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How To Turn Your Construction Forms Into Mobile Apps

A paperless construction firm is a possibility. In this post, we’re looking at how to turn your paper forms into fully functional mobile apps. All without touching a lick of code. 

This can all seem intimidating, but don’t let fear win. As you read this blog post, you’ll realize that it’s easier than you think. You’ll also know exactly what needs to go into a project like this. 

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in. 💪

Anyone Can Do This

Throughout this post, we’ll be talking specifically about Appenate. Make no mistake, Appenate is not a quick and easy platform to learn. Simplifying such a platform wouldn’t do it justice – you’ll soon find that as your form requirements grow more complex, you’ll need the power that comes with a more advanced bit of software.

That said, Appenate is a no-code drag-and-drop app builder. We’ve seen many get used to it in just a few weeks – plus, you get free training for life with us. So if you’re ever in need of additional platform knowledge, our training team is ready to help. 

As for the mobile app, it’s dead simple to use. If your employees have ever opened an app on their phone, they can probably use Appenate. Some swear it’s easier to use than paper forms, and everyone agrees that mobile apps are far less hassle. 

Now that we’ve established that you can do this, let’s get into the how. 

How It Works

Ready to learn exactly how those grimy paper forms become shiny mobile apps? 

We’ve split the process into 5 easy steps for ease of navigation. Let’s take a look. 

Step 1: Identify Core Form

The first thing you’ll want to do is identify a candidate for your first form. Why just one? The thing is, if you try to get all your forms ported into apps at the same time, the process will quickly become unmanageable, and your teams will lose heart. 

This quickly leads to a full abandonment of the process. To prevent this, we’ll pick just one form to get us started. 

Try to find a form your teams use every day. Pre-inspection forms are popular, as are any forms that have to do with safety. 

Step 2: Create A Build

When you sign up with Appenate, you’ll get complimentary assistance building your first form. Simply bring along your form or send a copy to your assigned contact at Appenate, and they’ll help you get started. 

Let’s say you don’t want to speak to anyone, however. How would this step look for you? 

That’s where our Knowledgebase comes in. It’s filled with short and to-the-point articles geared towards giving you a head start. You’ll find everything you need to know there, and when new features emerge, guides are quickly created to help you stay comfortable with the platform. Anyway, here’s what you’ll do.

Grab a copy of your form and log onto Appenate. Head to your screens page, and click on “add new.” Give it a name, and you’re ready to start building your first app while keeping the Knowledgebase handy.

Appenate has 9 basic and 14 advanced fields that help you create virtually any form in existence. Simply drag the field you need onto the form, and edit the text and other details as needed (in the window on the right-hand side of the page).

Example of Appenate's drag and drop function

Follow along with your copy of the form, hit ‘Publish’ when you’re done and test it out on our mobile app. 

It’s simple enough to understand – but don’t underestimate this process and never hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any help. 😉

Step 3: Track Progress

Once your app is out there, let your chosen team test it in the field. Ensure your employees track how much time it’s taking them, so you can measure up against the old way of doing things. 

Also, keep these points in mind… 

  • The effect on data visibility and ease of access
  • Travel time (no more transporting paper)
  • Ease of use in the field (time per task saved)
  • Reduction in misplaced forms? (it’s hard to misplace a digital form!)
  • Etc.

You’ll find that, 99% of the time, all of the above is improved with a mobile app when compared to a traditional (and outdated) paper form. 

Another thing to remember (and track) is the cost of Appenate vs. your printing costs. Most of the time, the first return on your investment occurs here. Printing is only getting more expensive. 

Step 4: Optimise The Process

Once you’ve collected some data, you’ll want to optimise your new mobile app. Collect feedback from your team and use it to improve things even more. If they need a way to capture signatures, add a signature capture field. There’s also a photo capture field, NFC fields, and a host more that could be useful for various forms. 

Repeat this step as often as necessary to get your app running smoothly. Once you’re done, it’s time for the final step (which ironically takes you back to step 1). 

Step 5: Rinse And Repeat

Construction workers use devices to complete their work

Once your first app runs well, move on to the next one. For a successful digital transformation, treat each app as its own project. 

The surest way to stay on paper forever is to try to change all of your apps at once. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll have a paperless construction company before you know it. Your processes will run smoother, communication with subcontractors will be easier, and all your safety and compliance data will be stored securely on the cloud come audit time. 

Best of all? Your bottom line will improve without laying off employees or raising your prices. 

Get Started For Free

Example of an Appenate Construction Daily Report

Getting started with Appenate is completely free. We don’t even ask for credit card details. 

Simply sign up here and enjoy your free trial. 

What’s more, we’re running a special offer in which you can get 90 days of Appenate for just $90. That’s $30 a month for 15 users (less than some of our competitors charge for just one user per month).

If you’re happy after your trial, ask about our 90 for 90 deal. It’s a great way to blast off your digital transformation at a minimum cost to you. 

Thank you for reading, and all the best in your journey to a paperless construction company.