Best Construction Documentation App
Are you trying to decide which is the best construction documentation app? We are in a golden age of technology. Between cloud computing, hard drives that never fill up, and the ever-increasing amount of data we’re generating as we go about our lives, it’s easier than ever to save and share our stuff online. Construction companies are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and so they’re tapping into the power of apps that can help them do just that.
Construction documentation apps are taking a leading spot in construction industry. As more and more companies start investing in new technology, companies like projectwise are going to rule the industry. Especially when it comes to cost-effectiveness, efficiency and modern engineering practices, these apps are the answer for the future of construction industry.
As the construction industry is at the heart of every business, it is important to have a solid knowledge of the best construction documentation apps to ensure the proper procedures and practices are being followed. By making sure that everyone in your organization is on the same page, you can instill confidence in your company’s ability to give quality results to its clients.
For contractors, best construction documentation app is helpful to keep your task and schedule update. When you are working on your construction project, you always want to document it in detail for the safety of task execution. As the owner or contractor of project, you want to know all updates of task status from the owner. There is no way if you don’t document the task and update it regularly.
What Are Construction Apps?
Construction apps are apps that construction workers and construction company owners can download on their smartphones or tablets to help them manage projects from anywhere at any time. They’re designed to automate tasks, store and share documents, upload plans, manage tasks, and more.1 You can do everything from creating punch lists to managing subcontractor data to centralizing workflow and managing cost updates.
Construction apps aren’t full accounting apps and typically won’t be able to get you ready for tax time. They also don’t take the place of managing your employees and subcontractors or complete payroll for you. These tasks generally require separate apps or software.
Best Overall Fieldwire
Established in 2013 in San Francisco, Fieldwire focuses on precision and productivity and is a full-service field management solution for construction teams and projects of any size. It powers more than 750,000 projects across the world including residential, commercial, and industrial projects including the SEA-TAC International Airport in Seattle.
Fieldwire is used by general contractors, business owners, specialty contractors, architects, and designers to manage job sites worldwide. The app helps to improve job site communication, coordination, and productivity, and uses real-time updates to assign tasks, monitor progress, and complete reports. Some of its additional features include plan viewing, task management, scheduling, punch lists, and report creation.
Fieldwire offers a free help center to help you get started. They can also help choose which plan is right for you or customize a plan tailored to your needs. Pricing for Fieldwire is per month and the price reflects the discount for paying upfront annually.
Tiered pricing is as follows:
- Basic: Free plan with a 5 user limit for small teams who want to try out the app
- Pro: $29 per user per month billed annually for growing teams who want to scale
- Business: $49 per user per month billed annually for advanced teams unifying processes
- Premier: $89 per user per month billed annually for teams who want to connect Fieldwire to their core technology
Fieldwire has positive third-party customer reviews with users reporting that the app is excellent, has replaced paper plans, and includes useful tools that save time.
It’s our top choice for best overall construction apps because of its robust features, and company reputation.
Runner-Up, Best Overall PlanGrid
Owned by Autodesk and founded in 2012 in San Francisco, PlanGrid is a construction productivity software company that offers real-time updates and file synchronization. It’s used by general contractors, subcontractors, owners, and designers in commercial, industrial, healthcare, and heavy civil industries, and has been employed on over 1.5 million projects worldwide including the Las Vegas Arena.
You can manage teams and projects in one place while organizing users, managing projects, and purchasing licenses. It offers secure data uploads, is scalable for small and large projects, and can be integrated with software including DocuSign, Dropbox, Excel, and more. Other features include tasks, punch lists, workflows, submittals, instant sync, smart drawings, and more.
You can get started in only a few minutes by creating an account, uploading sheets, and inviting team members all from the app. The company offers group discounts, add-ons, and a free 21-day trial as well as tiered pricing with a discount for paying annually.
Tiered pricing reflects discounts for paying annually and is as follows:
- Nailgun: $39/user/month for 550 sheets with unlimited projects, photos, and documents
- Dozer: $69/user/month for 5,000 sheets with unlimited projects, photos, and documents
- Crane: $129/user/month for unlimited sheets, unlimited projects, photos, and documents
PlanGrid receives mixed third-party reviews. Although some customers complain about the unsubscribe button not working, other users like that its functions are efficient and productive. It’s our runner-up choice for the best construction app because of its vast features and tools and easy integration with apps you already use.
Best for Independent Contractors Joist
A contractor estimator, invoice, and payment app, Joist is used by over one million contractors and has invoiced over $46 billion in transactions. It’s used by contractors and specialty contractors but not large teams.
Joist offers templates and custom contracts and other features including cost markups, deposit requests, payment schedules, job photo storage, and more. Customers can also digitally sign documents via the app and you can create easy-to-read, detailed estimates in minutes.
Joist offers tiered pricing and discounts for paying annually:
- Starter: Free for estimates, invoices and deposits, and payment schedules
- Pro: $12/user/month and includes everything that Starter includes plus logo branding, notifications, work orders, QuickBooks Online Syncing, and custom contracts
- Pro Elite: $29/user/month includes everything from Pro plus change orders, web and social links, license, and insurance, reports and groups items into sections
Customers provide mostly positive third-party reviews and say they like how easy it is to categorize items as well as the on-the-go notes and estimates tools.
Joist is our choice for the best construction app for independent contractors because it’s an app that was made by contractors for contractors. It understands the industry and the features that will be helpful like creating on-the-spot estimates.
Best for Large Projects Procore
Procore is a U.S.-based construction project management software company that aims to help construction firms increase project efficiency and accountability, streamline project documentation and communication, and help you finish a project safely, on time, and on budget. It’s used by large-scale companies like Lennar and Brookfield Properties.
