10 Top Construction Apps for the Jobsite

Technology’s visible on every job site in America today and has been steadily advancing for some time now.  Clever tablet, laptop, and phone applications can help a technician, foreman or project manager with the more mundane tasks they face when working in the field.

Saving time for yourself or the boss during your workday reflects positively on your work habits and ability to utilize your time wisely.  If you’re in an industry where competition for work is fierce, then validating your intellect by making everyday tasks a bit easier demonstrates good work habits.  There’s certainly no shortage of work-related applications to choose from, but which ones are useful?  Which applications can make even the most technologically challenged technicians work smarter?  Here are ten applications for construction professionals that caught our eye.

Voltage Drop Calculator

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Southwire Voltage Drop Calculator gets 4 of 5 stars and is commonly used on both iPhone and Android platforms.  This application helps determine the correct wire and size to use for an electrical circuit.  It also calculates the voltage drop of a particular run.

Pitch Gauge

Pitch Gauge is a productivity application that helps users calculate the area and slope of any roof.  Pitch Gauge has also been featured in magazines like Professional Builder Magazine and commended for its usefulness.

Lowe’s Home Improvement

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Everything Lowe’s, all the time.  Make sure they have your material in stock before leaving the job site.  Lowe’s also offers their entire product catalog for those of you wanting to compare cost on a certain item.

Concrete & Ag Calculator

The name says it all! This useful app from Chaney Enterprises is geared towards the concrete and agricultural industries and helps in calculating amounts to order all the while reducing waste.

Google Sheets

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One of the most intuitive spreadsheet apps allowing users to communicate together in real-time.  Google Sheets lets users create and edit any spreadsheet on multiple devices and progress is automatically saved as you and your colleagues work together.

Handyman Calculator

This nifty app offers an array of calculators for different projects all in one.  Handyman Calculator offers each user time tracking tools and to-do list options as well.  If you have a project, this application can help with its litany of uses aimed at managing project costs.

Fieldwire

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Fieldwire offers construction management tools that help keep the lines of communication open between technicians, foreman, and project managers.  Communication is vital in the field and this application helps in keeping people connected.

Drywall Calculator

Drywall Pro is another great app made by iQuick Tools.  Drywall Pro can help estimate the cost of a particular project by recording cost, profit and material use.

AutoCAD 360

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AutoCAD 360 allows users to share construction prints and drawings on their mobile devices quickly and easily.  This smart application has tools for drawing and drafting and lets users edit, create and share AutoCAD between one another.

Cam Scanner

Cam Scanner scans any document and turns it into a clear, useable image/PDF from your mobile device. This app can be used for emailing and faxing information, like sending in timesheets or documents, that need a signature and passed on quickly.

Be on the lookout for more top construction apps

Finding new work related applications for your phone or tablet that help you with your job feels beneficial and rewarding.  Everyone from the installers to the boss at his desk is looking to save time and money during the day, and with tech increasingly becoming common at the jobsite, new apps are bound to continue flowing.

Next time you’re on break, take a look around your app store. There are numerous construction geared applications available that can make your day run more smoothly.

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The right tool for the job depends on you… and if you can use it as a hammer

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“The right tool for the job.” It’s a saying that my father used quite a bit.

It’s a saying, “the right tool for the job,” that’s so popular it’s been co-opted by other, non-trade industries, but I never fully appreciated it until recently.

From experience, I’ve learned it basically means “If you have the correct tool for the job, you probably won’t ruin things, and you’ll curse much less.” For my decades of putting tools to the test, it all comes down to one thing… can I use it as a hammer?

Of course, by that I mean, “Which tool will be the highest quality, most durable and the best bang for my buck?” But also, I’m probably going to use it as a hammer eventually, either because of frustration, rage or pure necessity. There are so many places to find yourself the perfect pipe wrench, drill press, or miter saw for whatever job you’re tackling, that it’s mind-boggling to think about. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 categories to help you decide not what tool is best, but what tool is best for you.

Homeowner tools

Congratulations, you just bought a house! You’ll need tools for up-keep, and repairs. Just go Craftsman, hit up Sears, or find a nice K-mart special-30 piece tool set. That’s all you really need. No need to spend a Corvette’s worth in tools for light-bulb fixtures and table leg repairs. Done.

DIY / hobbyist / garage-r tools

You’re a serious DIYer. You need a quality tool for the job but you don’t need the best tool on the market. I’ve worked on my car since I Corey's Dad-Tool Box purchased it at 14 using whatever tools my dad had. They usually weren’t the best quality, but I still use some of them to this day. Go Craftsman for hand tools or better. Their wrenches, pliers and hammers are perfect for everyone from the weekend track racer to the most Ron Swanson of us all. The higher initial price is out-weighed by the lifetime use of the tool. Just check for the warranty so you can replace it if necessary.

Full-time trade and craftsman tools

If you make a living off your tools, you’re going to want something that will pay for itself over the years. You need power, precision, and durability. The hands down consensus is that if you want the best tool that’ll last a lifetime, you want Snap-on.  If your company is paying, or if you can afford it, Snap-on is the best bang for your buck for any dedicated, daily wrench jockey. They have consistently beat any challenger for best in the business. If that isn’t a possibility, brands like SK, GearWrench, Matco Tools and Mac Tools offer replacements with warranties that are just as good with only a minor sacrifice in strength and durability.

Still not sure which tool is right for you? Start simple and build up from there. You may find that, most of the time, you need the basics but for a few specific jobs, it’s worth investing in the right tools. Like my dad always said, “The right tool… “

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Launching a career as a telecommunications technician

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What is a Telecommunications Technician?

Many have heard of the telecommunications industry, but what does a telecommunications technician do for a living?  A telecommunications technician can wear many different hats.  This type of person works on construction sites pulling cable for data drops, mounts cameras, and installs access control for card readers.  Others in this field work from cellular phone towers or route and terminate fiber optics cabling.  Some may work for local phone, internet, and cable television providers, showing up at your home for installations throughout the day.

Telecommunications technician training

Training opportunities in the telecommunications industry are widely available for those who know where to look.  Both union and nonunion electrical contractors offer a combination of excellent on-the-job training and instructional classroom education for new employees looking for a career in the trades.  Apprenticeships through local area contractors typically range from three to five years depending on the diversity of training before earning the journeyman title.  Technicians who have success working in the field will eventually find themselves in supervisory and management positions, thus providing numerous chances to further their career.

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Find a local contractor

There’s a multitude of places to look for employment within the telecommunications industry.  A person doesn’t have to have years of experience to land a job in this field.  The first place a job seeker can visit is their local electrical contractor.  These contractors are in the business of building homes, offices, and high-rises for their clients and are often looking for entry level help.  An easy way of locating these contractors is by calling your union hall, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and asking for a list of electrical contractors in your area.

Network to learn more

You can also talk with other professionals working within the telecommunications industry via online forums, social media websites and live chat rooms.  Often there’s no better advice about where to find a job in a particular industry than the advice given from a journeyman technician.  Getting to know people currently working in the career you’re pursuing will always be of value to you.  Also, there’s a wealth of information standing behind a Google query.  Be curious and look around online. You will be surprised what you can find.

The telecommunications industry is an excellent field for trade workers who value the ever-changing landscapes of computers and technology.

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