Tablets @ The Construction Site

The days of carrying around rolls of construction documents on site are in flux. The rapid change of both software and hardware has already dramatically changed the way architects, engineers, and general contractors communicate with each other. For those of you who do site visits on a regular basis, you are no doubt familiar with the relatively drawn out process the contractor has to take in order to get clarification on a detail or problem distillation – taking pictures of detail, scanning redlines, emailing to architect, etc. However, what if, and it is happening, you can bring out an or similar device with all the drawings loaded ready to view in palm of your hand. Questions can simply be marked up right on the spot and instantly fired off for review or approval.

The field of architecture has been immersed with a digital environment for decades now, but with the advent of BIM and smarter modeling it only makes sense to take the next step forward and leave the paper trail of construction drawings behind. One can simply load up a BIM model on their portable device on site and have a resolution achieved within a much shorter time frame. In a fast paced environment where time is a critical factor, expediting the construction process from both within the office and out in the field is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Software currently on the market that address and take advantage of portable tablet devices include Bentley’s Navigator, Autodesk’s AutoCAD WS, PlanGrid, and iRhino 3D (only a viewer at this point).


Cite: Winstanley, Tim. "Tablets @ The Construction Site" 26 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Sep 2014. <>


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    A SketchUp viewer for client meetings would be nice too. I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen this yet.

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      There is such application. Search for an autodeks program for ipad that give you the chance to open and orbit in sketchup. ( you have to export for google earth model to open ).

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    Wow no mention of bluebeam! When I go out into the field I reference PDF drawings (can be done with any PDF viewer, even dropbox), and do punchouts. We’re taking formatted letter/ledger sheets with drawing snapshots and keynoting, commenting. Those 3d viewers are cute but are more applicable to a site office, not necessarily walking a job.

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      Agree, Tekla BIMSight works great if you need to take your model to the site. You can look up any condition in 3D view crop, annotate, measure, and communicate the markups back to the office in seconds.

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    Technology or gadgets really have a lot to contribute to the construction industry. These tools can be used by architects or engineers that can be a big help to them when it comes to things about construction.

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