by Brandon Baunach
Architects, like myself, are regularly challenged during the Construction Admin process by doing time-consuming, tedious punch lists. I think we have all at times wanted a solution that will speed up the punch listing process by streamlining the workflow of punch listing. What is punch listing, you ask? It’s the process where architects take field observations noting construction defects and deliver these observations in a report to the contractor. The punch list workflow follows as such:
1) write a note on a plan showing where the construction defect is
2) take a picture of the construction defect
3) write in a note pad describing the construction defect
4) go back to the office and download and retype all of this information
5) combine this information in a report
6) format this information
There are two huge hassles I’m certain that architects regularly face with the workflow:
1) They have to have carry plans, a camera, a notepad, and a pen. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do all this from my iPhone or iPad?
2) They have to have to reconstruct and format all this information when they get back to the office. Wouldn’t it be great that this be done while recording the information in the field?
3) Bonus: If someone were really ambitious, each one of these punch list items should be in a database that shows exactly when a construction defect is found and when it is fixed.
I’ve wanted to build an app for this solution for years, but I’m a complete novice. Unfortunately, now that I have the support to potentially make this dream a reality I’ve found a number of solutions also in this area of need. Below, I’ll highlight my “competition”, and then see if there’s still any opportunities for my app.
Archi Pad – http://www.archipad.com/en/
This punch list solution is for the iPad. It’s clunky and inflexible, and for $599, it does not offer the control or integration that would be expected of such a tool.
Punch List – http://www.constructionpunchlist.com/
The solution has one neat feature in that it takes a little plan snippet of the area where you note a construction defect. One problem: it’s still in development.
Newforma Punchlist – http://www.newforma.com/Project-Center/Newforma-Contract-Management/Newforma-Punch-List.aspx
This is probably the most powerful punch listing tool. You can take video, audio, and pictures to note construction defects, and you can assign teams a punch list item, and everything about the punch list system can be integrated into other tools. The cost for this system is a monthly fee, and for large projects, this seems like the best value for your money. The only problem might be that this app is android only at this point.
Punclist – http://www.fourthart.com/punchlist/
This program is my favorite for the type of work I do. You can:
- upload plans from multiple sources including dropbox,
- annotate each construction defect with a category, subcategory, description, image, ect.
- create project templates to speed up your workflow
- create reports instantly based on your punlist
- the app is $6.99
- use the punch list app for nearly any industry that requires inspection.
With so many solutions already on the market, where is the opportunity? Here is a quick brainstorm of how a new competitor could succeed:
- There is not a punch list solution for the iphone. A well designed iPhone app would make punch listing that much easier than dealing with the larger iPad form factor. Think single handed punch listing.
- The data formats from a punch list system should be extensible. That is, you should be able to take the data (maybe in xml format) and manipulated it into any template you want. This would allow the design conscious architect to get the graphic format however they wanted.
- freeing data would also allow for better analytics. So punch list data could be tracked for big picture trends. For example, one could track the type of construction defect which might reveal that one particular subcontractor is substantially under-performing.
- Although integrated solutions exist, I wonder if the price point could be better balanced between features and price. $6.99 on the low end to $599 on the high end is an insane spread. If someone could create a price point closer to $6.99 that were truly useful and approach $599 when the features got really deep this would seem to make more sense.