6 Great Construction Apps You Should Build For Your Company
Although slightly on the rise, enterprise mobility is still an area that is considered new for industries like construction, an $8 trillion a year industry that spends less than 1% of its revenue on IT.
However, we can expect this to change as more and more construction companies realise the potential of using mobile technology to increase productivity and make work processes more efficient.
In fact, construction is particularly well suited to the introduction of enterprise apps because of the nature of its work, often done away from any office environment. With mobile devices, contractors can communicate and carry out daily tasks in much smoother ways, resulting in productivity gains and better collaboration.
In this article we give you a roundup of the kind of construction apps that could help companies reap all these benefits and get you on your way with enterprise mobility.
1. Project management app
A project management app is an effective way of keeping all information related to a particular project in one easily accessible location. Such an app could be incorporated into daily processes to make them smoother and more effective.
This could be a great way to allow everyone in the team to keep up-to-date with daily activity, whether in their site, at other sites or back at the office.
The app could be made as specific as possible as required, but some features that you are likely to benefit from are:
- Project timelines. Visual timelines with all key deadlines and dates.
- Equipment list. An updated list of all field equipment to help workers keep track of it while in the field.
- Architecture design. A document library containing all designs, blueprints, layouts, floor plans, specs and planning permissions.
- Contact directory. A searchable list of all team members as well as vendors and suppliers to make it easier to contact them when necessary.
2. Contractor app
Each individual contractor could benefit from an app too to make their work more productive and to make it easier for them to log information such as work hours. This would be particularly handy in the case of external contractors who may be unfamiliar with a particular company’s policies.
The app could include:
- A list of the company’s policies and procedures
- Essential health & safety information
- A timesheet feature to allow contractors to easily log their work hours
- An internal communications channel to allow them to get in touch with other contractors or company employees if needed. This could also help management to check in with contractors in hazardous locations to ensure they are safe.
- A calculator feature to help contractors make calculations more and reduce the risk of error. These could range from simple length, area, volume and density calculations to more complex ones tailored to particular areas of construction, from energy and drainage to roadways and roofing.
3. Reporting app
Contractors often have to log large amounts of data as part of field surveys and reports. This is traditionally done on paper and then transferred onto a database. A form feature could make this process more efficient by enabling users to input data and submit it directly to the relevant database. This could help save time as well as reducing the risks of human error.
When creating such an app, it will be important to ensure that the app works offline, as contractors are likely to work away from an internet connection. If working online, the data will be simply cached on the device until reconnected.
Data could also be used to create custom reports and send them directly to upper-level management. On the other hand, any issues encountered in the field could also be reported using the app and contractors could even include supporting information such as images to make reporting more accurate.
4. Disaster Recovery app
Any company can benefit from a disaster recovery app but construction companies are generally at a higher risk than most companies of needing such an app.
There are two main features of disaster recovery apps that could be useful to construction companies:
A directory feature with a list of all emergency contact numbers and other details could enable contractors to easily contact the relevant people during an emergency. The app could even be designed to ensure that only the relevant contacts for that particular day or shift appear, so that contractors can easily and quickly find the right people.
By ensuring that all contractors need to do is tap on the relevant phone number on email address to be instantly redirected to their phone or email application, you can also ensure the disaster reporting process is smoother.
An appropriate list of emergency regulations could also be invaluable to contractors in the event of an emergency. For example, appropriate response plans for each kind of emergency scenario could truly help them ensure they are responding appropriately.
5. Support app
There are many ways in which an app could help speed up non-emergency support for contractors or allow them to self-assist, reducing their reliance on support staff.
A contractor support feature is just one example of how an app can do this, by making communications between contractors and other employees more efficient. If a contractor encounters a problem or needs help with something, all they need to do is get in touch with the relevant people via the app.
An example where this could be particularly useful is if the contractor needs to ask for special permissions or technical advice.
Health and safety
Any health & safety issues could also be reported in the same way and more accurately using an app. For example, contractors could use mobile technology and sensors (images, video, GPS, etc.) to better record and monitor these issues and send data back to management in real time.
The app could also contain a summary of the main health & safety regulations and appropriate procedures if needed.
A document library feature could make it as easy as possible for contractors to access all the information they need via the app, from reference and how-to guides to field regulations. This could help them self-assist and lighten the load for employees back in the office.
6. Training app
A training app is a great way to speed up learning for new and existing employees. This is particularly useful in industries such as construction where there is a high turnover of staff.
The app could include learning materials on a variety of topics such as new technologies, regulations and projects.
The app format is ideal for learning as it allows you to use a wide variety of media, from video to embedded documents and interactive charts. This makes learning far more engaging and interesting for employees.
But where training apps truly excel is in their ability to include exam and quiz functions to test employees’ knowledge and easily track their progress. The app could even go as far as assigning points and badges to employees and even including a leaderboard to show the highest ranking employees. These things could prove additional incentives to get employees getting excited about improving their knowledge.
There are many ways in which construction companies can benefit from enterprise apps, particularly because of the nature of the industry and the disparity of its workforces. Construction apps can help construction companies greatly improve their productivity and as a consequence stand out from competitors.
In this article we gave you some ideas of the kinds of apps that can help you do this. Are there any we forgot to mention? Please do let us know in the comments below.