Construction Apps

March 3, 2021

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the use of mobile apps in construction. However, the 2020 JBKnowledge ConTech Report shows that data sharing and integration amongst company software and other apps is still behind.

The survey found that 92% of workers in the construction industry are now daily using a smartphone on the job, and one in five workers utilize at least six construction apps in the field. The use of mobile devices ranges from viewing project documents (78%), service billing and dispatch (74%), the creation of project documents, such as emails and RFIs (71%), loading time for payroll (71%), BIM model viewing (65%), and viewing installation drawings (63%). 

That said, 27% of those surveyed mentioned that none of their apps actually integrate data. 34% say three or less apps integrate at all. Therefore, half of these workers have to manually transfer data use spreadsheets, CSV (37%, custom built integration (29%), email (16%) or XML (5%).

The report noted the following: “ConTech influencers are rather candid in explaining how manual entry and spreadsheets are the antithesis of innovation. Perhaps this notion isn’t widely known yet, or people are unbothered by the redundancies caused by manual entry and spreadsheets. The time has come for smarter solutions, and placing integrations among the most critical features for app and software solutions.”

A few more key elements found in the survey include:

  • For daily reporting, the top mobile apps were almost the same as prior years. PlanGrid, Procore, Bluebeam (Revu) once again took the top three positions. All three of these apps indicated increased usage from  2019 to 2020 (18.6%, 14.4%, and 9.5%, respectively.) The app Procore saw a nearly 19% increase in users over the past year.
  • Almost half (45%) of project management workflows still depend on spreadsheets. This includes estimating (62%), accounting/ERP (51%), bid management (36%), takeoff (27%), project scheduling (27%), tracking data/performance metrics (26%), field data collection (14%), project management (45%), client relationship management (11%) and CAD/BIM (6%).
  • Software specifically dedicated to estimating, project management, bid management, and takeoff had growth in 2020. The report continues: “While the changes aren’t staggering, the small conversions from spreadsheet to software should not be overlooked. Whether it’s a better understanding of how to use software or respondents finally appreciating the ROI of software, the needle is moving forward.”
  • Almost one-third (29%) of the survey respondents claim to not bid on projects involving BIM, and 12% outsource part of their BIM, and 13% entirely outsource BIM to someone else. Many companies are utilizing BIM mostly for coordination/clash detection (61%), visualization (53%), project planning (48%) and virtual mock-ups (37%).
  • The hardware that technology survey respondents are using include robotic total stations (45%); 3D scanners (43%); HoloLens, XOi or augmented reality devices (14%); virtual reality goggles (4%); RFID or other tracking devices (6%); and TigerStop (27%).
  • Approximately a quarter (24%) of survey respondents made use of off-site construction more frequently in the year 2020 than they did prior due to pandemic restrictions. Overall, 40% of construction workers using prefabrication claim that it has given their company a strategic advantage.
  • 13% of respondents say that in 2020, they experienced a data security breach. Less than 10% are not currently using any data security solutions. Tools such as two-factor authentication, training, and mobile device management are currently being put to use by more than half of all respondents.

The report’s authors had the following comment: “It was disappointing to see simple yet invaluable solutions like cyber liability insurance coverage, cloud liability insurance coverage and cross-platform authentication under-utilized.”

Charter Estimating is a professional electrical and pre-construction estimating company that offers long term and short-term estimating solutions for contractors around the nation. Whether you are looking for part-time, full-time, or more than one estimator, we are always here to help you further your company’s goals. Get in touch with us today!

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