Five employees standing at a desk looking at drawings and pointing at an iPad 1200x543
Five employees standing at a desk looking at drawings and pointing at an iPad 1200x543

A Primer On Mobile Applications for Construction

Construction companies’ teams are always split between multiple locations, with some construction professionals on the job site and others in the office. When both of these groups of employees have access to the same information in real-time, contractor firms can save time and money, with every department and individual on the same page, guiding the job to completion.

Due to the introduction of cloud-based enterprise content management (ECM) solutions and mobile applications, it’s easier than ever to achieve this level of synchronization. Now, field-working construction professionals and their office-based counterparts have access to the same solutions through interfaces uniquely well suited to access from different device types.

Rather than getting a limited view of organizational data, teams on the job site can use construction apps for ECM access from mobile devices. This includes both viewing the latest updates to essential documents and filing their own reports to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the current status of the project.

Mobile application suites aren’t just for crews on the job site. It’s normal for today’s executives to be on the go, as well.

What Are the Benefits of Mobile Applications for Construction?

Having a purpose-built and cloud-based construction ECM solution is an important step for contractors to make, centralizing data and ensuring the organization can access real-time, accurate information from multiple locations. Adding mobile components to the system is the logical next step, expanding that data access from the office to the job site.

Review, create, edit and share project data: If construction managers have to wait until the end of a shift to enter data into a system, staff in the office can’t react to that information as it’s being generated, limiting their ability to plan proactively and keep the project on track. After-the-fact data entry also raises the potential for inconsistency and duplication of input. Mobile apps give field crews direct access to the ECM system to ensure everyone is working with the same data.

Record and view information from the job site: Mobile app access allows managers on the job site to immediately share their daily logs of activity, along with labor time clock information and productivity data. Team leaders can supplement their reports with weather information, photos of progress and more, to ensure every stakeholder has a real-time view of the site.

Manage drawings, punch lists and more: When drawing management solutions are accessible through mobile applications, it’s possible for personnel on the site to compare drawings to the actual conditions, potentially uploading photos and pairing them with the existing drawings. Punch lists are also at their most effective when items are updated in real-time. These specialized applications and more are available via mobile construction apps.

Work with financial data, invoices and more: Mobile application suites aren’t just for crews on the job site. It’s normal for today’s executives to be on the go, as well. Flexible mobile applications for construction allow access to office functions, allowing leaders to review information and sign off on approvals while they are traveling or otherwise away from the office.

What Capabilities Should Users Look for in Mobile Applications for Construction?

Just as not every construction ECM solution is the same, mobile apps will differ in their level of capabilities. Teams should make sure they have the best possible apps for their purposes, with feature lists that are tailored for construction and suit their day-to-day needs. The following are a few of the convenient features that will benefit team members directly.

Operating system agnosticism: Offerings that are just available on either iOS or Android mobile devices are less convenient than tools that work on both operating systems. Finding a mobile application suite that works on both iOS and Android is essential to ensure the greatest possible adoption – the value of mobile applications for construction is highest when the whole team can access the apps.

Offline capabilities: Connectivity to Wi-Fi on job sites may be inconsistent. Therefore, construction managers benefit from mobile applications that have offline modes. Losing access to essential data or being unable to use features when a device leaves a connectivity error can be a serious inconvenience, especially on relatively remote job sites.

An effective, easy-to-use interface: One thing that can slow down the adoption of any IT system – and render that system ineffective in the long run – is an interface that is confusing or user-unfriendly. Entering data on the job site or while in transit should be an intuitive process with little chance of input errors contaminating the results. This makes convenience an essential feature of mobile construction applications rather than a nice-to-have goal.

How Do Next-Generation Construction Workflows Improve Productivity?

Contractors that have embraced a single database platform for all their essential record-keeping needs, from accounting and financials to human resources, inventory and more, are able to improve their productivity and lower their risk. By enabling real-time updates and enabling visibility across the organization – with strict identity and access controls – these systems remove issues associated with potential duplication of data and inconsistencies between departments.

Adding mobile functionality allows data to reach new levels of timeliness and accuracy.

Since the CMiC ECM suite is purpose-built for the construction industry, every module from staff management to inventory, drawing management and more reflects the realities of contractors’ work. Adding mobile functionality allows data to reach new levels of timeliness and accuracy. It’s possible for leaders to make proactive adjustments and keep projects on track without waiting for reports to come in at the end of a shift.

Your construction business needs a solution that is effective and flexible enough to grow alongside you through the years. The CMiC suite does more than just support your unique workflows: It enhances them. Visit our resource center to learn more.