Procore is used for capital improvements, industrial projects, and ground-up construction in multiple countries by general contractors, subcontractors, and business owners. Users can communicate, monitor progress, and complete task forms, and share documents and plans. Other features include pre-construction bid management, design coordination, field productivity, and invoice management tools.
Pricing is based on the construction volume that you run on the platform and both bundles come with unlimited document storage, unlimited business directory, task management, and reporting. You can contact the company to find out what features each tier includes and for custom bundle pricing.
It has positive third-party reviews and users say that it’s easy to use, keeps you organized, is easy to integrate with other software, and it offers full project management tools.
Procore is our top choice for construction apps that are best for large projects due to its proven record of helping efficiently and effectively manage large scale construction projects. It also has a full offering of features and tools including project management, quality and safety, and training tools.
Best for Reporting GoCanvas
Based in Reston, Virginia, and Sydney, Australia, GoCanvas was founded as Canvas in 2008 and changed its name to GoCanvas in 2017. It was founded to help business owners improve processes and reduce the clutter of paperwork. The app is used by organizations of varying sizes in multiple industries including construction, food and beverage, transit, manufacturing, and more.
The app helps you save time and money by eliminating the need for paperwork and speeding up data collection. You can customize or use a template and then collect information, distribute the data, sync to the app, or to their cloud, and you can even add team members as collaborators. Some additional functions include building forms and distributing them to field workers, auto-email forms, reassigning work from one employee to another, and providing job details.
Once you’ve selected your plan, you can download the app, fill out your profile, and start creating templates right away.
Tiered pricing for GoCanvas is as follows:
- Individual: Free for one user, one mobile device at a time with the app, and .pdf builder and unlimited cloud storage
- Business: $45/user/month billed annually and includes Individual features plus branding, dispatch, and integrations
- Professional: $55/user/month billed annually and includes Business features plus scheduled dispatch and calendar, automated workflow, assignments, and folders
Contact the company for large team pricing and to get more details on the features included in each tiered plan.
Overall, GoCanvas has positive third-party reviews, and users like how easy it is to digitize paperwork and stay organized.
We chose GoCanvas as the best construction app for reporting because of its robust reporting features. Although it doesn’t offer as many other features as some of the other apps, it focuses on reducing paperwork and digital reporting, helping you stay efficient and organized regardless of project size.
Best for Pre-Construction SmartBid
SmartBid, founded in 2006 and acquired by ConstructConnect in 2018, is a contractor bid management software for the construction industry. It’s used by subcontractors, independent contractors, general contractors, and business owners across the U.S. and Canada.
The app helps to simplify the pre-construction process and streamline communication between general contractors and subcontractors. Some of its features include sharing project documents, sending invitations to bid, streamlining prequalification, managing subcontractors’ data, and tracking compliance, reports, and project metrics. It can be integrated with other construction apps including Procore and Stack.
Downloading the app is free, and subcontractors who are invited to bid or prequalify a job in the system can also use the app at no cost. However, there are some costs associated with a few of the features. You’ll need to contact the company for those specific features and prices.
SmartBid has mostly positive third-party customer reviews with users saying that it’s helpful when managing multiple-estimate projects and tracking current open bids.
We chose SmartBid as our best construction app for pre-construction because it effectively helps subcontractors and specialty and general contractors during the pre-construction phase to submit and compare bids as well as manage the pre-construction process.
How Do Construction Apps Work?
Like any app, you download the construction app on your mobile device, set up a profile, and click through the features you want to use. You’ll fill in necessary details like the number of subcontractors, types of projects, budget, and deadlines.
The app can autofill items for you, use built-in calculators to calculate profits, create budgets, and stay on track with deadlines. Business owners can manage job progress and keep track of their worker’s time cards and who is working on what job site when and what still needs to get done.
Some apps even let you share data with clients so they can see what progress is being made on their project and make suggestions and communicate directly through the app.
How Much Do Construction Apps Cost?
The cost of construction apps varies. Some apps are free to download and use while others are free to download but cost money to use. Other apps charge a one-time fee to download or monthly subscription fees. Generally, you can expect an app to cost anywhere from $12 per user per month all the way up to $549 per month.
However, even though you might need to pay for the app, you might find it saves you money in other areas. For instance, you can save money on gas by driving to fewer job sites if you effectively use a construction app. You can also reduce wasted time by monitoring employees’ work tasks, and you can increase your efficiency by automating tasks you may have otherwise had to do manually.
Are Free Construction Apps Worth Using?
Free construction apps are definitely worth using. It only takes a few seconds to download an app, and most of them are easy to use and you can get the hang of the features in a few minutes. Using a construction app can free up more of your time for other money-making tasks, improve efficiency, and can even decrease the number of onsite visits you need to make.
Before you create your next punch list, site inspection report, or jot notes down, consider using an app to streamline the process for you.
How We Chose the Best Construction Apps
We thoroughly researched and reviewed 20 of the most popular construction apps before narrowing them down to our top six picks. Criteria we used to evaluate providers included cost, customer ratings and reviews, the number of built-in tools, and collaborative and multi-user functions. We also looked at the apps’ ability to integrate with other programs and software, whether it’s cloud-based or has the ability to sync with the cloud, and if it can help with on-site tasks like document signing or providing instant bids.
It is not surprising that there is no single best app for construction document software in the world. Construction processes and rules vary from country to country and even within each country. In addition, there can be sites that may require additional features or specific needs.
If you’re a software engineer, you’ve probably heard someone mention “technical debt” before. Technical debt is the sum of all of your design prerogatives and rushed coding decisions. If you’re not careful about writing clean code and keeping documentation up to date, this can become a serious issue in the long-term.