In 2012, Belgian software developers Peter Eerlings and Jerry De Paepe were contacted by an architecture firm looking for a solution to simplify their field reports. Creating field reports was an extremely time-consuming activity for them: first, writing down notes on paper and taking photos during a site visit. Back at the office, transferring the photos to the PC with a cable. Next, adding annotations to photos with Paint, deciphering and typing out the handwritten notes, struggling with the layout while inserting photos in Word, and so on. Over and over again. It was an administrative hassle that easily took more than an hour for each field report - sometimes two or three.
The two entrepreneurs contacted other architects and building professionals in Belgium and it soon became clear that this was a major source of pain for many architects, as well as contractors. Luckily, the first iPad with a camera had been released to the market just one year earlier, in 2011. The timing was right to develop a mobile solution for field reports. The two developers gathered a core group of architects to brainstorm how the app should work. Thanks to the intensive collaboration within this group, important functionalities were included from the very start, such as item numbering, starting from a previous report, and annotating on photos and plans.
The first version of ArchiSnapper was released on April 1, 2013. By documenting all the necessary data - like text, photos, floor plan annotations and more - immediately while on-site with a smartphone or tablet, the field report is basically ready for distribution when leaving the construction site. The log of site photos is also often extremely helpful for the client. ArchiSnapper users say that the app saves them at least an hour of work per report, and thus several hours per week, which is time they can now spend on useful project work and bringing in new clients. By finishing work sooner, they also have time to pick up their children from school a bit earlier, get in an extra workout, or go out to meet up with family and friends.
Back in 2013, many architects still had reservations about the use of mobile devices on the construction site. But over time, as mobile technology became more and more common, this gradually started to change. More architects started to adopt tools like ArchiSnapper to increase productivity. Fast-forward to 2020: ArchiSnapper is now being used by more than 10,000 architects and contractors worldwide, on both iOS and Android platforms. These construction professionals save hours of time with their field reports and punch lists. Typical ArchiSnapper clients include architecture firms, contractors, and developers, both big and small. Companies such as Allies and Morrison, USA Architects, HYL Architecture, Jordan & Skala engineers, Lees Associates, and CDI Spaces are all loyal clients.
Saving More Than Just Time
Communication is crucial, especially in the construction industry, where the cost of mistakes can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to time savings, ArchiSnapper helps to share all information in a clear and organized way. This significantly reduces the chance of costly misunderstandings and mistakes.
"The product not only pays for itself with each report we generate, but managing deficiencies over time has become incredibly easy as well," describes one ArchiSnapper user. Another notes that they "...are able to share site conditions and project status easily with everyone that is involved. It was extremely easy to set up and very user friendly."
ArchiSnapper users note that a clearly-structured site report with their own branding emphasizes their professionalism. The clarity helps on both ends of the equation: contractors are also happy to receive structured and clear communication from architects, which lets them focus on their work.
View the full sample report here.
Further Digitization of Construction Management
Over the years, the ArchiSnapper team started to automate other aspects related to construction site management. For example, it is now possible to collaborate with subcontractors, so that they can give feedback on the items assigned to them. This way, all communication is centralized in one place rather than spread over different channels like WhatsApp, email, and phone calls, which is inefficient and can cause information to fall through the cracks.
Integration has been developed with the most common ERP and project management platforms for architecture and construction, such as BQE Core, Synergy, Teamleader, and others. ArchiSnapper has also recently released features allowing users to request documents from third parties, display projects on a map, and perform inspections based on checklists.
Focusing on Simplicity and Ease of Use
By keeping the focus on simplicity and ease of use, Jerry, Peter and their team hope to help even more architects eliminate the busywork related to construction site management, therefore helping them save valuable time - day after day, week after week. To accomplish this, they make sure to keep ArchiSnapper user-friendly - an app that doesn’t require hours of training to get started.
Questions or need help? The ArchiSnapper team is happy to help. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.