Available Smartphone Applications for Architecture

The purpose of this blog is to assist people in “Applying Technology to Architecture”.  An aspect of technology that I have not yet addressed is in the use of smartphones within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.  We use smartphones for many different tasks, and we should use them to help us in our AEC industry specific tasks.

Since I utilize a Blackberry, I am going to look at some apps for it.  A recent blog by Houston Neal at http://www.softwareadvice.com/ discusses some construction apps available for the iPhone and the iPad, and I suggest checking those out. 

The following are a few of the apps that I found on the Blackberry App World that I felt would be useful to the AEC industry:

ADA Code:  Accessibility and ADA Code Help for IBC 2009

This application by ConstructionKnowledge.net is a “series of Frequently Asked Questions provides simple answers with Code reference for more detail complete with the most commonly used requirements for accessibility issues from IBC 2006 and ANSI A117.1 2003.”
While this does not replace the need for an actual code book, it can be useful for those times when you might be at a job site and need some basic information such as allowable tolerances and not just the design dimension.
Cost: $1.99

Steel Shape (Hot Rolled) for Construction:

“Use this app on the construction jobsite to quickly find the dimensions, weight and other design properties of hot rolled steel shapes in this exhaustive library that includes W, HP, C, angle, double angle, HSS round, pipe and MT. For each category, the program contains information on the dozens or hundreds of steel sizes. It provides a schematic of the beam and its depth, flange width, flange thickness, weight, Section Modulus Sx and Sy and more information that may be helpful in the field.”
“Example:  The structural drawings show a C12x30 that gets notched into a block wall.  You need to find the dimensions in order to properly saw the block wall.  This app allows you to quickly find the important dimensions.  On the other hand, perhaps you have a steel beam on an existing building and know the dimensions but need to find the size.”
Cost:  $2.99

Wood Beam Design for Construction:

“An easy to use wood beam calculator with inputs for span, beam size, lumber type, and either point loads or uniformly distributed loads. On the construction jobsite, this app allows you to quickly find the calculated stress in bending, the allowable stress of your beam type and the calculated and allowed deflection.”
Cost: $2.99

Kaplan Architecture Registration Exam (ARE) 4.0 Flashcards and Reference Guide:

This app contains over 1,800 terms used in architecture and is designed to help intern architects prepare for their ARE exam.  While it has been years since I passed my ARE, I can see how something like this would have been really handy.  It seemed like I was always studying in my down time, and having an app always available makes it so you never have an excuse for not studying.  This is an expensive app, but getting licensed as an architect is not inexpensive.
Cost:  $49.99

While there are not nearly as many good smartphone apps for Blackberry users as myself as there are for the iPhone users, there are still some that I believe can be useful.  Applying technology to architecture does not just entail utilizing design or analysis software on a computer.

If you know of some other Blackberry apps helpful to the AEC industry, feel free to post information about it here.


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