Mobility is the name of the game these days in the construction industry—as more contractors are taking technology to the field. Construction companies that recognize this are reaping the benefits with improved efficiency and project management at the jobsite.

For example, SpawGlass, www.spawglass.com, Selma, Texas, began accessing project information on tablet devices during construction on a Student Activity Center and Liberal Arts Building at the University of Texas, www.utexas.edu, Austin, Texas.

According to Chris Tisdel, BIM (building information modeling) technologist, SpawGlass, the company wanted to create a tight connection between design intent and field activities, in order to provide owners with high visibility and coordination throughout construction.

On the project, SpawGlass used F5v tablets from Motion Computing, www.motioncomputing.com, Austin, Texas, Primavera P6 from Oracle, www.oracle.com, Redwood Shores, Calif., Navisworks from Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., and Carlson Survey from Carlson Software, www.carlsonsw.com, Maysville, Ky.

Using the Primavera P6 scheduling software on the tablet allows surveyors to share project schedule with field personnel. In addition, being able to access Navisworks in the field allows the team to identify conflicts before it impacts the cost on the project. Accessing the Carlson Survey software in the field allows the team to select control points from CAD drawings and manipulate, layer, and overlay drawings.

On this project, the team tagged building components with barcodes, allowing the team to prepare the model for use by the owner. Each barcode includes commissioning data, installation data, maintenance schedule, and startup procedures, among others.

This is one example of how a project team is taking data out to the field. In the past year, Apple’s iPad has really opened up the discussion for tablet devices in the construction industry and technology providers are responding with solutions available on mobile devices.

For example, Maxwell Systems, www.maxwellsystems.com, King of Prussia, Pa., recently announced ProContractor MX Mobile Connect, which is an application that allows project managers to access project information on an iPad.

ProContractor MX allows contractors to manage takeoffs, estimating, bids and proposals, financials, procurement, inventory, payroll, and equipment.  With the Mobile Connect app, contractors can access RFIs (requests for information), transmittals, submittals, emails, and other project-related data in the field.

This type of functionality allows the construction industry to take data out to the field on mobile devices, and it is something more technology providers are offering to construction companies today. It will be interesting to watch construction companies really begin to take processes to the field in the coming years. The technology exists to do so, now it is just a matter of putting the processes in place.