Mobile construction applications (or "apps") are almost a necessity these days. Modern construction professionals can use them to:
We created this guide to help construction professionals understand how they can benefit from these apps. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Increasingly, construction professionals have sought to harness the power of mobile devices to do their jobs more effectively. In response, more and more construction software vendors are offering companion applications (some being fully featured while others only offer a few core features) for iOS, Android and Windows smart devices.
The flexibility these apps provide allows construction professionals to be where they’re needed most—at the work site instead of the office—while still being able to execute on critical tasks.
Example of iOS and Android construction management apps
One important thing to note is that some construction apps are not standalone apps, meaning that you will have to have purchased the desktop or subscription software before you can use the app. These “paired” apps are generally free from the app store but will not work unless you have an associated account with the software vendor.
On the other hand, some construction apps are standalone, meaning you can purchase them from the app store without having to purchase or subscribe to any additional software or services. Standalone apps, while cheaper in general, might not be as fully featured as apps that are paired with traditional software.
Here are some common features you’ll find in many mobile construction management apps both Android and iOS:
|Estimates||Allows users to digitally create estimates for construction projects on the spot. Users can then sync the estimates back to their office system. Most cost estimator apps will have a material costs database that is regularly updated with market prices.|
|Bid management||Allows users to create, manage and send out bids for construction contracts.|
|Change orders||Allows users to receive—and in some cases carry out—change orders to plans and blueprints from customers.|
|Project management||Allows users to monitor project status and track the time it takes to complete various project stages.|
|Customer relationship management||Allows users to organize and store customer information and work order information associated with that account.|
|Document control||Manages documents, bids, RFQs and other important documents in one place so the user can easily find and edit them.|
|Scheduling||Users can schedule jobs and plan where and when to schedule their crews. Typically integrates with project management features to give users a total view of scheduling for a project.|
|Blueprints||Some apps will allow the user to draw up and modify existing blueprints, allowing the user to export the blueprint in a variety of file formats.|
In general, construction software is priced one of two ways: subscription pricing or a perpetual license. With subscription, you typically pay a monthly fee to use the software. That monthly fee is usually dependent on the size of your business or the volume of construction work your business does.
With a perpetual license, you pay a one-time fee upfront and can use the software indefinitely. However, even with a perpetual license, you might have to pay annual fees for support, maintenance and/or upgrades. The lifecycle for perpetual licensed software runs around five years, meaning you’ll likely want to upgrade to something new at that point.
When it comes to mobile construction apps, you likely won’t pay anything to use the mobile version of construction software that you are already using, unless the mobile version offers separate features or applications. You may have to pay more for standalone apps that are not paired with other software.
There are many vendors that offer construction management apps—each targeting different segments and business sizes within the construction industry. Whether you’re a solo general contractor or a multinational construction company, there is a solution to meet your mobile needs.
Below are some of the most popular vendors with mobile offerings:
BuilderTREND’s mobile application includes project management, CRM and time tracking
BuilderTREND offers a fully-featured construction project management and customer relationship management (CRM) application for iOS devices. Users can do everything on BuilderTREND’s mobile app that they can do with its desktop web application.
Co-Construct’s mobile app includes project management, time tracking and scheduling
Co-Construct features project management and document control capabilities (such as managing plans, estimates, bids, etc.), allowing users to track and document the progress of their projects. Users can send, receive and edit documents via the mobile app.
Procore’s mobile app includes project management, scheduling and document control
Procore’s mobile application helps with managing bids, document control and blueprint creation by allowing users to access all of a project’s data when they are out on the job site.
Users can access Procore’s main features via the mobile application, allowing them to make changes to plans, check off completed tasks and monitor the status of requests for information (RFIs) they have sent out.
Mobile applications have taken the construction industry by storm in recent years, making contractors’ jobs easier and preventing many headaches. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when making your selection.
Wireless availability. If you’re a contractor on-the-go in rural areas or areas without great cellular or data service, consider how well the mobile app will work for you. Does it require being online to use, or can it sync data later when it is connected? If it’s the former, you might want to look at other options.
Multiple users. If multiple people in your business are going to use a mobile application, consider what it will take to get everyone trained on it. Also consider how advanced the user permissions are. For example, you might want to limit certain functionalities to certain users so inadvertent changes can’t be made to a set of blueprints.
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