These mobile applications can streamline processes for construction professionals.

As we continue to investigate the ways in which contractors are utilizing mobile technology to be more efficient, CBO takes a second look at mobile apps—from collaboration tools targeted at contractors to simple practical tools that might come in handy on a jobsite. These 10 apps offer features that will save time and prevent hassles.

Works with paid Aconex software
Android, iPad, iPhone
Aconex offers project collaboration software for construction professionals. With the company’s software, all members of a project can collaborate on project drawings and can view and comment on other project images remotely, with all of the information stored online on Aconex’s servers. This mobile app allows users to view and comment on these project documents while away from the computer. Additionally, users can store select documents on their mobile devices to view and mark up without an Internet connection.

Bluebeam Revu
Bluebeam Software Inc.
Bluebeam Revu is a versatile iPad app for PDF viewing and markup. There are both visual and text-based markup options for PDF files, and the files can be shared through email directly from the app. Using Revu's collaboration feature, Bluebeam Studio, Revu also allows multiple users on similar or other devices to view, mark and discuss a PDF in real time.

Autodesk Inc.
Works with paid Bluestreak software
iPad, iPhone
Bluestreak is a software package for multiple members of a project to collaborate on documents. This one differentiates itself in its emphasis on accommodating real-time, informal communication between members outside of the documents themselves. The Bluestreak mobile app brings this chat-like functionality to personal devices.

ExakTime Mobile / PocketClock
Works with paid ExakTime software
Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows 7 Mobile
ExakTime’s mobile software ties into its proprietary time-tracking solutions to allow construction workers to clock in to jobs from their mobile devices. This streamlines an otherwise paperwork-heavy process and keeps everyone accountable. While workers input the job location and task they are performing, ExakTime notes their location through GPS to confirm that everyone is in the proper place.

iHandy Inc.
iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
iHandy’s Flashlight is useful for anyone—but especially those on construction jobsites with poorly lit areas. If you happen to leave your flashlight behind or find yourself in a dark situation unexpectedly, the Flashlight app simply activates the light that is normally used for the device’s camera flash. As a bonus, the app also comes with the ability to flash the light at various rates. For emergency situations, the light can even flash in an S.O.S. pattern or display flashing blue and red lights on the main display.

Autodesk Inc.
iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Suited for construction or any industry that involves mechanical engineering, ForceEffect allows the user to simulate physics-based design concepts from the mobile device. The app performs all relevant engineering calculations to allow for a quick assessment of design ideas. And to keep things interesting, a non-mathematical background image can be added to any design to flesh out the appearance of the concept.

HCSS Mobile
Works with paid HCSS software
Android, iPad, iPhone
The HCSS app provides mobile functionality to the company’s proprietary software, allowing users to manage a wide range of information types from the field to sync with the data input from the office. From time cards to job bids to general project notes, this information can be seamlessly integrated with a company’s HCSS account from anywhere. Even when an Internet connection is not available, the device will simply sync the information once a connection is established.

Holcim weatherAPP
Holcim Technology Center
Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Windows 7 Mobile
Weather apps are nothing new to mobile devices. However, Holcim’s weatherAPP is designed specifically for construction professionals. This app goes beyond simple forecasts of temperature and weather conditions to provide information that affects the ability to work with concrete, including forecasts for humidity, estimated concrete temperature, evaporation rate and the likelihood that plastic shrinkage cracking will occur.

iHandy Level
iHandy Inc.
iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
The iHandy Level app is a simple and practical tool for anyone who may need quick access to a carpenter’s level. Simply open up the app, and a virtual level, complete with bubble display, appears on your screen. The iOS devices’ tilt detection proves to be surprisingly precise, providing the app with nearly as much utility as a real level.

Idan Sheetrit
Free (paid versions beyond 21 inches available)
iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Another quick and simple app, the i-Ruler is just what it sounds like: a ruler for iOS devices. The developer of the app incorporates a way to utilize the touch screen so as to overcome the relatively small size of iPhones and iPads, which would otherwise have been a major hindrance to the ability to run a ruler app. It never hurts to have a backup—especially one that takes up no extra space in your pocket.

Do you have an app that you can’t imagine performing your job without?
We’d like to hear about it. “There’s a Construction App for That” is a recurring column that will be featured in CBO during 2013. Email Robert Ring about your must-have app at to have it considered for the next installment.