Feature Article /
Aug 2, 2017

11 Apps Every Building Professional Should Have

Fieldwire app iPad

Fieldwire app 

It’s easy to think of a smartphone as just a phone, but nowadays it can be so much more. Smartphone and tablet apps can do tasks that used to be just for computers, allowing builders and contractors to spend more time on site and less time behind a desk.

Here’s a round-up of the apps we think every building professional should try:

1. BuilderTrend

BuilderTrend is an all-in-one building app with services split into four categories: Pre-Sale Process, Project Management, Financial Tools, and Customer Management. Builders can track and generate bids, estimates, proposals, payments, orders, and budgets from their smartphones while travelling or on site. They can message between team members, store photos and to-dos and manage schedules. Clients also can log in online to discuss order changes and see pictures as a project progresses. Available on the App Store and Google Play, with plans starting at $99/month. buildertrend.com

2. magicplan

By taking a 360-degree video of a room and marking corners and doorways, magicplan can create a basic floor plan on site in a few minutes. Users can then adjust the plan as needed by moving walls and placing furniture. They also can connect multiple rooms to create a full home or apartment layout and then export it to several different file types. Available on the App Store and Google Play, with plans starting for free. magic-plan.com

3. Fieldwire

Fieldwire is an app for marking up blueprints and sharing them on site. It also can handle material take-offs and schedule and assign tasks. The app is searchable, so users won’t lose track of old projects. It can be integrated with Google Drive, Excel, Dropbox, and more. Available on the App Store and Google Play, with plans starting for free. fieldwire.com

4. Home Builder Pro Calc

This calculator app can do 400 different home improvement and unit conversion calculations for all types of building processes. The app’s abilities span from business calculations like pricing and travel costs to calculations for board feet of timber and concrete volume. Each calculation can be saved or emailed. The app also has a glossary of nearly 370 building terms. Available on the App Store for $4.99. doubledogstudios.com

5. Silver Spaces

This app can be used during renovations to assess what needs to be done to make a home safe for aging-in-place. It includes a questionnaire for residents, guidelines for different rooms, and a place to store photos and notes while on the job. The app generates assessment reports that can be emailed or printed. Available on the App Store for $14.99. silverspaces.com

6. NIOSH Sound Level Meter

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued this app to help builders and construction workers make informed decisions about potential hearing health hazards on the job. Workers can measure and save work-site decibel levels and compare them to the app’s guidelines for exposure. Available on the App Store for free. cdc.gov

7. Joist 

With this app, contractors create and manage estimates and invoices from their smartphones, allowing them to reach potential clients more quickly. Customers can also submit their payments through the app (for a small fee) so contractors get paid faster. Available on the App Store and Google Play for free. joist.com

8. BuildCalc

BuildCalc functions like a full construction calculator and can also generate layouts for stairs, arcs, rake walls, and more. It can convert measurements and calculate the amount of materials needed for a project based on room dimensions. Available on the App Store and Google Play for $24.99. buildcalc.com

9. iHandy Carpenter

The Carpenter app from iHandy includes five simple but useful tools for construction professionals: a plumb bob level, a bubble level bar, a ruler, a surface level, and a protractor. Available on the App Store for $1.99. ihandysoft.com

10. Safety Meeting App

This app makes OSHA-required safety meetings easier with meeting topics, guides, and safety checklists. Users can also document meetings and accidents and generate PDF reports from a smartphone. Available on the App Store and Google Play, plans start from $89 per year. safetymeetingapp.com

11. BIMx PRO

BIMx PRO uses Hyper-Model technology to create 2-D, 3-D, and virtual-reality renderings of blueprints and models from nearly any software. It allows the user to measure length, angle, and area dimensions of models from the app. There is also a free version that clients can download to view the generated Hyper-Models before construction starts. Available on the App Store and Google Play for $49.99. bimx.archicad.com