iPad App to Replace Printed Blueprints?

A small startup's unique platform for construction plan management could save the industry billions
TAGS: innovation
 Printed plans cost the industry billions

The construction industry has a $4 billion dollar problem – in the endless modifications to expensive printed blueprints, building plans can often swell to nearly half a percent of a project’s total budget, making for some extraordinary costs on larger builds.

Not exactly renowned for innovation, the construction industry has been slow to adopt the range of technologies that have transformed so many other sectors. PlanGrid, a small Y Combinator startup company, is looking to change all that with an ambitious app for the iPad that looks to replace costly and cumbersome printed designs with a sleek, manageable digital archive of customizable plans.

PlanGrid’s new iPad app allows users to manipulate plans in the field, quickly flip between blueprint versions, and share new designs via cloud services or e-mail. The intuitive layout balances simplicity and functionality, and the software’s ease of use will be surely appreciated by a not-so-tech-savvy sector.



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Because plans take so long to move through the modification and reprinting process, many unnecessary rework costs are associated with outdated designs being used in the field – a problem remedied by the immediate availability of PlanGrid’s instantaneous updates and cloud-storage capabilities. The company offers a three-tiered pricing plan for building professionals, and for smaller projects (less than 50 sheets), the app is free.

With today’s announcement of the iPad 3 – boasting a 2048 x 1536-pixel retina display, 5 megapixel camera and LTE capabilities – the incorporation of tablet technology into the construction field is even more irresistible. Whatever the success of PlanGrid’s app, the industry is sure to move towards digitizing blueprint management for field use in the near future.

You can learn more about PlanGrid and download the app here.

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