No longer than 10 years ago, we architect were still using the old drawing board. A lot have changed since then. Now days we don’t draw plans any more, we build computer models. These are 3 dimension images that can be visualised in any angle or distance. We can walk through the building or fly over it like a bird.
The plans are obtained by cutting the building horizontally and representing what we see on plan. Furthermore, we are currently experimenting with virtual reality (VR) we use special glasses and can experience being in the actual designed space like if it was built, seeing the space in 360º by turning around we can look up to the ceiling or down to the floor to see the floor finish.
So the business has changed immensely and I do confirm that it has changed for the better. We are in superior control of spaces visualization that we design and therefore we can anticipate to possible construction problems before it happens on site.
Apart from the electronic tools that we have at our studio we also use a number of electronic software applications, (apps) that we find very useful at the studio or building works so I thought that may be useful to you too, so here they are:
Angle meter pro available in iOS and Android
Doing building surveys can be very easy on site without having to carry a whole team of physical tools. Angle Meter PRO is a digital tool that allows us to measure angles or slopes in the work with a high degree of precision, in different ways from the application or from the camera of your mobile phone or tablet. It can measure relative angles, find the difference between two angles or simply just find an actual angle.
This application calculates the necessary quantities of concrete for any particular project. It also calculates the cost and waste of the material and, allows users to instantly send estimates by email to their team members and customers. I say apparently because it is only available in iOS and I don’t have an iPhone to test it.
is a productivity application designed to do inspections, audits or reports and manage them directly anywhere. You can capture photographs or upload existing images, add annotations or comments and share reports via email, Dropbox or Google Drive.
Very useful when you are buying a property and need to make notes and take pictures of the properties you visit.
iHandy Level Free
A free digital tool that allows you to check the level of any surfaces using only the mobile phone thanks to the built-in accelerometer. This pocket leveller has a traditional bubble level interface and also a digital display of the current angle, measured in degrees from horizontal.
Useful when you hung picture frames on walls. Installing shelving etc.
This app can be obtained in iOS and android.
This free application allows you to store and share dimensions of objects and spaces. You just have to take a photograph of the object or space and add its dimensions with arrows, angles and comments so that everything is easily understandable. It can be pretty exact if you take the time to adjust it. Try and will surprise you.
We often use this very powerful app because it is an extension of the programme we use for our model building at the studio. This app, the mobile BIM communication tool of GRAPHISOFT, has the 'Hyper-model BIMx', a unique technology for navigating on the plans and the 3D construction model in an integrated way and for the visualization of information of the construction components.
You can walk through the model but can at any time emerge from the model to a drawing with a touch of your finger on the screen.
Both in iSO and android, the Construction Manager is designed to ensure the accurate and regular flow of information, such as maintenance log and daily reports, project estimates and time sheet between company headquarters and building site. It tracks work time in a daily basis with the daily report form. It can also calculate room sizes, the amount of paint to be used in that room or the amount of concrete etc.