Imagine a lead contractor walking a building site, checking for snags and issues. On his rounds, he notices some damage to a door frame and a crack in a wall. In the past, this information would have been recorded in his notebook before being handed over to the appropriate subcontractors. Today, however, his company uses contractor apps.
The contractor uses a snagging app to locate exactly where the problem is on an interactive blueprint in his smartphone. He assigns this task to a subcontractor who immediately gets a notification, fixes the problem and ticks the task off a snagging checklist.
Contractor apps with this kind of functionality are increasingly common in the construction industry. In fact, 93% of construction professionals use smartphones every day for at least some aspect of their work (for things like reporting, taking photos of jobs or managing time). That said, the use of more sophisticated subcontractor software is relatively limited. For example, 6 construction workers in 10 still use traditional data collection methods while on site.
If you are not yet using subcontractor software, let’s see how contractor apps could help you.
7 ways contractor apps transform projects
Here seven ways that contractor apps could radically change how you run your projects:
Assign tasks more easily
Practically every worker today will own a smartphone. This means that everyone on your building site can easily download subcontractor software onto their device. You can then assign each worker a list of tasks within the contractor app. Once a job is complete, the subcontractor simply ticks it off their checklist and you can see how much work has been finished each day. Say goodbye to paper checklists and half-hour meetings each morning to doll out jobs.
Imagine an HVAC contractor who is working on a large office project. She has been sent to repair a faulty machine and has been told verbally that it is on the fifth floor behind a column in the south east corner. However, once she arrives, no air conditioners are to be seen.
However, if she could use subcontractor software on her smartphone, she could double check the building blueprint to find the air conditioner in question. What’s more, if she did have any doubts, she could use mobile chat functionality to check she was indeed in the right place.
Learn more: Our guide to subcontractor management
The best contractor apps will store all information and tasks assigned to individual subcontractors in a centralised location. This means that everybody can transparently see who did what and when they did it – reducing the risk of disputes further down the line. Subcontractors can also take photos of jobs that they have completed to provide additional evidence.
Better for multilingual sites
Most major construction projects today are multinational, multi-lingual workplaces. Sometimes, however, this can result in miscommunications. The lead contractor might ask subcontractors to do one thing, but they misunderstand and do another.
Once again, contractor apps can help here. The lead contractor can indicate exactly where they want work done on a blueprint and include marked up photographs of the issue. Everyone can then see the visuals using a smartphone. As a result, you don’t need to be fluent in another language to get the message across.
Reduces the need to physically check all work
Construction managers spend hundreds of hours over the course of a project physically visiting places around the site verifying what has been done. This is hugely time-consuming.
However, the best contractor apps save you a lot of time by taking advantage of the powerful cameras built into today’s smartphones. Subcontractors can easily take photos of their work, which experienced managers can view and sign off without physically inspecting each and every job.
Improve resource usage
How many subcontractors are currently on your site? What are they doing? Do they all have tasks allocated to them? Subcontractor software can help you identify how busy workers site are and ensure that they all have jobs to be getting on with. This improves productivity and reduces downtime. And that ultimately saves you money.
Construction sites today must demonstrate compliance with multiple regulations covering health and safety, as well as meeting the customer’s daily reporting requirements. Once again contractor apps make it much easier to meet these requirements.
You could, for instance, use a form that asks subcontractors to read your health and safety policy whenever they are onboarded to your project. Similarly, you could use data from your checklists to collate progress reports that are sent electronically to the project manager and customer every day.
How to choose the best contractor app for you
There is a wide variety of subcontractor software and snagging apps available to download today. How can you narrow down your options?
- Identify your problems
Each construction company works in unique environments. Create a list of the construction site problems that you face, then draw up a list of features that could address these issues.
For example, when projects are near completion, do you find that the process of fixing snags often takes several weeks – whereas you would like it to take a few days? A snagging app would make sense here.
- Define your end goal
Choosing subcontractor software is ultimately about digitally transforming your business to become more efficient and productive. What specific end goals do you want to achieve from using contractor or snagging apps?
Define specific measures such as an improvement in project closure times, reduced downtime or cutting the number of days that subcontractors spend on-site by 5%.
- Test different apps
Create a shortlist of contractor apps which meet most of (if not all) your needs. Request a demo or download a free trial to see if they work for you.
Add PlanRadar to your shortlist of contractor apps
PlanRadar is an award-winning subcontractor, project management and snagging app which helps site managers improve their workflow. We’ve packed PlanRadar full of features which help you improve efficiency, boost productivity and finish projects faster. We also offer a free 30-day trial and free product demonstrations, so you can be certain that our software is the right choice for you.