According to Neilson 1 out of every 2 Americans will own a smart phone by Christmas 2011. That’s 150 million people. The smart phone offers nearly endless uses and Application developers have created a tool or app for just about everything. The construction industry has not been neglected.

The cell phone is a staple for any builder, but some builders and contractors are slow to adapt to smart phones. The need for a smart phone can only be ignored for just so long. Some of the applications available to the modern builder will be, or already are, as valuable as a tape measure or hammer. We’ve tested a few of these tools our self while other have been recommended by customers and builders. Here are just samplings of a few that demonstrate the power of the smart phone for the modern builder.

  • iHandy Carpenter is a beautiful and simple to use application. But there is power in it’s ease of use. The application offers 5 tools in one ($1.99): a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level bar, steel ruler and a steel protractor. There is also a free version of the standalone Bubble level. The levels require a simple calibration setup prior to usage and one should be mindful that this is not a deadly accurate tool, but it will do great for spot checks. I installed the free app on my Android phone and used it to level and hang curtain rods, picture frames, etc and was very impressed with the tool.  Available for iPhone and Android.
  • I.D. Wood is a pocket guide to exotic woods. This handy little  app has full screen samples and information for almost 160 different woods from around the world. It turns your smartphone into a virtual guidebook. So if you are meeting with a client and discussing chooses of hardwoods you can show them a sample, reference it’s hardness, typical uses, origin, durability and sustainability. A valuable tool for woodworkers, cabinet makers, architects, designers and carpenters. Available for iPhone and Android $4.99
  • Carpenter’s Helper Pro is a custom calculator for carpenters. The calculator offers functions for stair framing, roof coverage, and lumber takeoffs. Works just as well as a standard construction calculator and you can condense two electronic devices into one. A free basic version is also available. Available for iPhone $14.99

Do you have a favorite construction app? Please share it with us here or join the conversation on Facebook.