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By Fiona Hamann
November 6, 2017
While the physical act of building and crafting a structure is one of the world’s most ancient skill-sets, the industry is increasingly moving to a high-tech space, with numerous apps available to save time and money or improve health and safety and to model different scenarios. Nevertheless, it still lags behind other industries when it comes to innovation.
The app and tech sector is growing at a lightning pace, with $98 million of venture capital money having been invested in Australian Construction tech startups since the beginning of 2016.
Currently, construction adds US $8 trillion to the global economy. With successful implementation of technology into the sector, the number could increase by an additional US $1.5 trillion within ten years.
These 10 construction tech companies are already making a difference:
•DroneDeploy- This global app can quickly and accurately survey a site using drone maps and 3D models. It enables project and site managers to collect aerial data for site planning including instant measurements for distance, area, and volume. DroneDeploy is also great for sharing aerial views of site progress with clients or team members to keep your project on task.
•SafetyCulture - Developed in Townsville, this app is now the world’s most used checklist inspection app. Its product iAuditor enables more than 30 million inspections and lets you standardise inspections across your operations with customisable, mobile-friendly inspection forms.
•Procore - Quite possibly the most comprehensive app around. Procore features scheduling, email tracking, vendor bidding management, and RFI management as standard as well as SaaS model drawing and spec management tools. Overall, Procore enables contractors and administrators to view digitised plans throughout the development phases and oversee product spec information saving time and ensuring you can stay on budget.
•PlanGrid - An app for architects that turns blueprints into “smart sheets” which can be marked up and hyperlinked to project documents. Revisions can be uploaded and compared as well as shared with team members. The app also allows users to create customer reports and manage day-to-day procedures. Whilst it is a US app, it is available internationally.
•Homesky - This is an Australian CRM interface that enables builders to communicate with customers, share photos and project progress. It also offers invoicing, site diaries, configuring site deliveries or other important site activity. What is more, it includes a Homesky Health and SafetyPortal which comes with SWMS templates to meet industry OH&S requirements.
•Donesafe - This app covers all you need around site OH&S. It allows tradies to upload their qualifications and licenses onto an iPad, as well as manage work Health and safety-related issues, risk and compliance audit checklists, incident and hazard management, site visits, chemical registers, and drug and alcohol randomiser to manage spot tests and much more.
•SignOnSite - This Aussie app lets workers sign on simply by carrying their smart phone loaded with the app. It also manages team briefings, site visits, emergency evacuation procedures, and staff induction, taking away a lot of the manual work associated with team briefings and site communication.
•Snobal - Victorian company Snobal creates virtual reality spaces from 3D modelling so customers can get an idea what the inside of a building will be like. Once the design is prototyped, it can be tested with end-users or stakeholders to gauge how end users feel about it before the build stage.
•Aroflo - Another Victorian product; a multi-functional cloud-based software tool that can be accessed from mobile devices to manage all jobs and projects from the initial enquiry and quote, all through to final invoicing. It manages jobs, projects, scheduling, quotes, inventory, contractor management, time-sheets, workplace safety, and payments. It also allows you to upload relevant photos and documents so all documentation about a project is kept together.
•Fastbrick - Whilst not an app, Fastbricks is a great example of Australian technology in the construction sector. It is a robotic bricklaying prototype, dubbed Hadrian X, which builds using construction adhesive rather than render. Fastbricks will soon be rolled out in the US, having signed a deal with Caterpillar. The unique patented stabilisation technology means Hadrian X can manage diverse and changing external environments. It is the only completely mobile construction robot that can manage all the site-related issues associated with real-world building.
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