How Mobile Apps Can Improve Construction Data Collection

By Jason Peck on September 26, 2013

construction site that would benefit from mobile apps for data collection

Accurate data collection is crucial to success for construction companies. Throughout the life of a project, there are many places where information must be collected. Project data and information, such as estimates, timesheets, progress reports, inspections and more must be obtained from many people (employees, contractors, sub-contractors, inspectors, etc) about many aspects of the project. While most of this data is often collected via paper forms, we believe there’s a better way. Read on to see how mobile apps can improve data collection for companies in the construction industry.

More Accurate Data Collection

Data is only meaningful if it’s accurate. With mobile apps, construction companies can do more to ensure that the information they’re collecting is accurate and precise. With paper forms, it’s easy for someone to accidentally (or intentionally) skip a field or section that needs to be filled in. With a mobile app, the constuction company could require that these fields be filled in before the individual moves on to another field. Creating checklist apps is especially convenient for this, as you can mandate that all information that needs to be checked is checked, with no missing fields.

Mobile apps for construction also solve any readability or handwriting issues. How many times have you received a completed form and something on it is barely readable? With a mobile app, the data is entered via typing on a mobile device’s keyboard or keypad, and poor handwriting becomes a problem of the past.

Real-Time Data Collection

With mobile apps, construction companies can collect data instantly. When information is filled out on a mobile device, it can be sent in real-time to any email address and stored in the cloud. No more waiting on someone to collect all the paper forms, put them in a briefcase or folder, drive them back to the office and then deliver the forms to someone else who has to sit in front of a computer and then re-enter all the information so it can be shared and to ensure compliance.

Collect Better Information

With moibile apps and forms, construction companies can collect more data than they ever could using paper forms. Imagine you’re at a job site and something isn’t quite right. Or a piece of equipment is cracked or damaged. Or the road to the site needs work. Instead of having to describe the problem or issue by writing about it on a paper form, a construction company that uses mobile apps for data collection could take pictures of the problem to provide visual proof that it exists. 

Other information that can be easily collected via mobile apps include calculations (maybe you want to easily calculate the number of hours that a contractor has worked this month, without having to do the math yourself), electronic signatures, barcodes from equipment and more. With GoCanvas, your data can also be preloaded into mobile apps so it’s much easier to find a part or piece of equipment that needs to be ordered based on an item number or keyword, instead of having to pour through a 400 page manual to find what you’re looking for.

Prevent Damaged Forms

With construction companies collecting data at many different points and from many different people, paper forms end up in a variety of places and conditions:

  • forms that have coffee spilled on them
  • forms with ripped or torn areas
  • forms that end up as dog food (the “my dog ate it” excuse lives on!)

If a form is damaged and there is valuable information on it, this could mean misunderstandings, safety risks, loss of time, loss or revenue and more. Mobile apps can help construction companies eliminate these kind of paper and data problems.

Prevent Lost Forms

What’s worse than a damaged paper form with missing or incomplete data? A form that has disappeared completely. The construction companies that utilize mobile apps can say goodbye to this issue!

At GoCanvas, we specialize in helping companies escape the paper chase and improve their data collection.  Check out our top Construction Apps to see more mobile forms for construction companies. All of these apps can be used as-is or customized!