The potential for mobile apps in the construction industry is great, offering companies the ability to gather data easily on mobile devices. Still, one of the biggest challenges the industry faces is being able to easily integrate that information pulled in an app with traditional enterprise systems in the office. However, this is all changing, as more construction companies are putting apps to work.
Take the Ritz-Carlton Montreal renovation project, as an example. Pomerleau,www.pomerleau.ca, Saint-Georges, Que., is providing the construction services for the conversion of 230 hotel rooms into 130 luxury rooms and suites, and the extension of the existing facility to include 45 residential condominiums.
Eric Lessard, IT director, Pomerleau, explains for the hotel phase of the renovation project the builder used in-house spreadsheets to manage data associated with inspection processes, which was very time consuming. For the residential phase, the company decided to take a slightly different approach.
With the Aconex Field app, Pomerleau is able to capture construction defects and other issues on iPads at the jobsite, which means it is able to close out issues faster. Lessard says, for the residential phase of the project, the punch list is complex, which means managing data effectively using mobile devices was essential.
Aconex, www.aconex.com, San Jose, Calif., first launched its Aconex Field app last October. The Web-based field-management app is available either as a standalone product or with the Aconex Online Collaboration Platform, and can run on iOS or Android devices.
An app such as this enables contractors to easily share data inputted on a mobile app with the backend collaboration platform in the office.
As another example, Jayson Global Roofing, www.jaysonglobal.com, Edmonton, Alta., used to use paper forms to compile inspection data and a camera to take pictures. This meant a significant amount of time needed to be spent transcribing notes and scanning and uploading pictures.
In order to streamline this process, Jayson began using the ProntoForms,www.prontoforms.com, Ottawa, Ont., app, which integrates with any backoffice system. With this, the company is using three mobile forms with the most important being the quality control report. Field workers can incorporate signatures, photos, and barcode captures into forms on a smartphone or tablet. For Jayson, ProntoForms is connected to its servers, meaning forms can be sent to its FTP site.
These are just two examples of construction companies using mobile apps. Construction technology providers continue to come to market with new apps designed to improve processes for the construction industry.
Yesterday, LATISTA Technologies, www.latista.com, Reston, Va., announced it is now bringing its commissioning functionality to the iPad with the latest enhancement to its app. With the app, users can manage commissioning steps, record results using custom forms, view color-coded status of commissioning activities, and coordinate with other team members. Additionally, the data compiled with the app can be sent to LATISTA’s system for project reporting and metrics.
As the construction industry continues to become more connected at the jobsite, apps have a big role to play in how data is sent to and from the office.