Digital humanities, digital studies, multimedia, social media, technology, and an array of words that may make you feel like you’re out of the “tech loop,” are seemingly popping up at every turn. But what do all of these terms have to do with the success of your construction company? Well, according to the slew of informative articles we get here at Walls & Ceilings, technology seems to be an integral part of the future of the construction industry.
In our January 2019 issue of W&C, columnist Greg Duyka of “Centered on Solutions,” gave readers an insight into the need for technology usage in their businesses. Duyka states that, “For many construction firms, incorporating emerging technology is a great way to attract and retain the next generation. The more whiz-bang tech like drones, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, Smartphone apps, tablets, and wearables are proving a strong draw for hiring this demographic.”
If you’ve been looking for a new way to grow your business, then an integration of technology may be your next step. For a simple place to start, our editorial team spoke to some of the top contractors in the nation to see what kind of applications they were using. Construction Apps are a great way to dip your toes into the technology pool, without feeling completely immersed and overwhelmed by the media age. So, whether you already use them or you’re yet to try, below is a list of Apps that could help you elevate your business.
The Application Showcase
A web-based software used for pdf creation. This software allows you to convert word documents and CAD drawings to PDFs. It also delivers editing, markup, and collaboration technology for team collaboration and workflow.
Price: Varies based off chosen program. Pricing available on website.
An app that allows you to access all your construction documents/blueprints right from your phone. With capability to edit/add notes to various documents.
Price: Free to install. Various annual and monthly billing options.
A construction management app where you can manage documents, process management software to control the location and status of changes, and communicate the cost of projects with your team.
Price: Free to install.
Plexxis Foreman App
An app made by Plexxis Software that allows crew members to add and approve time sheet entries from anywhere without any internet connection. This app also includes purchase orders, roll call, employee job information and more.
Price: Free to install.
OST (On-Screen Takeoff)
An estimating software developed by On Center that helps contractors reduce costs and improve accuracy.
Price: Varies. Free 14 day trial.
Sage 100 Contractor
A web based application that helps with financial accounting and
Price: Varies based off business size and other factors.
A mobile app that helps business professionals to quickly and easily build applications that manage data and improve processes.
Price: Free to install.
An estimating software by On Center that creates accurate estimates faster than it would be to do manually.
Price: Request a quote on website. Free Demo.
Armstrong Sound Level Meter
A phone app that measures the sound level in your space and recommends the best ceiling tile to use for optimal sound quality.
Price: Free to install.
When gathering information from different contractors about the advantages they experience from using these mobile apps, one person in particular, Michael Kosinski, CFO of Ford Drywall and Stucco Inc., had this to say, “Technology assists to provide more accurate and timely information both to and from the field to integrate and leverage the information produced in the various departments to monitor and respond to changing field conditions.”
Kosinski’s comment gives insight into what seems to be the general consensus of utilizing technology in construction. Mobile apps are assisting with this trend as they are capable of providing information more accurately and quickly from geographically anywhere.
In a field where many employees are working from remote locations, mobile apps are also providing a way for team members to collaborate, share information, and have more accurate data at hand, at all times.
For example, Michael Ivester, president of Ivester Drywall and Painting Inc., had this to say about the app PlanGrid, “When you have multiple jobs, you can carry multiple blueprints at a time.” He describes the advantages of such an app as being its “ease of communication,” along with the hands-free approach it provides workers on a jobsite.
Apps like PlanGrid create convenience and an ease of communication. Amongst the contractors who find this app helpful are President Lee Zaretzky of Ronsco Inc., and Vince Nihipali Jr., president of Ka Moi Construction. Zaretzky commented on why he uses this app, saying that it gives “access to all construction documents for field/Foreman with [the] ability to add photos and notes.” He also comments on the advantage of using this app, saying it provides “instant field access to all information.”
