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Apps. & Tech.

OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety App.

HeatIndexApp_phoneWe can’t quite tell yet when the cool-down is coming or if the heat-waves will continue for months.

Thankfully, OSHA and NIOSH have partnered up to create the “OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool” to keep team members safe nationwide.

This app will help you plan out your days and jobs to know what temperature it will be outside and better yet, what it will feel like temperature wise.

Not only can it forecast out by location, it also will give you occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH. As a bonus, you’ll be able to access information on signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and get first aid tips right from the palm of your hand!

Download the app to your smartphone today by clicking one of the buttons below or for more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatapp.html.

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Technology Is Bridging the Gap

Between the pre-plan stage and the final product, there are a lot of steps. Technology is helping to bridge the gap between design and construction to make the end result more efficient, cheaper, and better all around.

According to experts, using some semblance of digital tools on the job boosts productively 50-60% on average. Technology is allowing the contractor to have input earlier on in the process which cuts down on the time during the build.

Another tool that cuts down on waste is laser scanners. These can not only garner exact measurements, but also help to create 3D models of the projects for review. Combining these models with drone footage, the engineers, builders, and owners can all see a clear picture for the project as a whole.

We’re excited to see new innovations helping to make the job safer and better for all parties. What tech-based projects are you excited to see? Let us know in the comments below.

New Construction Apps That Work!

Think about it, you always have your phone within arm’s reach of you. Why not add it to your tool bag and have it help you get the job done quicker, more efficient, and cheaper?

Studies have shown that four out of five workers are using some type of mobile technology in their day-to-day work on the jobsite. Whether you’re trying to go paperless, share documents across the company, or just looking to make a process earlier, we’re here to help!

Up first are two apps, SafetyCulture and Canvas. These apps help to reduce the paper you need and bring your paperwork online. Whether you’re looking to report an accident, complete OSHA reporting, inspect your jobsite safety, or complete a field safety audit, these two apps are here to help!

If you have a fleet of truck, you need a way of tracking the team. GPSTrackIt allows you to see where your equipment is at all times. If you’re leaving tools on a jobsite overnight, this app allows you to set alerts for different times. So if an excavator shouldn’t be on after 6PM and it all of a sudden powers on, you’ll know about it.

If you’re looking for a way to cut costs, make sure you have GasBuddy installed on your phone. Whether you’re filling up in your neighborhood or travelling for work, you can always find the best gas prices around you with just a tap of your finger.

For companies with employees using timesheets, Timesheet Mobile is here to help. The app is GPS-enabled and allows workers to “clock-in” directly from the jobsite. This cuts down on inaccurate start times and could save a company thousands while also increasing jobsite efficiency.

Another option to note for timesheets is StreetSmart which also tracks timekeeping with GPS. Taking things one step further, the app tracks mileage reimbursements automatically from the employee’s phone.

We’ve mentioned some these two in the past, but they’re worth mentioning again as they were specifically created to help you manage each project you’re working on. We’d suggest taking a look at FieldLens and PlanGrid. You can see our previous reviews by clicking HERE and HERE respectively.

Understanding the FAA’s Stance on Drones

 

droneIn 2016 we saw the use of drones grow substantially throughout our industry. In turn, we also saw the growth of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulations on the use of commercial and recreational drones. We’re here to clear up a few questions we’ve heard from our customers.

Initially, the FAA had over 3,300 drone pilots sign up for their testing slots. The number of licensed private pilots is 171,000. The FAA is expecting the number of licensed drone operators to grow beyond that in 2017. Keep in mind, if you’re flying a drone for fun, you do not have to apply for an operator’s license, but you still have to follow the FAA safety guidelines. To find out more on the “Fly for Fun” guidelines, please visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_fun/.

When the rules were first put into place, drones could be used on a case-by-case basis for commercial jobs. No longer is this the case. Now, rather than seeking the FAA’s permission each time, there are formal guidelines in place for all flights.

02.2016 DroneThe newest rules put in place require drones to:

  • Weigh under 55 pounds (including weight of packages)
  • Have anti-collision lights
  • Fly under 400 feet
  • Fly slower than 100mph

Drone operators must:

  • Perform safety checks before each flight
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Pass a written aeronautical knowledge test every two years at an FAA-approved facility
  • Pass a background check

Within the construction industry, a lot of exemptions were made for FAA-approved drone flights. In total, close to 40% of the exemptions made in 2016 were related to construction and infrastructure industries.

Builders, real estate agents, surveyors, and more are looking to cut costs and increase property knowledge by taking to the sky. So long as you follow the rules, flights can be both safe and successful.

