From QR codes on building permits, to paper blueprints being replaced by iPads, construction technology has recently clicked into some major advances.
Digital Destinations in NYC
New York City’s Department of Buildings has become the first in the country to attach QR (Quick Response) codes to building permits, allowing users to scan millions of documents to their phone without ever turning on a printer.
City of New York
|New York City’s building permits include QR codes for easy access to jobsite information.|
The project began in February 2011, and the city is about to issue its 200,000th building permit with a QR code, according to reports.
What it Does
The codes enable smartphone users to scan the black and white matrix to unlock volumes of jobsite information.
Users can instantly learn reams of details about ongoing projects—including the approved scope of work, identities of the property owner and job applicant, other approved projects associated with the permit, and the complaints and violations related to the location.
City of New York
|A building permit QR code links to volumes of documents.|
Users also have the ability to click a link that will initiate a phone call to 311 to make a complaint, the city explained in a release announcing the project.
“New Yorkers expect to be able to gather information instantly, and the use of QR codes will allow them to get all information about construction work while standing on the sidewalk,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Leading the Way
In addition to new permits, the city is also adding the codes to 975,000 existing building and construction sites scattered around the city. All permits are expected to have the codes by 2013.
Also in New York City, permits being issued for work involving concrete, demolition, cranes, electrical, excavations, general construction, plumbing, scaffolding, side-walk sheds and others are all being issued with the QR codes.
So far, New York City boasts the only building department using the QR codes. However, reports suggest the QR craze may soon catch on in other large cities across the country.
Blueprints: There’s an App for That
Meanwhile, construction workers in the field are embracing another technology, thanks to the tablet explosion and a shift toward “paperless” jobsites.
For years, architects and engineers have exchanged information digitally via advanced design software when they design buildings. However, it can be a different story in the field. That’s where iPads and other tablets, equipped with innovative construction-focused applications (apps), have started popping up.
|Contractors across the country are replacing construction documents with mobile apps.|
For example, at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport renovation project currently underway, iPads are taking the “print” out of blueprints, according to a local CBS affiliate.
The seven-year, $2.3 billion dollar renovation project involves 60,000 pages of blueprints and multiple copies, the report says.
However, at the site, construction workers are toting iPads with the virtual blueprint and other construction documents. They are taking photos of site locations and details, linking to points on the blueprint and further communicating with designers and each other, the report says.