BIM 360 Blog

BIM 360 Docs: A Construction App for iPhone and iPad

22nd April 2016
Posted by Adam Higgins

Construction Apps for iPad enter the Field

Construction Project Management App for iPhone and iPad

Although the engineering and construction industry is built on bringing new projects and innovations to life, it’s also been one of the most resistant to forsake traditional methods of relying upon paper blueprints in favor of technology. According to the 2015 Construction Technology Report, over 25% of respondents cite “employee hesitance” as one of the chief barriers to adopting new technology. An additional 33.5% replied that “lack of staff to support the technology” and educate professionals as to how to use these new tech tools has been a hurdle, as well.

In order for construction professionals to adopt technology, it has to be intuitive. Rather than manually marking up blueprints and passing them along through the proper channels for verification, technology streamlines the workflow of projects, allowing for instant dissemination of information, which greatly benefits the project. However, in order for it to do so, it has to be easy to deploy. This is where construction project management apps come into play, with a focus on ease-of-use and implementation across project teams.

The Impact of Apple’s Construction Apps for iPhone and iPad

Apple’s iPhone and iPad, as well as the variety of mobile apps available to download from the App Store, have made a profound impact on a number of industries, including construction. Apple’s ease-of-use and intuitive interface may not lend itself greatly to customization, but it’s easy to adopt and encourages uniformity. To construction professionals who may have previously had a hard time giving up the pencil and paper in favor of a hand-held device, this is a huge boon.

As far as devices go, Apple designed products such as the iPad and iPhone to make them easy to use. A “Tips” option is built into the iPhone to offer new users shortcuts and other helpful hints. Additionally, Apple extends free lessons to buyers who can go any of their stores to gain a better understanding of their purchase.

Apple’s ease of use among their devices has made them one of the most widely-adopted pieces of technology. The company sold 48 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2015, which was a significant increase from 39 million sold during this time in 2014, according to TechCrunch.

It’s also an overwhelming favorite among those in the construction industry. The 3rd Annual Construction Technology Report by JBKnowledge revealed that 46.3% of builders use Apple devices – the largest percentage of users polled. This is compared to 20.1% that use Android-based mobile devices.


An overwhelming 72% of construction professionals use a smartphone with 50.1% opting to use a tablet. This accounts for the array of mobile construction apps and project management software that are now available for the iPhone and iPad. Although there are still a wealth of apps available for Android, Apple’s technology and iOS is the benchmark platform for all construction application development because of the quality (and ease) of the experience and its subsequent market demand. Due to iOS’s benchmark status within the industry, several construction project management applications are often designed for the iPhone and iPad first before subsequently being rolled out to the Android market.  
Construction Apps for iPad iPhone - Workers Use on site

Why Construction Professionals Gravitate towards iPhones and iPads

AEC professionals purchase these devices for a number of reasons:

  • Communication is streamlined. Employees can easily stay on top of their e-mails and quickly reach out to their colleagues with a few clicks of the keyboard so they can always stay updated on how projects are progressing.
  • Immediate internet connectivity ensures users can always find an answer to questions that arise during projects.
  • High-definition screens coupled with excellent video and picture taking capabilities guarantees project managers can view markups on documents and other forms of media in crystal clear detail.
  • iPhones and iPads come in different models that have varying types of memory so document managers can store a huge amount of construction project info without the risk of having it destroyed or damaged after leaving it in a file cabinet. Although many construction management apps store information in the cloud, having plenty of spare memory to run the program, view documents, and have space to update apps when new versions are released for an iPhone or iPad device is critical to using applications effectively.
  • Construction is a rugged industry – and delicate electronic devices need to be protected to hold up in such an environment. There are a number of rugged cases and accessories for iOS devices that protect them from drops, shatters, and other on-site hazards. Case manufacturers such as Otterbox, Armor-X, UAG, and others have a variety of protective options for iOS devices to make sure they withstand the rigors of a typical “day at the office” on a construction site.

The features mentioned above emphasize why these devices compliment the tools built into Autodesk’s new BIM 360 Docs web service. Our customers continued to tell us about the gap, so we filled it with the goal in mind to help project teams work seamlessly from the correct versions of building documents while lowering the risk of communication errors, delays, or damages.

What construction apps do you use on your iPad or iPhone?

Let us know in the comments below!

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