On April 29th I participated in a panel discussion about the “Day in the Life of a Construction Professional” with technology at the AGC Georgia Construction Professional Conference. The panel provided an overview about how they each use apps and mobiles devices to complete different workflows on construction projects. The panel consisted of several construction professionals; one Safety Director, one Project Manager, one BIM Manager, and one Superintendent.

Rob McKinney (Safety Director at J.M. Wilkerson Construction)

I explained to the attendees how I have developed a Mobile Device Program for my company. One of the key workflows that we have focused on what developing a better way to document Site Safety Activities. Back in the old days, each project Superintendent would use paper based forms to document weekly Safety Meetings and Safety Inspections.

Safety (iAuditor:)

iAuditor is a web based platform that allows users to generator forms and distribute them to their team using a mobile app that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Once team members have completed items such as inspections and job hazard analysis reports these items can be converted to a PDF and emailed to the Safety Manager at the main office. The Safety Culture website offers a syncing function ( a paid monthly fee) for office staff to review all field team members completed reports in one spot. The app features a useful dashboard of the users recent activities and show performance metrics such as “At Risk” items.

Cory Montgomery (Project Manager at RK Redding Construction)

Notes (Evernote)

Are you looking for a way to organize, search and back up your notes everyday? Do you want to create notes and add photos, audio notes, and even files? The Evernote platform and app allows users create notes that
are searchable, can attach photos and audio notes, and even share and collaborate with others. The Evernote app can be installed on multiple mobile devices and computers. I have my account on an iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Dell desktop. With the sync capabilities I can access my info on any device. As an added bonus, you can also sync notebooks from the Penultimate app.

Mr. Montgomery explained to the attendees how he uses the FREE Evernote app to document the many meeting she attends each week. For example, when he attends a weekly OAC meeting (Owner Architect Contractor) her uses Evernote to type his meeting minutes. He also records the meeting and creates and audio  voice notes, pictures to share with his project team. Cory also uses Evernote for pre bid meetings (to take notes about questions from other attendees) and  for bid openings (what were the other numbers).

Trevor Barden (Project Manager at Tebarco Mechanical)

Virtual Meetings (Go To Meeting)

The practice of video conferencing is becoming more popular in the construction industry. Project teams are competing for work well outside of their normal geographic footprint. Project Owners are hiring teams members that may be separated by hundred of miles. This practice complicate the coordination and scheduling of traditional “on site” project meetings. Platforms such as Go To Meeting make it possible for team members that are spread out to connect on regular basis to meet and resolve issues.

Mr. Barden was asked by his company asked to create the virtual network for company with the Goal of getting organized. One of the main challenges he need help with was moving a BIM model to the field and improving the free flow of information between his company and General Contractor. He looked for several apps to help in that effort.  Mr. Barden now uses Go To Meeting for weekly clash detection meetings between his field staff and between General Contractors and other Subcontractors.

Jeremy Bennet (Superintendent at Parrish Construction)

Cloud Access (Acronis Access)

One of the major challenges of using mobile devices on construction projects is accessing file back at the main office. It is very important for field staff to have access to most current set of projects files, plans and answers. The trick is how to do this, especially on an iPad. There are now several great platforms that allow users to connect remotely to a server from a tablet or smartphone.

Acronis Access provides companies with a customizable solution for any system setup: physical servers, virtual machines, PCs, business-critical applications, and more. The Acronis Access app allows Mr. Bennet to remote log in his company server and work with other apps (Notability, Blubeam, etc). Through the Acronis platform Parrish has created a standard file tree structure, set up file permissions  for all files and folders, and set up folders to add items such as RFI (open and answered). The Acronis app work on the iPad and iPhone.

These were just a few of the great apps and solutions presented by the panel. Stay tuned for the next part of this series to learn about more apps that can benefit construction projects.