack, and common rafters; material estimates for studs, drywall, footings, masonry, fences, siding; includes numerous conversion features; and has extensive built-in help.

Spacing Calc ($1.99, iOS)

SpacingCalc is a specialized app that helps fine-tune your designs for siding, shingling, and pavers, for example. You just enter the size of the individual items, the number of items, and the size of the area to be covered and the app gives you the spacing or overlap.

Procore (Variable pricing, iPad, iPhone, Android)

Procore is a cloud-based project management app, so multiple users can see what’s happening in real time. Procore is scalable and serves a range of firms, from small firms to multinationals. Numerous features include a project dashboard, document management, budgeting, contract and change management, drawing management, daily log, scheduling, time card, photos, and more.

Control Center 7 (Free, iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone)

The Control Center app lets you access Earthcam cameras in real time to see what’s happening, as well as access saved archived footage. You must be an Earthcam client to use the app.

Control Center 7

Architect’s Formulator ($9.99, iPad and iPhone)

This program comprises 23 formulas aimed at architects, such as concrete and steel design, sidewalk design, swimming pool design, and basics like wind load. It also includes more than 400 formulas taken from the company’s electrical, plumbing, and carpentry formulators.

PadCad ($17.99, Apple and Android)

This app is not intended to be a full-featured CAD program, but it’s a fine first step for design ideas and useful for working with clients. You can export your designs to a professional CAD program, and it’s designed to be intuitive and easy to learn.

Siteworks ($39.99, iPad & iPhone)

This app offers a more streamlined way to handle punch/snag lists. With it, you can place tasks right on the pdf drawings, define the trade involved, and follow the progress; integrate stakeholders management; import drawings via email, Dropbox, WebDAV, and iTunes; and share reports via pdf, Excel, CSV, and more.

Many manufacturers offer proprietary apps as well, such as siding, paint, flooring, and lighting manufacturers.

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