3.11.2012 Update: TechCrunch has written an interesting article about this as well.
The Construction Site
iPads are great for entertainment, social media and checking email. But, did you know the iPad can now be found in a place known to be incredibly unfriendly to any electronic device? You guessed it, the construction site. These places are grimy, dusty, dirty and not the place you would expect to find a consumer device like the iPad.
Harsh Environment Pro
The iPad however, is unusually well adapted to this harsh environment. With no fans to suck in the dust and grit into the delicate circuitry, all you need is a case and a screen protector to make this an excellent device to add to your tool box right next to the Skilsaw.
How Contractors use the iPad
From sales to invoicing to materials estimating to measurement calculators, there’s probably ‘an app for that’. Many of the folks I’ve talked to in the construction industry are deploying these device among their workers and running the iPad through its paces to see if it is up to the challenge of replacing good old ink on paper work flows.
Here is a list of ten of the most popular apps available for contractors:
1. SmartBidNet – According to their website this app can do all of the following:
- Create and send prequalification forms to sub contractors and manage the review and renewals process
- Manage all subcontractor and supplier contact, trade, and qualification details, communications, and bidding history
- Create and send bid invitations and addenda, project updates and requests for information using our custom mail editor and templates
- Keep project participants on schedule and up-to-date with extensive communication features and a shared calendar
- Generate reports on various subcontractor, bid project, or system data
2. Builder’s Helper – Packed with various calculators, this apps is a time saver for the construction pro. A building contractor has this to say about the app: “This app is a life saver! Use it all the time for job cost calculation, in job stair and roof calculations and more! Would highly recommend.”
3. Concretulator – In spite of the odd name, this app is quite useful for concrete workers. Baron comments, “Awesome!!! I’m redoing a deck and sidewalk this weekend. Thought I’d look online and see if there was a simpler way to estimate this stuff, and here it is!
Concrete’s cheap, but this app’s cheaper than the gas I’d pay by having to go back to the store even once. Awesome”
4. Dry Wall Calculator – Everyone knows dry-walling is hard enough without having to do all the estimating long hand. This app does it all for you. And for .99 cents its a bargain.
5. Roofing Calculator - From the website… “The Roofing Calculator app is made for roofing contractors and sales people to help you quickly estimate roofing cost, roof size, and roofing materials amount and prices.”
6. Fast Paint Calculator – Just enter the room dimensions and a few other details and presto! you know how much paint to buy and how much it’ll cost you.
7. iEstimate – This tool has a 4+ rating and while price at 19.99 (quite a bit higher than a lot of the tools linked here, it seems like an incredibly useful estimation app.
8. I.D. Wood – This is an incredible tool when you are deciding what kind of wood you want to use on a project. It covers all the most common wood varieties used in construction and then some.
9. Home Builder Pro Calcs – This tool is like a Swiss army knife of home building and construction apps.
10. QuickBooks Mobile – This list would not be complete without a link to the most popular accounting software used by construction contractors.
I’m assuming, if you’ve read this far you are in the construction industry and currently use or are thinking about using the iPad in your business. If you are using the iPad in your construction business, feel free to share which apps you’ve found useful in the comments below. Also, if you have any friends in the construction industry, feel free to share this blog post on Facebook or Linked In or Twitter using the links below.