There are a multitude of online tools and apps out there to help architects and contractors, so how do you choose the best ones for your needs? Integrity Software takes a look at our top five digital tools for architects in 2014…
Building Information Model Explorer
BIMx - Free - Available from iTunes
A feature-filled app that ties in with ArchiCAD, BIMx enables architects to share and demonstrate their plans in 2D and 3D to clients with ease. We particularly like that designs can be shared to any external device – such as an iPad – making it easy and cheap to share plans with clients and demonstrate models without having to print costly plans for each variant.
Various modes – such as fly and walk, real-time 3D cutaway and photo-realistic options – bring your models to life, enabling clients to truly visualise your plans. There are several functions that make this app particularly easy to use, such as on-screen navigation maps and simple finger controls.
$9.99 - Available from iTunes
This is a particularly handy app for working out formulas on the go, when planning on-site or visiting clients to give accurate workings on-the-spot. There are more than 400 formulas on this app – and as it works on smartphones and tablets it can really be used anywhere. There are a range of sections, including useful formulas for electrical, carpentry, plumbing, concrete and excavations. There are also the more basic formulas for architects, such as wind load and overturning force.
You can work out everything from acoustic absorption to beam shear load, all from the one app. There are even options for specialised formulas such as parking sites, pavements and swimming pool design. With such a wide range of knowledge packed within the app, it’s a particularly handy tool for any architect.
A comprehensive website for anyone in the construction sector, Building.co.uk delivers up-to-date news and analysis, as well as useful tools and case studies. Specific sections on both ecobuild and sustainability (as well as associated legal issues) make it a particularly useful stop for any architect or contractor in these fields. In addition, ongoing analysis and input from experts on a range of subjects affecting construction make it an extremely useful news source, so that contractors and architects can stay ahead of legislative changes.
Available at hmrc.gov.uk are a vast range of resources for people working in the construction sector. Most significantly are the clear explanations of taxes relating to construction companies and subcontractors. There are webinars, online and bookable live Q&A sessions to help clarify any questions you may have regarding tax legislation in the sector. A lot of information is available regarding the Construction Industry Scheme – a vital piece of legislation to understand if you work in construction.
We couldn’t look at crucial tools to help the construction industry without mentioning Integrity Software options. Construction software to meet all of your accounting needs, several different package levels mean that – regardless of the size of your business – you can manage your accounts from a central hub. Designed with the specific needs of the construction industry in mind, Integrity Software provides all aspects of contract management and accounting. Take a tour of the website to discover which level best suits your specific needs.