Like having a quantity surveyor in your pocket

If you don’t yet own a smartphone or you’ve never downloaded an “app”, you probably will soon. Last August, communications regulator Ofcom reported that 27% of adults had one, most acquired over the previous year. The most popular uses are email, internet surfing and social networking, but the latest devices are equipped with powerful digital cameras, presentation-quality graphics, GPS technology and laptop-sized memories, so the opportunities for anyone with the time and energy to think of an application and develop the code for it are endless. More than 500,000 people have already done exactly that. And some of them work in construction, judging by the growing number of apps that turn the industry’s mobile phones into handheld portfolios, technical cribsheets, drawing boards and decibel readers. For this piece in AIS Interiors Focus magazine, I tracked down the best and the most useful construction apps, including almost certainly the world’s first dedicated to quantity surveying – now downloaded more than 500 times in seven countries and earning rave, five-star reviews in Apple’s App Store.