Building an app for builders
A construction site is the last place you expect to see an iPhone but a Sydney builder is hoping to change that with the built-for-purpose Tradie’s App
Once derided for being too precious and fragile, the phone is making inroads into not-so-gentle environments thanks to a myriad of rugged covers and young labourers’ obsessions with the device.
Now David Campbell, owner of David Campbell Building, is banking on an app to help other builders become more efficient on and off the building site. He has commissioned the development of the Tradie’s App ($52.99 from iTunes) – an extensive collection of site diaries, purchase orders, pricing and subcontractor agreements to be used by foremen and licensed builders.
This saves tradesmen having to wait to get home after a day’s slog to record what happened on the job.
Campbell promises it gives builders everything they need to run a project on time and on budget, even down to making clients sign for agreed variations on the spot. He should know; he has been trialling it on his luxury home projects for the past six months. Seven of his staff have an iPhone with the app, which they use constantly to manage jobs and send reports back to the boss in the office.
“Without even being on site all day, I know the concreter was there, the brickies were there and built the wall they were meant to build and the client was on site and asked for the toilet to be moved. It saves the guys having to go back to the office to do their paperwork,” he says.
Campbell is no stranger to technology. His website makes use of videos, slideshows and podcast subscriptions to showcase some of his company’s work. The app is his new way to try to capitalise on it. It’s available on iTunes but was down at time of writing, given technical difficulties with an update download, he says.
Campbell says it’s been downloaded by builders in Australia, some in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and five in the US. “We’ve only had 72 downloads but it’s only been five weeks. Some builders have given me comments to say it saves them $50 a day,” he says.
An app for large sites
Another construction company is selling its own construction app, this time for foremen on large and multiple building sites.
Foreman’s Mate was built by All Over Geo for Kell & Rigby, a 100-year-old Australian construction company specialising in large projects. It’s available on the iPhone and will be available on the iPad when it is released in Australia. It costs $200 per month to subscribe from the iTunes store, although there’s currently a 30-day free trial.
“Builders would have to be one of the biggest users of phones. On site you’d rarely see a foreman without a phone glued to their ear. Now they can use a technology they’re already comfortable with to complete a job they might not like, but must be done,” Kell & Rigby chief executive James Kell said.
The company counts Qantas, Vodafone and Apple – including the Apple Store on Sydney’s George St – among its completed projects.
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