Update 12/08/2016: This piece has been updated to include new and relatively unknown iPhone, Android, and iPad apps that have been recommended over the past year. This list now has ten apps instead of the original eight.
I hate to admit it, but I’m still using a Samsung Galaxy S5.
It’s not that I’m unimpressed with the S6 or S7, or that I dislike iPhones or am afraid of my phone exploding.
I’ve been banking on the Samsung S8. I’m hoping for a phone to experience, complete with 4K, VR, and a long-lasting 4200mAh battery.
If all rumors are true, the S8 is going to break the cycle of tiny, iterative smartphone improvements with a big push away from home buttons and headphone jacks to an all-on-screen experience.
I’m ready for cellphone addiction 2.0.
I already compulsively check my phone for messages, feel anxious when it’s not within reach, and even bring it into the bathroom with me.
And I’m always looking for the newest, coolest apps to make my phone even more appealing. Then I thought to myself: Why not make it a tool to make my work more productive? Especially since there has been an increased emphasis on mobile for site work?
Quality construction apps for remodelers are few and far between. After working through the Apple and Play stores, here are ten of the best.
iHandy Carpenter is five tools in one. It includes:
- A plumb bob
- A surface level
- A bubble level bar
- A steel protractor
- A steer ruler (in both centimeters and inches)
After the app is calibrated, the plumb bob, surface level, and level bar can be used as inclinometers and clinometers. Customers happily note that this app runs on newer and older iPhone models—and overall gave the iOS version stronger reviews.
Fieldwire is a cool app that offers unlimited projects, plans, and tasks with its free version–from there, construction managers can upgrade to include reports and data exports.
This app includes:
- Blueprint viewing
- Inspection tracking
- Agile project management
- Issue tracking
This mobile construction management software comes highly recommended with 4.5/5 stars on Google Play. And as for concerns for software bulk, one reviewer notes, “This is the most uncomplicated construction software I have ever used! Simple and straight-forward!” Now that’s what we like to hear.
Photo Measures is all about convenience. It allows the user to take pictures of a space and note down dimensions right on the photos—the photos are particularly helpful to remember how a room is laid out and can support working with contractors or clients to articulate ideas. This app allows you to:
- Take photos and draw measures on the picture
- Edit measures
- Add comments to photos
- Easily sort photos
- Export images as JPG or PDF
- Import photos of any size or aspect ratio
Users have noted that “keeping things organized” is time-consuming in this app on both Android and iOS, but Photo Measures has above a 4.2/5 star rating on both platforms.
4. SquareCalc Pro (Free for Android)
The idea is super simple. Want to calculate the diagonal of a square while on the job? SquareCalc Pro will do it for you for free. It’s as simple as that. And reviewers love it with 4.3/5 stars on Google Play. As one notes, “Quick, easy to use, straight forward app. Great for contractors.”
5. Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Viewer (iOS $9.99, iPad)
Move your phone around the room and capture the sun—or at least predict where it’s going to be. While working with your client, this app will not only help them envision the sunlight in the room, but also serve as a guide for laying out windows and more in a remodeled space.
6. PlanGrid (iOS and Android, free for up to 50 sheets with variable pricing after that)
This app is a great venue for contractors and architects to collaborate on a master plan viewer. The app allows users to integrate project plans, specs, and photos on the iPad. As a simple construction management software, it will take uploaded files and automatically sync them with all team members who have the app as well. Markups are updated in real time. A lot of remodelers and interior designers use the punchlist feature to track progress of build projects and note problems that can come up along the way. The app includes:
- Scalable options depending on the size of your business
- Integrated plan viewing
- Punchlist reports
- Users can snap photos and add the picture to a task, aiding record-keeping.
- Easily share plans, markups, photos, and reports with the entire team
- High security
- Issue tracking
- Free updates
- Cloud backup
- Simple export system to .zip files
Reviewed as a “must-have app on site,” PlanGrid has almost perfect reviews for iOS and a 4.3/5 star-review for Android. Many users called the app “intuitive” and “a time saver.” PlanGrid requires users to set up an online account, but then users can use the app’s functions without signing in online again.
7. Handyman Construction Calculator (Android, $7.99)
Has Handyman Construction Calculators won every award out there? It’s a Top 100 productivity app and has been denoted the “Best in Class” by several app rating websites.
Handyman Construction Calculator has way too many calculators to list here, but it includes niche calculators like attic ventilation, tongue and groove flooring, and brick and block wall calculators. The app also includes:
- US and Metric calculator modes
- Detailed outputs and flexible inputs
- A clean interface
- Built-in results sharing
Handyman has a 4.4/5 on Google Play. According to user reviews, it’s “really good for on the spot estimates.” Sidetop Software, who makes Handyman Construction, also takes the time to respond to reviews with app updates regularly.
8. Bulldozair (Free for Android, iOS, and iPad)
Bulldozair is a great example of free construction management software.
While users can choose to upgrade to a “professional” account for $29 per user, per or an “enterprise” account for $59 per user, per month, construction managers will be largely satisfied with the free version. Upgrading buys users unlimited tasks and projects along with extra storage, and the enterprise version comes with centralized billing and reporting.
This free app is still hefty, so let’s focus on the highlights:
- Localizes all project documentation to one place
- Allows offline access to key documents
- Assigns tasks to both internal team members and external clients
- Takes editable pictures and notes
- Offers a robust search function so nothing gets lost.
Bulldozair has over 4 stars in both the iTunes and Google Play stores.
9. Construction Master Pro (Android, $24.99)
This is the mother of all construction calculator apps. It makes calculating complicated jobsite problems easy, and includes full trigonometric functions, solutions for completing layouts, bids, plans, and estimates, and dimensional math conversions. Some other features include:
- Area and volume calculators
- Compound miters calculator
- Roof calculators (bundles, squares, pitch, plan area etc)
- A host of right-angle tools
- Decimals to the 100ths
- Easy editing, so you don’t have to start your problem from the beginning if you make a mistake!
Construction Master Pro has an almost perfect 4.8/5 average review score from Google Play. One user says, “Works well, and when I had a small problem, [I] contacted the support people. I had a response in… just a few minutes and got the problem resolved easily. Get this one. It works. And they have great support.”
10. JobFLEX Contractor Estimate & Proposal (Android, Free with Upgrade Options)
If you’re the owner of a small remodeling firm, consider JobFLEX. The free version is only available to one user, but that user can have up to 50 customers. The mobile app creates professional quotes, manages client information, and doesn’t need an internet connection to run. Benefits include:
- Customized estimates
- On-site estimate creation
- Free proposal templates
- Free estimate templates
Upgrade for more storage and users starts at just $9 a month.
While I was compiling this list, I came across a bunch of other helpful, awesome apps. What else should be included on this list? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.