5 practical apps for architects and planners

April 17, 2017

Scandinavia is way ahead of Germany. There, the smartphone is already one of the most important pieces of technology in the office. This is revealed by a current study on the app generation of February 2016. Mobile applications are closely linked with smartphone and tablet. There is also a range of practical applications for architects and planners, which add convenience to everyday operations between the office and building site. Many are free and available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android and Windows Phone.


Apps for architects

© JÉSHOOTS, CC0, https://www.pexels.com/de/foto/hand-apple-iphone-smartphone-3510/


1. Creating sketches and vector drawings on the move

Quickly jot down an idea for a building form or a small architectural detail using apps such as iPocketDraw for iPhone/iPad or SketchBook Express. You can use them to create sketches or vector drawings. For this purpose, dashed and solid lines, geometric shapes such as ovals and rectangles and also text are all available. Another application developed specifically for Apple products is called uSketch. It makes it possible to convert photos into drawings, which can serve as the basis for a design. All three apps are free.


Detailed information about the implementation and the optimal use of BIM within a project.


2. Mobile measuring

Architects and planners record dimensions both outside and inside buildings. Apps such as Measure & Sketch or PhotoMeasures Lite support you in this process. First take a photo on your smartphone or tablet and then enter the required measurements on the walls, doors and windows. Via Dropbox or other Cloud systems the data is synchronized automatically. The site measurements produced can be exported as an e-mail, PDF or image file.


Happy Measure was developed at Deutsche Telekom’s laboratories. With this software for architects you have the option of placing items of furniture and objects in the 3D space. To this end, first print out the marker, the reference value. The program uses this to measure the particular object via the smartphone camera.


3. Digital construction diaries

At the building site discussions are held, defects recorded and inspections and approvals carried out. Mobile construction diary apps for smartphone or tablet collect this information in one place and facilitate your logging system. Examples include Bauskript, Baustelle 3.0 or Bautagebuch Mobile. You can enter which individuals have taken part in the site visit, what the weather conditions are or how far advanced the project is. The construction apps are free, and additional features can be added.


4. Easy data exchange via smartphone and tablet

The building industry has been characterized by an increasing standardization of descriptions and processes over the past few years. This also applies to the digital world: special data exchange formats are meant to facilitate communication between all construction partners and result in efficient project management. This includes the GAEB format which you can read from any place with the GAEB.direkt app. Cloud systems such as Dropbox enable you to automatically synchronize your files created using a portable device with your computer in the office or release them for other project partners. There is no need to send large files by e-mail.


5. Mobile view of manufacturer portfolios

The large manufacturers of windows and doors, facades, heat pumps or roofs have developed mobile apps in order to present their products online. Using filter functions you can select the appropriate elements for the building project. For the most part, the software, depending on the company, contains other tools such as calculation of achievable insulation values or facade planning via app. The program also informs about product-relevant properties or the latest developments in the industry.


The goal is efficient project management

The introduced apps are just a small fraction of what you can find on the market. Some are in German, others only in English. The majority of apps are free. You can simply try out which one suits you, or your employees. The goal should be to help you to organize your project management more efficiently and make your mobile everyday operations easier.