Still to come are rules on keeping the drone in your line of sight during use and flyover statutes. As we hear more on these regulations, we’ll be sure to share them with you here. For more information on the FAA’s drone guidelines, visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

Find The Perfect Pitch From Your Pocket

03.2016 PitchGaugeHave you ever wanted to calculate the square footage of your roof without having to get out the ladder? Now you can with just a few taps on your screen!

Whether you’re a roofer, carpenter, engineer, contractor, insurance adjuster, firefighter, or a DIY warrior, “Pitch Gauge” is an app that’s ready to help!

It allows you to find the pitch of a roof from the safety of the ground, using the camera feature on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, or Blackberry device. You can also input a few numbers to determine how many “squares” your roof is.

Pitch Gauge is FREE too! Check it out in your app store or at PitchGauge.com.

 

Drones: Necessity or Nuisance?

02.2016 DroneThe use of drones started as a way to catch epic action shots. Today, the same drones are being used to revolutionize the building industry, but are they more risk than reward?

With last year’s passing of new recreational drones flight laws, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is turning its focus to regulating commercial drone usage. In the coming months, once regulations are passed, there should be more information on how you can use drones on your jobsite.

On the jobsite, these remote-controlled drones are able to maximize efficiency and productivity. Users are able to spot safety issues, inspect rooftops, see the jobsite as a whole, and more, all from their phone or tablet. While this does cut down on time spent surveying, it still comes with its own set of risks.

For example, should the operator lose control of the drone or fly it out of range, the drone could drift off or drop completely, hitting anything under it at the time. In addition, these can be flown into power lines, aircrafts, people, or buildings if not careful. Also, most commercial drones are not equipped with the security systems needed to prevent cyber-hacks. Anything that happens during your drone’s flight is your responsibility.

While drone usage is an exciting option for the construction industry that is bound to increase overall productivity, it’s important to keep the inherent risks in mind. For more information, visit www.faa.gov.

 

Stay Connect With FieldLens!

11.15 FieldLensWe’ve found another app that we knew we had to share with you! FieldLens is a FREE app for Android and Apple devices. Now, you can collaborate in the moment from any location, while updating your other contractors on the progress. Through photos, videos, voice notes, and text, you can capture issues and/or give updates to the team. With the app, you are able to mark up one set of plans that the entire team on the project can review at anytime from anywhere.

In addition the app creates reports automatically while also maintaining a punch list of what has been completed and what has not. Take the guesswork out of your next project and check out FieldLens today.

Visit http://fieldlens.com/ to get started!

11.15 FieldLens5 11.15 FieldLens2 11.15 FieldLens1 11.15 FieldLens3 11.15 FieldLens4

Bluetooth Batteries

10.15 DeWALT Bluetooth Batteries

Times are changing in the power tool world. We’ve heard from our sources that a few of your favorite brands are exploring complete technology integration when it comes to your tools.

Just last month, DeWALT announced its addition of Bluetooth technology into a new line of premium 20V 2.0 Amp and 4.0 Amp lithium-ion batteries.

Now you can pair your batteries with a free app on your Apple or Android device. With this, you can greater control over your tools and control them from your pocket.

After the initial setup, which only takes a few seconds, you can pair your new batteries with your phone or tablet. This allows you to check the charge level and power on or off a battery with the touch of a screen.

So why does this matter? For starters, you can keep an eye on where your tools are, have an up-to-date inventory, and know when it is time to charge your battery or replace it. On a larger scale, this new design should cut down on tool theft. Batteries are of no use to someone once you’ve shut down the power.  In addition, you can increase the overall battery life and conserve power by shutting down all batteries at the end of the day.

With the various alerts, you should know when your batteries need to be charged, are finished charging, and if your battery has left a job site. Check back with our stores in the coming months to see when we have the new batteries in stock.

Plan Ahead With PlanGrid In Your Pocket

PlanGrid App logo 02.15Have you ever been out in the field and realized you left your project blueprints or specs back at the office? So what do you do? You only have two options, right? You can drive back to get them or have someone send a copy over to you through your email.

Well, we’ve found a third option for you. Get ready for a game changer!

PlanGrid is a free app for your iPhone or iPad, which not only lets you view your plans, photos, and specs, but it instantly saves and updates your team.

Let’s say you are at a jobsite and you see an extra outlet that wasn’t accounted for originally. So, you update your specs and now your markups can be shared with anyone on the project. In seconds, everyone involved has an update regarding the progress.

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If you are ready to put the days of lugging around aper blueprints behind you, download PlanGrid today! Visit the App Store or scan the QR code below.

PlanGrid App QR Code 02.15

 

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