Five mobile apps for construction project management

Five mobile apps for construction project management


"I'm not an IT guy," cautioned Rob McKinney, safety director for Atlanta-based JM Wilkerson Construction. “I’m a safety manager, QC manager, and warranty manager who works for an old school construction company.” To the extent that technology can make all of those jobs easier, however, the self-proclaimed 'ConnAppGuru" is certainly an IT fan. Enough so that the "construction technologist" even chairs the technology committee for the Georgia chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Last week, McKinney presented a webinar for the national group entitled "Top Apps for Construction."

Whatever he may lack in the way of technical skills, McKinney certainly makes up for in passion, curiosity, and open-mindedness, qualities not normally associated with the 'old school'.  With a strong appetite for emerging technologies, the ConnAppGuru continually searches for the most effective mobile applications for his job sites, and to share with colleagues, he explained.

Invariably, the first thing managers want to know about tablets and mobile applications is their return on investment. But there are no quick answers or easy calculations for such ROI. For instance, McKinney noted, how long does it take to walk back and forth to your trailer to view plans?  How much time is spent taking pictures and uploading them to the shared server? How much paper does your project generate?  The answers point to the obvious: traditional methods demand time. Too much time. "Tablets and mobile applications takes information out of the office and into the hands of construction managers, in real-time, on project sites,” said McKinney.

So which new apps currently top McKinney’s charts, and merit consideration for your tool belts?

  1. Safety Meeting Application – With this tool, users can access a database of almost 1,000 toolbox talks to present to your crews, with the added ability of snapping photos, logging attendance and capturing all the other details inherent to your daily discussions and required by your office.
  2. FotoIn Mobile – Allows users to capture photographs with mobile phones, allowing pictures to by tagged, categorized, organized and synced to your office server in real-time.
  3. SmartUse – Cloud based product that allows your project designs to be distributed, analyzed, red-lined, updated in real-time and at impressive rendering speeds.
  4. Raken – This application acts as a jobsite daily report that can be completed, adjusted and shared in real-time.  Add photos or include customized surveys for more accurate reporting.  Reports are then collected and displayed on an organized dashboard.
  5. ViewPoint’s Mobile Field Manager – According to ViewPoint’s website, “Mobile Field Manager addressed the need for an effective mobile application suite to track and record time, equipment and production hours from remote locations and accurately passes that information back to the office.  Fully integrated with you existing construction accounting system…field teams can gather datat on an iPad, Android tablet and smartphone.”

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