With the construction industry becoming increasingly digitised, here are 10 apps designed largely with builders in mind.
BIMx (Free, iOS, Android)
Users can open and explore ArchiCAD files to gain a greater understanding of a design. The app features visualization tools such as real-time 3D cutaway and element selection; navigation tools such as fly mode, gravity, and home view; and display modes such as hidden line, simple shading, and stereo 3D.
Users don’t need to be ArchiCAD experts to use the program, so it’s useful with clients.
Aconex Mobile (Variable pricing, iOS, Android)
Aconex is a full-featured software package for the the construction, infrastructure, and energy and resources industries. This app connects users on the fly to collaborate, complete RFIs, share documents, images, and project videos, access emails, review and mark up plans, and so on.
This app essentially helps the user manage all the information and communication that are part of construction projects. According to the company, it’s used by seven of the 10 largest general contractors in the world.
PlanGrid (Free, iOS)
PlanGrid facilitates annotation and collaboration for contractors and architects. The app lets users upload plans and changes, and automatically syncs so each team member has the current version. Users can mark up drawings, take progress photos and pin them to blueprints, and create automatic punchlists that will sync and become searchable.
aConcrete Estimator Pro ($2.99, Android)
This app gives the concrete pros just what they need. They can create unlimited projects with unlimited items, and calculate 10 different geometric shapes, such as a variety of footings, sonotubes, cul de sacs, and irregular slabs.
Steel Beam Design Calculator for Construction ($3.99, iOS, Android, Blackberry)
Need to know if a beam will do the job? This app makes it easy with inputs for span, beam type and size, point load or uniform load, steel shape, size, and type. The program then gives the user the specs for deflection and bending.
SmartBidNet (Free to subscribers, iOS, Android)
This app is the mobile component to the subscription-based program SmartBidNet. Users can create and organize their list of subcontractors, and keep financial data for each project, along with measurements and stats for the projects.
PhotoMeasures ($6.99, iOS)
Skip the notebook with measurements, and switch to PhotoMeasures. Users just take a photo of the job site, then document the measurements directly on the photo. The app offers zoom and edit features, and users can comment as necessary. When done, they can export the photos with dimensions by email or to the photo library, and organize their photos by category.
iHandy Carpenter ($1.99, iOS, Android)
With five tools built in, this app is a perfect fill-in when needed. Users can choose from a protractor for angle measurements from zero to 180 degrees, a plumb bob, a surface level, a bubble level, and a ruler calibrated in both imperial and metric units.
Dragon Dictation (Free, iOS)
Not specifically a construction-industry app, but Dragon Dictation offers greater productivity to nearly everyone in business. Simply speak and create texts and emails, then send out. Users can also update their social media status and dictate their tweets. In addition, they can use the app to dictate personal notes and reminders. The company claims using the app is five times faster than typing.
Snapseed (Free, iOS, Android)
If users need a photo app with a few options, they should consider Snapseed. This app is designed to help people tweak and share their photos, with functions such as Auto Correct, Tune Image, and Selective Adjust. Users can apply filters to get different looks, add frames, then easily share on social media.