Last week I started a series about The Five Workflows for Apps in Construction that describes the use cases for apps by construction professionals. This week I will start to explore each of the five workflows in more detail and provide examples to try out. Today I will start with plans apps for mobile devices. Remember in the old days (I.E. 2009) when construction Superintendents and Foremen had to carry around a rolled up set of plans?

The construction industry has been slow to adopt new technology to improve productivity and make them more efficient. Many construction firms are still locked into the traditional processes for project management,i.e. paper plans and documents. There are many estimates that show construction workers on site only spend about 30 percent of their time on project sites. That means that the majority of a Superintendents day is spent on walking back and fourth to a trailer to view plans or waiting for answers to items such as emails and RFI’s.

Now through the power of apps on mobile devices construction professionals can share, view, and mark up plans in real time. They can now stay on the project site longer and answer questions, ensure work in being installed properly and do what they were meant to do… Supervise!

A few great apps for plans to try out for construction projects are:

BIM360 Field:

The BIM360 platform was originally developed by Vela Systems, which Autodesk acquired in 2012, and rebranded as BIM 360 Field. This cloud-based platform allows users to create and update issues, reference project documents and complete checklists for  QC, safety and commissioning for a project. The app allows users to mark up plans and progress photos to indicate items such as progress, quality and safety. The “pushpin” feature lets the user add pushpins onto project plans and photos indicating where there are issues that need to be fixed. The marked up plans can be shared or emailed to other team members. One unique feature of the BIM360 Field mobile app is that it allows project members to view and access a BIM model on the iPad. This provides users with access to key design information as well as the ability to track project progress.

BlueBeam (Revu):

The Bluebeam platform offers users an amazing amount of power for the asking price of $249! This extremely innovative platform allows users to  to so many things. One of the first features that caught my eye was the Markups list that tracks the author, date, time and comments associated with each markup. Another unique feature is the plan comparrison feature that allows uses to compare new revisions of plans to old plans. The Studio feature allows users to join in on existing Studio sessions created in Bluebeam Revu for Windows, or start a new one on the go. Upload your PDFs to a Studio session and invite attendees from around the world to view, chat and markup the same PDF together in real-time or separately on your own. All session activity is tracked in a Record that links back to the PDF to easily review past session activity. What are you waiting for?

Fieldwire

The Fieldwire platform provides a unique mobile-first collaboration platform on mobile devices to manage projects in the field through tasks related to the plans. The plans are auto-hyper-linked and distributed them to team through their Apps for Android and IOS. The online platform allows project managers and foremen to create a list of tasks and rank them based on priority one. As things change, they are able to very quickly reorganize those tasks, which helps to make workers more productive. In addition, the app allows users to manage project items such as tasks, punch list, and safety inspections. They are integrated with Box and Dropbox for document uploads. They offer four account levels for app users. 

PlanGrid:

The PlanGrid platform allows users to share project drawings through a cloud based server. Once the drawings are posted they can shared with other team members. The app will alert you when new drawings are posted to the system. One of the hidden system items is automatic hyper linking of documents. Users can add notes, photos, and take measurements with the app tools. You can also create a punch list of items and assign them to collaborator members. The app allows you to create a issues report that can be converted into a PDF and emailed to anyone you choose.

Procore:

The Procore platform is a cloud-based construction management software application. Users are able to manage their projects from any web-connected mobile device, laptop or desktop. The online portal provides users a way to view plans and collaborate on projects documents such as submittals, RFIs, contracts, and schedules. The App allows all users to edit and share project data from the job site while facility owners can view the progress of each project in their portfolios.

SmartUse: 

The SmartUse platform allows users to share project plans through a cloud space and collaborate on them in real time. There are three interesting components to the SmartUse platform: the desktop software, the tablet app, and the Smart Table. The tablet app is available on the Windows  and IOS App Stores. The App provides users with an easy navigation experience to move between plan sheets, detail callouts and submittal documents. The app also offers innovative features such as adding video or voice notes to a plans. This is the first plan app that I have used on a tablet that allows a user to compare plans. This is accomplished in the “workspce” section of the app.

SkySite:

The SkySite platform is an integrated cloud based document management solution built for the construction industry. This unique platform offers users a combined website, desktop and mobile experience. The idea was to create a single source cloud based repository for all project related documents. The Cloud platform host users documents and worls with teh desktop one way sync function. The IOS App provides users with an easy navigation experience to move between plan sheets, detail callouts and submittal documents.

Next week I will continue with more apps for construction such as Safety and Photos…