10 essential architecture apps for firms and consultants
August 28, 2019
To be an architect means to wear many different hats. Aside from the fun conceptual and design work, there are coordination plans, proposals, client management, external contractors and suppliers to think about. You are simultaneously a creative, a problem solver, a construction process advisor, an administrator and a safety expert.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of architect tools to facilitate each stage of project delivery. But the sheer amount of choice can be paralyzing, especially when new apps appear all the time, and the need for remote and mobile capabilities becomes more pressing.
Yet certain architect tools have withstood changing trends and fashions. Cropping up in almost every architect’s toolkit, here are the 10 staple architecture apps you should know about.
Working with curves rather than linking polygons, professionals can create 3D space by manipulating shapes and then download them to the iOS or Android app, where users can pan, zoom, and orbit using typical commands. 3D models can be loaded from websites, DropBox, Google Drive, email attachments or from iTunes. The app also allows you to mark-up plans, drawings, 3D models, photos or contact sheets as you go.
For architects, the best apps for design start with AutoCAD mobile. Working as an extension to the desktop program, the mobile version allows you to draft and draw when you’re not at your workspace as well as share plans across multiple platforms in the DWG format. Alternatively, if you want to find an easy way to bring your drawings to the site, you can use the app to adjust measurements and annotate while you’re on site.
You don’t need a ton of bells and whistles to draw in 3D... all you need is your idea, and room to draw. SketchUp is the easiest 3D modeling app to support the desktop version while architects are on the move or in between meetings. Share 3D designs with colleagues, clients or stakeholders and edit seamlessly as you go.
Autodesk FormIT offers intuitive 3D sketching in mobile form to share with clients or engineers quickly. It allows you to create forms quickly from a gallery of shapes, directly manipulate forms and share designs with others - fast. It also uses real-world and real-time site data to create forms in context and support design decisions while synchronizing updates to the cloud, ensuring your work is never lost.
No measuring tape? No problem. MagicPlan is one of the most effective architecture apps on the market, allowing you to create a floor plan by scanning a room in just 30 seconds. You can then draw plans on the app or import existing floor plans from your device - adding objects, photos, or notes as you go along.
Time tracking is an essential practice for every architect, and with Timely you can automate the entire thing. By automatically tracking the time you spend in every app you work with, Timely maps out your entire day – from meetings, emails, GPS locations and documents, to websites and work tools. Using AI, it translates this all into accurate timesheets for you, so you can be confident you actually bill for all your client work.
As one of the most popular accounting products on the market, it’s no surprise that QuickBooks offers a mobile accounting app as part of their service. The app synchronizes your data across your devices to automatically update accounting information, allowing firms and consultants to see real-time records as a project runs on.
Firms rave about Outplanr - an app that helps you balance workflow, ensuring everyone has just the right amount of tasks and can scale up or down whenever necessary. Quickly review missing downtime or extra hours put in and coordinate with your teams and organize subtasks, files and team discussions. Better still, it can integrate with your calendar, Asana and Slack.
Float for Xero provides you with a real-time, visual cashflow forecast to help firms spot changes in spending and finances and build confidence in developing planning. Its high-level accuracy of data allows firms to stay in control, even if external factors like planning permission or client changes are uncertain. Best of all, the app automatically synchronizes with your firm’s accounting software so you can easily see incoming cash and outgoing expenses.
Pipedrive app is a purpose-built CRM platform designed for activity-based selling - ideal for firms or consultants looking to boost business. The app’s intuitive visual interface allows you to take action and stay in control of your business’ complex sales process with new or existing clients, helping you manage your to-do list and reach contacts with its native search tool.