Construction Apps Detect the Environment

April 26, 2012

Apps can be fun. But sometimes they can also serve a business purpose. In the world of construction where devices like smartphones and tablets continue to permeate the jobsite, having useful apps that help site personnel perform mission-critical tasks can be imperative for success.

Using built-in GPS chips and accelerometers within smartphones, app developers are coming up with new and unique ways to lend a helping hand. In some case, such functionality can be live saving.

Take Cell-All, for example. This is an initiative spearheaded by the Dept. of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, www.dhs.gov, Washington, D.C., with an aim to equip cellphones with personal-safety sensors capable of detecting deadly chemicals and sending warnings when appropriate. The company is focusing on detecting airborne chemicals a person could encounter. This includes common substances, such as carbon monoxide and anhydrous ammonia, to more deadly substances, such as sarin gas.

Looking specifically at the construction jobsite, one of the latest is the PsycIt app for iPhone and BlackBerry. It comes from Polygon, www.polygongroup.us, North Andover, Mass., a global provider of property damage restoration, temporary humidity control and property performance services, a billed as a valuable time-saving tool for site managers, quantity surveyors, architects, and technicians.

The app can help assess psychometric calculations, including wet and dry bulb, vapor pressure, enthalpy, relative humidity, dew point, and humidity ratio. By being able to calculate the amount of relative humidity on site, construction professionals will be able to compute the time needed to efficiently dry an area for inspection.

By replacing a manual psychometric chart that some use in the field, the app is capable of calculating complex air-moisture combinations. 

"For the construction industry, delays in completing building projects lead to financial penalties, a loss of reputation and, ultimately, a loss of business in the long term. That's why 'PsycIt' is an extremely valuable tool," said Alex Kiffen, vice president of sales and marketing at Polygon. "It quickly delivers a precise calculation of the climatic conditions so the user can be confident of the accuracy of the measurements and determine if they are keeping their building dry."