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shooter2jim

App for const. project management?

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One of my jobs is building decks and I would like to find an app with which I could manage things like estimates, labor and material costs, etc.  The ability to add photos of the projects as we progress would be helpfu, as well as export docs as PDF's . Is there such an app, or would I be just as well off using Circus Ponies' Notebook app?  

Thanks!

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Sounds like the perfect situation for a good database app. Bento or FileMakerPro would be my suggestions.

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Never had any experience with Bento... Is it easy to work with for us "novice" users? :)

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It's a fairly 'friendly' database program but, really if you're good at spreadsheets you could do it all with Numbers/Pages. I made a spreadsheet program in VisiCalc for my Dad's construction company 30 years ago and it was serviceable (sorry, don't have it anymore cuz my Apple ][+ is long gone}. It really depends on how deeply you want to get into the process. Most Project Management software can do all what you mention and more but I have no experience with them on my Macs. And, that brings the question of - when you say 'app', do you mean iOS or Mac?

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I meant iOS, so I could work off the iPad on-site. Mac OS compatibility would be good too, though... And im looking for something pretty simple and easy to use. At this point, I'm really just wanting the app for record keeping purposes.

 

The guy I'm working with is using Android and Windows so the ability to view my work on those platforms is desirable. He wouldnt necessarily need to have the ability to edit my work. His wife recently got an iPad so they are starting to get a taste of Apple goodness and I think they are both planning to get iPhones when their contracts expire.

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soooo… this was a question that was asked of me in 1983 when my family had a computer retail store. my first thought was "REALLY?!? people are still asking about construction management software? shouldn't this be built-in to anyone that does construction 30 years later?" some things never change I guess.

 

first thing I did was search for "construction management software" which gave me a really long list covering everything from "building my own house" to LEED certification. which might not be a big help for anyone because the question was too broad. but I clicked through a few to see what was there.

 

this seemed promising. the words "focus on mobile" have my attention. but I'm not a constructor so I don't know, maybe mobile is a buzz word to suck me in.

 

e-builder looks like Windows and there's a gantt chart. meaning it's too big.

 

there is always QuickBooks. it claims to have a "job contracting" function. YMMV. looks like a red hearing to me.

 

the next click looks like 10 years ago. maybe it's somebody's personal solution that turned into a business. and it's Windows again.

 

here's the first clue. most of this stuff is going to run on Windows. and for good reason… the box to run it is cheap. there were also a ton more tools for building software around a database model. as the construction business predates the personal computer business you'll find lots of tools have been migrated multiple times over the years to accommodate the new platforms. except the Mac. the Mac didn't have "standard" CAD tools. nobody built a business around justAnyCAD it was always AutoCAD which didn't run on a Mac until last year. so from AutoCAD brings the rest of the workflow.

 

there might be a web version (SAS) but will it work in a small environment?

 

I think that rather than looking at something specific or getting frustrated with a database that you have to learn I would worry about what I coul do with a simpler workflow. lets look at the problem from your end. a deck is a finite build problem. there are only so many different materials you would use. and specific things can be added as other. it can't be more than a 100 parts I bet. then it's just chinese menu when you start something. and if there is a custom part to it you can add that in but it's still going to be the same-ish from job to job. a job quote could be generated by opening a spreadsheet template and entering the numbers of the raw material: 308 2x4, 45 12x12, 19 4x4, = $1904 foundation: 6 4ft hole 2' diameter, 149cu concrete, pad prep, clearing and leveling = $1200 labor: management = 10 hours. construction 19 hours. other = 10 hours. = $4800.

 

rather than put all this in a database just make a client folder in the finder and drag all the relevant project materials into it. put jobs in there by month. if you have a similar job just duplicated and rename the job folder.

Edited by johnfoster

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If it's mostly just record-keeping, I'd suggest Evernote. It's free, works on pretty much every platform and if you don't like it, all you've spent is time (Not an insignificant factor, but you'll use it no matter what you try).

 

But, that's much different than what I thought about in the original post. You could set up spreadsheets in any of several different programs to actually use for estimating materials and labor costs.

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One of my jobs is building decks and I would like to find an app with which I could manage things like estimates, labor and material costs, etc.  The ability to add photos of the projects as we progress would be helpfu, as well as export docs as PDF's . Is there such an app, or would I be just as well off using Circus Ponies' Notebook app?  

Thanks!

 

Notebook for sure could handle gathering and organizing documents, photos, etc. and generating PDFs. It has a "Table" object, but I haven't played with it too much. I think it's pretty basic and I don't think it does calculations or formulas. I'm also not sure if it could build "fill-in" style forms which may be another requirement for what you're trying to do. I agree that using something like Bento may better suit your needs depending upon what you're trying to accomplish. Also, Numbers may be a possibility.

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Notebook for sure could handle gathering and organizing documents, photos, etc. and generating PDFs. It has a "Table" object, but I haven't played with it too much. I think it's pretty basic and I don't think it does calculations or formulas. I'm also not sure if it could build "fill-in" style forms which may be another requirement for what you're trying to do. I agree that using something like Bento may better suit your needs depending upon what you're trying to accomplish. Also, Numbers may be a possibility.

 

Thanks to Adam and everyone for the great help! I watched the videos on Circuis Ponies' site and decided to buy Notebook. It will work for this purpose plus offers enough versatility to use the app for a multitude of other things. I like the feature set and can always use Numbers if I need a spreadsheet program. I also wanted to help support the MacCast so Notebook seems a perfect fit.

 

Best wishes to all,

Jim

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