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Got blueprints? There’s an app for that!

When you picture the site of a traditional construction project, hardhats, trailers and scrolls of blueprints usually come to mind. Project meetings usually take place on-site in crowded trailers around tables scattered with paper blueprints. Workers typically carry only a few copies of their blueprints for reference, which can make it difficult to execute ideas in a timely manner.

As a contractor, architect, engineer or project manager, chances are you’ve been in a difficult position relating to the sharing of information on the job site. With the recent advances in technology, you’ve probably wondered if there are options to help better manage your time when dealing with plans and plan revisions. If so, you’ll be happy to know “there’s an app for that.”

The traditional way of sharing blueprints is being replaced by a new device for the Apple iPad. PlanGrid for iPad has a “green” option for firms. Instead of printing blueprints onto scrolls, workers can upload pages to an iPad and carry them from site-to-site in order to share their ideas with clients and contractors in a digital format. The application also enables users to upload photos, make notes and share additions or revisions via email.

PlanGrid requires no long-term contract and allows for you to keep a master set of blue prints in cloud format, meaning that an entire project can be uploaded for multiple users to view and revise. The application is for free users wishing to download up to 50 sheets of blueprints. You can pay $19.99 per month for up to 550 sheets and $49.99 for 5,000 sheets.

Whether this is the direction the industry is headed or just another tool for those that can afford it is yet to be seen. However, if I were to hazard a guess I would say these applications will be found on most jobsites in the very near future.

Use of the iPad application has positively impacted construction projects. According to CBS, large-scale projects, such as the current renovation of Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, often have projected costs of up to $2.3 billion. Use of the Apple iPad application saved the seven-year DFW project $1 million in printing and paper costs.

The innovation doesn’t stop with PlanGrid. You can find several other applications to assist your construction company with everything, from project bids to measurements and conversions , to a mobile color swatch.

What about you? Could PlanGrid, or other applications help save time and money on your next construction project?