Custom FileMaker Go forms on iPad
Advances in technology are transforming the way we construct buildings, with the latest development being the introduction of tablet devices to the construction site. Given the small, portable format of tablets, and their ability to connect wirelessly to provide real-time, up to date information, tablets could be a game changer in this space, offering benefits such as:
- Improve communication between contractors, architects, and engineers
- Reduce the paper consumed to print large-format blueprints
- Provide on-site analytics of design specifications to help promote green building ideas
- Make it possible to keep track of inventory and supply orders
- Keep track of work orders and personnel records
- Coordinate job crews and vehicle schedules
- Take photographs at job sites
- Take measurements and check specifications
One case study on the use of an iPad in construction is documented on Apple’s website: http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/crescent-construction.
Perhaps most importantly for the green building space, tablets may offer much better field computing to make it possible to adjust plans for greater materials efficiency (ordering only what is necessary when it is necessary), easier recycling of waste, and on-the-fly adjustments based on real world information to improve building performance. Tools such as Sefaira’s early stage whole-building energy analysis software will also make it easier than ever to see the 3D results of changes in design mid-project.
However, there are concerns that tablets are not quite ready for the rigors of the construction site. Given that tablets are generally somewhat frail in their durability, subject to damage if dropped, crushed, or otherwise exposed to the elements such as dust, moisture, and the like, they may not last long in the tough construction environment. However, with rugged, durable mounting devices and cases, these problems may be overcome. Additionally, tablets may not yet be affordable enough to see them used widely in the field, but arguably the cost of rework as part of an overall project would be much higher.
No doubt it’s only a matter of time before the development in tablets catches up to the demands of the construction field, and we look forward to how this will make sustainable building designs simpler and more cost-effective than ever.