Apps for communicating, drawing, and managing documents and schedules are among the favorites.
A small number of builders and architects are among the early adopters of cutting-edge technology, such as immersive media apps, also called augmented reality, to show prospects 3-D online tours of an existing home. But the solid standbys—email, texting, Excel spreadsheets, QuickBooks for accounting, and common apps available on smartphones and tablets—were the most popular tech tools used by participants in Professional Builder’s 2016 Technology and Social Media Survey.
Because of the sheer complexity of designing and building a house, the apps and software that enable all involved parties to know what’s going on and what should happen next in a build were the most important function of technology for survey participants. The top desired outcome was higher productivity as a result of efficient communication between field, office, and trades, followed by clearer dialogue with customers throughout the build.
Just 13 percent of architects and builders—mostly small firms that build or design five or fewer homes per year—said they don’t have a company website, and 16.2 percent lack a social media presence. One North Carolina builder/remodeler admitted, “We have not engaged in social media like we need to ... Active social media interaction is on the horizon. The fact is, we’re busy building and can’t take on additional work.” Other builders who eschewed social media tended to be small companies with explanations similar to one Missouri builder/remodeler who wrote, “100 percent [of our business] comes from personal connection, not social media.”
A list of apps and software that builders and architects are using, as well as their current favorites, is included with the charts that follow.