Check out these must-have apps and tools to improve efficiency and profitability.
- Tech tools help construction companies better manage their business by increasing profits and delegating project tasks more efficiently.
- Software programs provide access to billing, quality control, project management, budgeting and mapping tools. Top programs include Procore, Atlas3D and Bluebeam.
- Wearables and other tech have become standard within the construction industry. Connected devices, such as augmented reality goggles, smart boots and hardhats, and drones help manage a construction site and its workers.
Running a construction business is unlike managing any other business. With so many moving parts and a lot at stake, having the right tools is key to success. From project management to imaging and GPS time tracking, here are six tech tools construction pros need in their toolbox.
Construction software tools
Procore is an all-in-one construction management software application that has everything to run a construction firm. It combines project management, financials, and quality and safety control into one solution. Features include bidding, meetings, drawings, photos, email, RFIs, time cards, specifications, inspections, budgeting, contract management, accounting integrations and more. Procore is a cloud-based solution, and is also available as a mobile app, making it accessible anytime, anywhere, even out in the field and job sites.
Concept3D is an interactive map and virtual tour platform. It comes with the MapSpacer app, which allows construction firms to show an interactive map of locations and building specs, and also provide immersive virtual tours of the building that's planned or under construction. Concept3D is also fully VR capable so users can easily connect their gear and dive in.
Bluebeam is a document conversion tool that helps streamline collaboration and workflow efficiency. It is an alternative to Adobe targeted specifically toward working with plans, as it integrates with many common software packages like AutoCAD. Bluebeam lets you turn scanned images into searchable documents, add text and markups, upload photos and videos, and export into Office file formats.
Kukun helps construction businesses with bidding, estimating and subcontracting. The tool allows construction firms to break their projects into subcontracts and issue bid requests from one platform. Users can specify subcontractors individually, use a list of their subcontractors or find new ones using Kukun's directory of vetted subcontractors. Subcontractors can then submit their bids online, and the bid manager can see a dashboard that compares all bids in one place to put together the best team possible.
Raken aims to make reporting faster and easier for construction firms. It automatically creates branded daily reports from inputs created by users, such as a field worker, foreman or superintendent. Project managers and other approved users can log in, and find reports and real-time job site information straight from the Raken dashboard as well as set up text alerts for specific events, such as delays and safety issues.
ClockShark is a GPS time-tracking and scheduling mobile app built specifically for companies with mobile workforces. GPS-enabled, mobile time-tracking apps are a must for construction firms to avoid wasting resources on poor timekeeping and payroll processes. ClockShark helps construction workers track time while at the job site simply by punching in and out, and management can easily locate them using GPS location data grabbed from their mobile devices.
Other construction tech tools
Tech tools are not limited to software programs. Wearables, drones and more are changing the way construction sites operate.
According to the industry trade publication Construction World, wearable construction tools that support augmented reality will be a trend that continues to grow. AR allows users to visualize projects in a lifelike manner. Workers view layers and layers of plans using augmented reality glasses. Along with wearables, smartphones with cameras can access augmented reality tools.
Drones have become a mainstay at construction sites. Drones provide precise measurements for the construction firm and travel to areas of the site that are typically not safe for workers. Drones are highly cost-effective since they provide surveys at a fraction of the cost of traditional types.
Another tech tool that has emerged within the construction industry is connected hardhats. Hardhats are now being outfitted that monitor the worker while on the job. The hardhats track the location of the worker as well as record movements and body temperature. Some types allow for digital photos to be captured and stored within the cloud. Work boots are now available with similar types of monitoring tools. SmartBoots track the wearer's location and sends out an alert in case of an emergency.
Eco-friendly construction materials
More and more consumers are looking for green solutions including eco-friendly building materials. New types of plumbing tech have become one of the more popular requests within the construction industry. New options include rainwater harvesting systems and dual plumbing options. Clients also want the company to rely on equipment and automobiles that are greener. You can expect to see more companies utilizing electric trucks to reduce their carbon footprints.