How Apps Help Construction Project Management
As with all professional fields, construction is experiencing a surge in available technologies to make day-to-day task completion and long-term planning easier than ever before. If you haven’t yet embraced mobile app technology on your jobsite, now’s the time to get on board.
Apps provide convenient efficiency on multiple fronts. While having programs on your desktop or even your laptop computer can be helpful, there’s really no substitute for being able to pull up information on a handheld device. Apps like PlanGrid put blueprints right in your pocket so you can avoid taking multiple trips to the trailer on the jobsite and stay focused and precise while you’re looking at a building in progress. Tools like this are an important part of an effort to go paperless or reduce paper use in a construction project management office.
App usage on construction sites can go much further than big-picture document storage. There are several apps available to store specific measurement information and perform complex calculations on the spot. For example, apps like RoofPitch, Photo Measures and Fast Concrete Pad Calculator can turn a smartphone into a Swiss Army Knife of versatility on a construction site. Many of these apps are useful for construction workers and subcontractors in addition to the project manager themselves, leading some PMs to suggest that all workers on their sites download specific app-based tools.
Speaking of apps that everyone on a jobsite should download, more and more project managers are using apps like Fieldwire and BuilderTrend to connect all the various workers on a jobsite. These collaboration apps are specifically designed for construction-focused collaboration, allowing for the sharing of important information like daily punch lists, schedules, bid lists and timesheets between different parties who may or may not interact in person on a daily basis on the site. It’s a great way to ensure everyone stays connected and up to date in a maximally efficient manner.
Not all project managers are skilled at the administrative side of their jobs, and when this is the case, paperwork can be a big headache. If you’re having trouble drafting and maintaining a good record of documents like incident reports, site diaries and meeting minutes, construction document management apps like Tradies can be a big help. These apps usually have a generous library of document templates (some apps have fewer than others) that you can simply fill out and email to vendors, subcontractors and clients. Apps like these can be especially helpful for independent project managers who don’t have administrative staff.
It’s easy to see mobile apps as a distraction, but it’s not all games and social networking. The apps mentioned in this article are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile app productivity assistance for construction project managers. There are tons of options available, and if you’re not sure where to start, take a deep dive into the features of one of the apps listed above to see how you can benefit from this technology.