5 Digital Blueprint Apps That Mean Business
Go beyond the blue horizon
What is it about working with concrete that has construction stuck in the stone age? Not only are diesel-powered dinosaurs still lumbering around construction sites burning fossils for fuel, the majority of professionals are still reading their plans from dead trees.
That may seem like a colorful summary, but ask yourself this: what do the major industries of finance, news media, corporate communications and publishing all have in common? The answer is they were all once paper-based enterprises who began the dedicated (and profitable) switch to a paperless model. Digital cash interactions, Ebooks, emails, online news and digital magazines are well on the way to replacing their paper product ancestors.
When was the last time you folded out a paper map while driving? At Triple E we pride ourselves on forward-thinking solutions that do for the construction industry what GPS did for drivers. We’ve put together the reasons why you should fold up your construction paper for good and start drafting with digital.
Let’s begin with a recap of just how antiquated traditional prints are and the issues they (and the firms who use them) are always bound to suffer from.
The number of blueprints required on a site will vary from build to build so it’s safe to say that multiples are going to be needed. The construction firm, the contractor or sub-contractor, foremen, clients, building departments, banks and who knows how many on-site tradesmen may all require their own copy. These rolls and rolls of paper prints all have to be transported and safely stored somewhere, leaving them prone to loss and damage.
Now you’re loaded up with all those hard copies you have to get them into the right hands. Your choices are posting them out to the proper parties or manually delivering them yourself. Either way is time lost. Not only that, but if you went with the first option it’s up to the postal service to fulfil their promise which doesn’t always happen; so that’s inefficiency and unreliability right there. Who wants that on their construction site?
Plan views, elevations and sections all need to cohere into one harmonious representation of the intended build: that’s three different paper prints to find, unbind and roll out and three times the time consumed as you cross-reference all the details.
Being out in the elements is par for the course in the construction game and it’s no fun when the weather get a hold of your papers. Pinning down a print in high winds or running back and forth to wherever it happens to be hung to protect it from the rain are time-consuming and tiresome trips.
As rigid as its materials are, construction can be a very organic and fluid undertaking. Changes are sometimes necessary as a build takes shape. Hand-written revisions look messy scrawled onto an existing layout. After that you have to make sure that everybody’s informed which means more leg-work and time spent relaying the new information. That’s better than having the whole thing drafted and distributed again though, right?
Did we mention time-consuming?
The solution: the right apps to make the change
The technology is out there to put all the above problems in the past. Digital blueprint apps are making storage, distribution, cross-reference, weather and revision problems disappear with ease and we’ve taken a look at some of the best!
First up is Fieldwire, a very impressive design package that’s even free for small teams. The software allows a wide range of project generation and management options and is fully integrated with other major platforms from Microsoft, Google and Dropbox. Their Punch app allows users to fully prepare building inspections with photos and check lists alongside other features like plan views and construction management.
Next we have PlanGrid who also offer new customers a three weeks free option to get started with their digital blueprint package. Proudly stating that their Android based software is saving time and money on over half a million sites PlanGrid’s customer base includes general contractors, subcontractors, owners and designers. Customer reviews are excellent, and if you’re a little intimidated by using a digital solution PlanGrid have a handy page with educational videos to help you learn all you need to know.
Smartdraw is a desktop, online and mobile app that also operates in tandem with Microsoft, Google and Dropbox platforms for easier data sharing. There’s a truly impressive array of options on hand here that can streamline your project planning, process documentation and presentations and a quick scroll to the bottom of this page shows just how versatile a design tool Smartdraw can be.
Architects, engineers, general contractors and many more key construction players are served by Bluebeam, with 94% of the country’s top contractors utilizing their Revu app. It gives it users the ability cooperate on the same digital prints worldwide and in real time. Being online isn’t even necessary to communicate with other parties on your build. It takes care of your project by storing it on secure databases and has receieved a number of impressive upgrades in 2017.
They offer a 30 day free trial with clearly labelled choices between their Standard, Extreme and CAD packages. Whatever your role in the construction industry you’ll find something to suit you.
A comprehensive blueprint software, CADPro combines the ability to draft your blueprints with electrical design and civil engineering packages to name just a few. The interactive interface lets users customize their blueprints with notes and photographs inserted directly into the plans alongside vocal directions. There’s no free trial which lands it at the bottom of the list but check out their website as it might be just what you’re looking for.
Last but not least, we feel this is an app worthy of mention for construction pros. While it won’t help with blueprints, it can assist with practically everything else. If you’re feeling creative, the versatile Canvas app allows you to make use of over 20,000 customizable construction templates and even lets you create your own apps for your site. This is where we found Canvas to be an extremely attractive addition to any site’s software options. The sheer number of tailored apps they offer for every aspect of construction coupled with a 30 day free trial means there’s plenty of time to see if it works for you.
The wrap up before you app up
The future of construction drafting is paperless and the forward-thinking site will make the change to one of the many apps out there that will streamline their builds and save them time, money and stress. If you combine these apps with an upgrade to a greener, more efficient fleet of vehicles? You’re placing yourself at the front of the line when customers start looking for construction firms that mean business.
We’ve helped you on your way to the best apps for the job, and at Triple E we’re standing by to provide the highest quality battery-powered equipment that will save your projects just as much money, time and trouble.
Is your company ready to be part of a new era in construction? Affordable, efficient and green are what Triple E equipment stands for and we’d love to help you learn more. You can reach us on (954)-978 3440 or send us a message detailing your needs.