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Nine Noteworthy Apps for Construction

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Drywall Calculator

Jeremy Breaux

Price: 99¢

Platforms: iPhone

This app makes relatively simple calculations even simpler. To figure out how many sheets of drywall will be necessary for a given room, all the user has to do is input the height and perimeter of the walls and the length and width of the ceiling. The tool can exclude some areas of the room and allow for slope. The app gives total drywall area in square feet and tallies the number of 4-ft-wide by variable-height sections needed. Users must enter fractions as decimal points, which one app reviewer thought preposterous. n

9/11 Memorial

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Price: Free

Platforms: iPhone

With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy upon us, this app is a useful guide to the just-opened 9/11 Memorial pools at the World Trade Center site. The app helps users find the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the terrorist attacks as well as those who died in the 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers. A name search reveals the location of the name on the memorial and biographical information about the person; the app also includes family members' audio remembrances. n

Crane-Operator

Hand Signals

Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association

Price: Free

Platforms: iPhone

This app lives up to the construction manager's maxim: Keep it simple. Providing crane-operator hand signals, it is a picture dictionary of OSHA-compliant standard signals for cranes and derricks, with added text in English or Spanish. As the app is only for the iPhone, the images looked tiny when ENR reviewed it on an iPad, but it still displayed content with minimal distortion. n

Punch List

Julian Clayton

Price: $6.99

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

After the splash page, this app opens with an empty black screen—the buttons are hiding in the navigation bar at the top. Once that's figured out, this app soars. Users can import jobsite pictures, link those pictures to job templates they create and then leave color-coded notes anywhere on an image. Next, users can turn those pictures and notes into a PDF and send them via e-mail, Dropbox or FTP. Great functionality, but since it is the most expensive app on our list, we already had high expectations. n

My Dimensions Pro

Sis Software

Price: $5.99

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Once the user goes through some basic setup, this addictive app helps users visualize and record the dimensions of a room, building or anything that needs measuring. The app overlays the measurements onto photos. There are three basic tools: arrows, angles and text. The arrows can be assigned lengths in metric, imperial, Chinese and Japanese measurement units. The angles can be displayed in degree, grade percentages and radians. The text can be written in whatever language the user knows, depending on which iPad or iPhone version they're using. All the user's information can be arranged, stretched, squeezed and manipulated over any given photo. n

Iron Planet

Iron Planet Inc.

Price: Free

Platforms: iPhone, iPad,Android

Iron Planet, the eBay for construction equipment, has an app that helps users keep track of their bids when they're mobile. A vetting process applies to purchases over $5,000. Once users have completed the registration process, they can peruse Iron Planet's database of upcoming auctions of used construction equipment and heavy machinery. Product categories include trucks, trailers, motors and cranes. There were 664 auctions listed for just one day, complete with details such as the opening-bid amounts, locations, times and descriptions of items. Users can create watch lists, buying lists, selling lists and search the Iron Planet database by keyword—all from inside the application. n

I.D. Wood

Double Dog Studios

Price: $4.99

Platforms: iPhone, iPad,Android

This app not only allows users to identify wood type but gives, among other factors, a wood's resistance on the Janka hardness scale, durability—on a scale from poor to excellent—and even its botanical name. The thumbnails show what the wood grain looks like, making the iPad version ideal for showing customers when remodeling rooms. When searching for a certain wood type, architects, interior designers and salespeople ought to find this pocket wood-swatch dictionary helpful. n

OSHA Heat

and Safety Tool

U.S. Dept. of Labor

Price: Free

Platforms: Android

This Android-only app calculates the heat index with two inputs: the temperature and the humidity percentage. It then computes the OSHA risk level to outdoor workers and suggests safety precautions based on the given heat-index level. The safety precautions remind workers to take enough breaks and drink enough water. One reviewer on the Android Market questioned whether this was the wisest way of spending tax dollars in a time of “10% unemployment across the nation.” n

AutoDesk Sketch Book Express/Pro

AutoDesk Inc.

Price: Free/$2.99

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

This app is so powerful it's hard to imagine it could be free. Both editions use an intuitive touch system that responds to one, two or three fingers tapping out different tasks simultaneously. The Express version has a limited number of allowable pallet layers (three) and brushes (15), whereas the Pro has more of both and seemingly unlimited options—including the ability to upload photos—making it perfect for punch lists. n

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