In continuation with the increase of communication and collaboration, it’s safe to say that this need for communication surpasses the employee/employer relationship. For most construction companies, this exchange is also important between those who work in the office, and those who work in the field. COO Larry White of Applied Restoration Inc., talks about how apps like Plexxis Foreman have helped with this exact issue.
“It has helped with foreman efficiency in the field and improved paperwork flow and efficiency with payroll and project management. It has also dramatically narrowed the gap between field operations and office operations,” he says.
“The purchase of the software applications has streamlined many of our processes which has freed up valuable time. This is true for our administration staff, as well as our field staff. This has improved efficiency for reducing human errors. Less time to perform various tasks leads to increased profits,” says Edwin L. Saville, Jr., president of Associated Drywall Partners.
Saville comments on the prevention of human error when using software applications. Increased accuracy has lead his company to increased profits, and Applied Restoration Inc., isn’t the only company that’s taking advantage of the accuracy of mobile apps.
Being more accurate, saving time, and an overall increase in collaboration are all factors that help improve the success of any business. And these construction apps may be just the thing to help you get there.
company name: Armstrong Ceiling Solutions
app name: AWI Savings Calculator
target audience: Commercial Contractors, Architects, Distributors
app description: Quickly calculate savings with the Time, Material, and Labor Savings Calculator. This design and construction efficiency tool for common job-site conditions will allow you to:
- Plug in your job or project details and go
- Compare traditional vs. pre-engineered solutions
- Receive takeaway dashboard or share savings instantly
company name: CertainTeed Insulation
app name: InsulSafe® SP Field App
target audience: Insulation Contractors and Remodelers
app description: CertainTeed’s InsulSafe® SP Mobile Field App provides installers with easy access to the information they need most, exactly when they need it, on the job. With a few quick taps you can access:
- The InsulSafe® SP Attic Calculator provides quick and easy on-site estimates to customers
- An Attic Troubleshooting Guide to answer commonly asked questions
- Health and safety information
- Product information including specifications, brochures and videos
company name: Company: Foundation Building Materials (FBM)
app name: AWI Savings Calculator
platform(s): iOS and Android
target audience: Commercial & Residential Contractors
app description: By using the FBM Mobile App, contractors can now eliminate the costly guesswork and follow up associated with building materials delivery. No more calling a branch to ask where’s my order, when will it be here or has it shipped yet; the FBM App Order Tracking System utilizes state-of-the-art GPS technology to provide real time push notification and email updates as to the status of an order. Whether an order has recently been placed, is in the process of being picked, happens to be en-route or was just delivered on-site, FBM App users know exactly what is going on from start-to-finish. Better yet, the FBM App also has an advanced “Map My Truck” feature which allows users to view and follow the actual location of their truck on a map for even more accurate delivery information. Get started by downloading the FBM Delivery Tracking App today!
company name: Johns Manville
app name: SmartBinder App
platform(s): Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play
target audience: Contractors, Specifiers, Distributors, Sales Teams
app description: When you need on-the-go access to JM’s product data, going to the JM website may not always be an option. That’s why we have the JM SmartBinder App. This free app gives you mobile access to all of our building
insulation product information in one, central location.
- The SmartBinder App offers a variety of benefits that can help improve your efficiency:
- Easy access to product data sheets, technical bulletins, and more.
- Customizable save settings for quick access to the documents you use the most.
- Easily email information to your customers for fast collaboration.
- Automatic updates ensure information is always current.
- Data available even without internet access.
company name: Plexxis Software
app name: MOSAIC MOBILE
platform(s): Apple and Windows
target audience: Specialty contractors only
app description: Drawings with takeoff properties | Foreman Daily with auto-timecard data | Timecards with job specific cost codes and subsections | PO requisitions with budgeted material option | Extra Work Orders with customer approvals | Job Progress with quantity or percent complete | Live Labor Breakout in man hours including change orders | Live Material Breakout in quantities including change orders | Tool Tracking | Roll Call | Job Photos & Files | Custom Form Builder | Time Tracking
URL: www.plexxis.com | firstname.lastname@example.org