Words: Ashley Johnson
In the contractor’s world, there is no end to tools, instruments, and gadgets designed to measure, calculate, and survey any aspect or detail of a job. Traditional tools like tape measures, levels, carpenter’s squares are fixtures to the accuracy and quality of any project.
Technology is spawning an entirely new area of resources to reinforce, replace, or enhance the efficacy of traditional carpentry and construction tools. While nothing can replace conventional equipment used daily on job sites, digital applications and programs available at a moment’s notice are offering untapped advantages and mechanisms to facilitate life on the job.
While some applications available for download focus solely on a specific operation or function, other programs offer a swiss army knife approach that fuses multiple tools and services into one offering.
Single Function Apps
There is no shortage of digital resources available to assist and accommodate contractors with any activity or aspect of a project. Smartphone applications that measure and calculate values, totals, and details are no different. Unlike tape measures though, these applications go leaps and bounds above in terms of features.
Digital measuring applications that replicate tape measures allow professionals to rapidly, accurately and easily calculate distances, objects, and features without delay. Not only that, but these ubiquitous applications can store data and share object dimensions. Projects can be organized into different folders and measurements translated into different units, including imperial, metric, and international units. Because most of these applications are free, if the first one is not satisfactory, there are 20 more to follow.
Measure Master Pro converts units instantly and provides measurements in feet, inches, metric measurements, inch fractions, and can convert circumference, linear feet to weight volume, or perimeter measurements. https://apps.apple.com/app/measure-master-pro-feet-inch/id390273304. Construction Master Pro features trigonometry calculation tools, measures angles, and provides estimate and bid tools.
PlanRadar (https://www.planradar.com/us/free-measurement-app/) touts itself as a digital Fika measurement application that rises above all others. Offered on iOS, Android, and Windows, this plan is a comprehensive platform where measuring is just one component.
Level applications are equally as prolific as measuring applications. It is important to calibrate electronic devices though beforehand to ensure accuracy and precision. The Stanley Level App for iOS devices is a straightforward, basic bubble level. Another level application by Lemondo Entertainment https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bubble-level-for-iphone/id465613917 not only features a classic water level with objective alignment, but also measures angles, surface flatness, and detects metal wires inside walls prior to drilling.
Professionals often need to measure and calculate units for very specialized details, such as roof pitch, a facet of the construction industry being addressed by smartphone software. Carpenter’s Helper Lite helps builders calculate roof pitch, rafter lengths, stair lengths, and other dimensions. To go further, some applications allow professionals to enter the area of the roof to be worked, which then translates into the number of roofing shingles needed, number of squares, and number of bundles for a job.
Applications that calculate the number of materials for concrete and rebar of a project reduce waste from materials and analyze costs so professionals can more accurately place orders and save money.
BalusterPro is another highly specialized application that simplifies complex measurements. The application allows contractors to efficiently calculate the spacing between boards and slats for picket fences, benches or chairs, decking, or column flutes.
Applications that convert units immediately rather than having to perform the calculations manually is a huge time saver. These resources also improve accuracy and peace of mind with engaging, readable designs and operations.
Convertpad (https://diyprojects.com/carpenter-smartphone-app-guide/) is a universal converter and calculator that features a unit comparison table, a country-specific unit, allows users to select and save their favorite units.
Swiss Army Applications
Smartphone applications and digital programs that cover multiple roles are also prevalent, readily available, and offer valuable insight. In a conventional atmosphere, contractors require disparate equipment for measuring walls, angles, lines with the assistance of plumb bobs, levels, protractors. Digital applications though combine these tools and activities in a single application or platform on smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
A similar application with multiple functions originates by DeWalt (http://dewalt.cengage.com/MobilePro/free-construction-calculator). Designed with construction workers in mind, it features a construction calculator with measurements in feet, inches, and degrees. The application also includes add-on calculations, such as length conversion, studs, paint, area, and volume conversion. Users can calculate critical job-site variables for applications like crown molding. All calculations, measurements, and details can be saved, shared, and retrieved later to speed up processes. This application, similar to other industry-specific applications, offers access to digital resources like ebooks and technical journals.
All Around Applications
While there is no shortage of choices for applications that measure units, distances, angles, levels, surfaces, a new breed of applications focus less on technical functions and more on business challenges.
Drill bit calculators expedite the challenge of finding the right drill bit. These applications use the bolt or tap diameter to accurately calculate the right size of the drill bit. Along with the size, drill bit calculators provide information for the threads per inch, percentage of thread, major dap diameter.
Contractors increasingly require the ability to offer clients estimates, quotes, and costs immediately. Programs like Joist App for iOS users allow contractors to generate invoices directly from their smartphones. These applications generate professional documents and allow professionals to accept credit cards and other forms of payment instantaneously (https://roccabinetry.com/construction-and-carpentry-6-superb-apps-for-contractors/).
A similar resource is SmartBitNet, a bid management software offering for general contractors. This software, and similar platforms, allow users to send invitations to bid on a project, share project documents, manage subcontractor data, prequalify subcontractors, and more (https://smartbid.co/).
As digital technology continues to advance, the availability of high tech software and applications directly from handheld devices will continue to facilitate and improve the precision of even the most common challenges and scenarios on the job experienced by all levels of professionals in the construction industry.