In the next instalment of our technology series, EMMA O’BRIEN looks at construction apps.

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Whether behind a desk or on site, technology continues its advance into construction’s daily work, and mobile and tablet app makers are keeping pace. There are approximately 13,000 construction apps available now, taking projects from planning phase to completion. Whether you’re using a phone or tablet, Apple or Android, they’re all designed to make your job a little easier.


Layout 1 BIMx
This app, and its greatly enhanced sequel, BIMx Docs, allows you to view BIM models from your iPhone (iOS 6 or later), iPad or iPod Touch, whenever and wherever you want. It features a unique technology for integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation, offering extremely smooth handling and outstanding performance even for projects with complex models and extensive documentation. The BIMx app is free while the BIMx Docs version costs €64.99 and has an average rating of 4+.

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This app is currently on sale for €2.69. It’s available for the iPhone (iOS 4.3 or later), iPod Touch or iPad. It allows users to create new drawings right from their devices – no internet connection required. Draw with ease and precision: floor plans, land surfaces (and calculate area and perimeter), facades, mechanical or structural parts (and calculate moments of inertia), diagrams, field notes, and more. Review, query and edit while on site and then send drawings instantly via email or FTP. Rated 4+, cadTouch R5 is due soon.

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Voted one of the best construction calculators for iPhone and Android, BuildCalc is an all-in-one or multipurpose construction calculator. It has a price tag of €17.99, but it allows you to perform many different types of estimates and calculations, including: pitch, rise, run and diagonal right-angle calculations; rectilinear, cylindrical areas, and volumes; and, arcs, circumference, segments and arched rake-walls. It is compatible with iPhone (iOS 5 or later), iPad or iPod Touch.

Layout 1Steel Profiles Free
This is an easy to use and fully featured reference tool that includes steel shapes from European, British, American and Canadian standards. It gives users access to the current and historic Structural Steel Databases, right from their phones. The developer claims it has “everything you will need when checking/drafting/designing a steel member”. With a 4+ rating, this is easy to believe. The app is free and can be used on the iPhone (iOS 5.1 or later), iPad and iPod touch.

Layout 1Procore
This app allows users of Procore construction project management software to create, manage and share project data from their tablets and phones. Users can manage drawings, documents, photos, requests for information (RFIs), site diaries, submittals, defects, project contact directories and more. The Procore iPhone app has a rating of 4+ and can be used on iPhones (iOS 7.0 or later), iPads and iPod Touch.

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One for the remotely based client or supervisor, this app allows you to monitor the progress of workers while off site. It allows you to view and control your private construction cameras from around the world in real time over WiFi, 4G and 3G. It works with Android, iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. Voted a Top 10 Construction App by Engineering News- Record readers, it is free and requires iOS 5.1 or later.

OBrien_EmmaEmma O’Brien
Emma is Cost Management Leader Ireland at Arup.