Apple has a way of changing the way people consume technology. The App Store has reinvented the way in which consumers access such content as video, music, and games. Software providers in the construction market are embracing such a model and developing construction-specific apps. One software provider is taking it a step farther and has created a store for customers to download custom apps for the estimating process.

Estimating and digital takeoff technology provider PlanSwift, www.planswift.com, Henderson, Nev., took a cue from Apple when developing its latest release PlanSwift 9.0, which was officially released late last week. The product, which the company says features its largest roll-out of tools, features, and upgrades to date, was built on an open platform that will allow independent developers to build unique software plugins.

PlanSwift currently offers a “plugin store” on its Website, which is already stocked with many different plugins developed for companies to use. The store has a similar feel to what Apple is doing in that customers can read quick descriptions of the plugins as well as reviews from other PlanSwift users.

The options range from the basic, such as Microsoft Excel Import Tool, which allows you to import from your Excel file to create a parts list, to even some unique options like Restore Pro, which will allow you to create restore points for any job and allow you to restore back to any restore time and date.

Plug-ins that help integrate the PlanSwift product to other third-party systems, like accounting or other estimating programs, also exist within the store. Prices range anywhere from $0.99 to upwards of $200 in some unique cases.

While the plugin concept is unique and will certainly make people take notice, at the end of the day the effectiveness of PlanSwift 9.0 will still come down to how well it helps customers estimate and takeoff a job. The company believes it has an effective solution that fits the needs of its customers, as many of the updates were based on suggestions from its based of 10,000 customers.

Time will tell just how well PlanSwift has addressed the estimating and takeoff needs of the construction industry, but in the meantime the company is giving customers some unique options to enhance the process.