Two handy apps and a cloud

For those of us who are not adept at drawing clear representation sketches in the field on the fly, Photo Measures, www.bigbluepixel.com, is a handy little app for the iPhone and iPad that helps users save and share measurements and dimensions on either photos taken with the device or imported photos. After you take a photo of the area or product of interest or pull up an imported photo, take out your ruler and do the real-life measurements.

For those of us who are not adept at drawing clear representation sketches in the field on the fly, Photo Measures, www.bigbluepixel.com, is a handy little app for the iPhone and iPad that helps users save and share measurements and dimensions on either photos taken with the device or imported photos.

After you take a photo of the area or product of interest or pull up an imported photo, take out your ruler and do the real-life measurements. Then, using the app's tools, draw a line between two points and, using an onscreen keyboard, type in the distance in imperial or metric units. The inputted measurement appears within the dimensional line, with arrows at either end indicating termination of the line. Drawing tools also include size, rotate, style and color, which can help differentiate among the measurements and dimensions. You can zoom into and out of the photo to enhance precision. You can also add text as comments. The dimensions can be exported in high resolution by e-mail (JPG or PDF) or to the photo library.    

Contractor Forms HD mobile app for the iPad by Avalanche Air Systems Ltd., www.contractorformsapp.com, and available from iTunes App Store, features a variety of commonly used forms for the construction industry that can be completed in the field for distribution to the office or to clients. Each form can be completed directly on the iPad, signed off, and submitted to anyone via e-mail or the iPad printing feature. Users can add a company logo and letterform. The e-mail button automatically creates PDFs for all forms.

Forms include a field level assessment form; Work Order Form which supports auto calculations and which can also be used for quotes or field invoices and for which customers can use a finger as a pen to affix a signature; a request for information form to which users can attach photos; a transmittal form; equipment start up report, and a form specifically designed for HVAC fittings and information. Other options include a Safety Field Hazard Assessment and Safety Tool Box Meeting forms, a standard order form, and freehand drawing grid order form.

eSUB, www.esubinc.com, is cloud-based construction project management software for subcontractors that facilitates creating, logging, tracking and organizing project documents, including e-mail, while in the office and on the go. Accessing the program through a secure Internet portal, users can input data and manage projects from any Internet enabled computing device.

The software, which features management-defined permission based access, consists of four modules: project management, time card management, corporate management and bid management.

Project management capabilities include creating and updating detailed daily logs tracking crew mix, labor performed, delay and disruption hours, accident reports, equipment, and visitors and comments. The program also generates and updates customizable RFIs that can be sorted by pending, late, approved or voided. Change order requests may be quoted as lump sum, by categories, or granularly up to individual line item.

Two-way integration with all e-mail programs supports tracking of outgoing and incoming e-mails from any crew member in eSUB's Project Inbox. eSUB also integrates with all calendar programs for integrated reminders and updates. The solution also supports generating submittals/transmittals/release transmittals; purchase orders; pay applications on GC approved forms; project summary with automatic updates of contract amounts; and meeting minutes.

Users can create punch lists from scratch or clone a previous one, either way tracking items by responsible party with open and close dates and multiple line items and track items meeting minutes, and safety agendas.

For correspondence, users can choose more than 50 industry-approved letter templates, with all correspondence archived and automatically logged in a searchable database.

The timecard module enables field personnel to enter time cards remotely and accounting can log in to approve them and export payroll data to any of several popular accounting programs, eliminating double entry. The module also tracks efficiency levels on all projects, phases, systems and project activities. Customized reporting features provide instant analysis of labor and material costs, cost to complete and percentage of efficiency.

The corporate management module gives project managers a global view of all assigned projects, documents and tasks for quick access and reporting.

With the bid management module, users can add projects at the pre-construction phase and then manage all deadlines and deliverables along with all correspondence and track win/loss success rates by customer or estimator.

All data is stored at secure eSUB datacenters with multiple backups and bank-level security encryption. Users can also save anything to their own hard drive. eSUB allows uploading of any format document, including drawings, schedules, cut sheets, photos and videos, with unlimited storage, and documents can be organized into user-defined file folders that integrate with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive.

As part of initial training in the software, eSub provides implementation experts to customize the back end of the software to "streamline a subcontractor's work flow" and eliminate double entry to multiple systems, such as estimating software and accounting software. 

Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected]

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