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Construction Inspection

A Comprehensive Construction Inspection Software Features Checklist

June 28, 2024

Construction inspection software that supports field data collection has become nearly ubiquitous on infrastructure job sites across the country. This is a good thing, because of the much-discussed benefits of digital project delivery, but it is also a challenging thing because it means engineering firms and agencies have a lot more choices when vetting different software options. And with many choices comes the possibility of making the wrong choice.

When I was a kid and would go shopping with my parents, my favorite thing was ticking down the boxes of a shopping list as I went on mini-quests to fetch various items like a gallon of milk or a box of Fruit By The Foot, a staple snack in our school lunches. These days, I will often go shopping without a grocery list and come back from the store with a hodgepodge of items that were on sale but can not be combined into any sort of reasonable or nutritious meal. My current approach to feeding myself is not one that firms and agencies should take when deciding how to support the inspection process on a million-dollar project.

As such, we’ve prepared the software version of a grocery list - a list of features that you should consider must-haves when you’re vetting construction inspection software options. So grab a Fruit By The Foot, kick back, and see if your potential software choices check the necessary boxes for digital inspection success.

Offline data capture

Offline data capture is the number one feature you should look for when you’re researching construction inspection software options. Ever needed to download an app to unlock a rental car when you’re out of cell data? It’s not a fun time. Whether you don’t have cell data or are out on a remote job site where it’s not even available, your construction inspection software should function without it.

A good inspection app will capture the data offline, store it temporarily, and then sync it back to a database when you’re at the field office or a truck with a hotspot. More on that syncing in the next section.

CMS syncing

The whole point of conducting inspections with mobile devices and tablets instead of paper field books is to support digital project delivery - so it doesn’t make much sense if the data stops on your phone. Your construction inspection software should seamlessly sync with your construction management system, bringing field data into a larger database of daily reports, change orders, pay estimates, material certifications, etc. This process will give you the accurate as-built data upon which successful digital project delivery is built.

Configurable daily report templates

Most daily reports are pretty standard - you have your measurements, weather conditions, temperature, additional remarks, etc. But if the agency has specific data they want you to capture - for example, a specific field for Rebar QC Inspection or something similar - you should be able to manipulate the daily report template to your liking. Many construction inspection applications will offer a drag-and-drop report builder so you can ensure you’re capturing everything you need out in the field.

Multimedia attachments

We often say that a “picture is worth a thousand field notes,” as images and video can provide invaluable context to a daily report. Some construction inspection software will only support photos, while others will allow video and audio as well. Our view is that the more multimedia attachments, the better. And since those multimedia files will be attached to a daily report, they should also be searchable in the event of an audit or a contractor dispute. It’s a lot easier to resolve an argument when you have clear photo evidence instead of merely notes.

Rover integrations

Rovers that precisely measure grade/elevation and provide a digital representation of a job site are leading the next wave of digital inspection technology. Even if your operation isn’t currently leveraging rovers - they’re pricey pieces of equipment - it’s a good idea to adopt construction inspection software that’s future-flexible.

A combination of rovers and mobile devices can eliminate much of the error-riddled manual process of field data collection to provide highly accurate geospatial data measurements. As we mentioned earlier, accurate source data is the foundation of successful digital project delivery - your process is only as good as the data you put into it.

GIS integrations

Similar to rover integrations, an integration with a GIS platform like Esri ArcGIS Field Maps is something you’ll want to look for even if your team isn’t using the technology just yet. Connecting your as-built field data to real-time, spatial visualizations can provide a host of benefits, including improved collaboration and data-sharing with other departments, better response time when issues arise, and a seamless handoff of data between construction departments and GIS departments.

Customer support and resources

We’re cheating a little bit here because good customer support isn’t necessarily a feature of construction inspection software, it’s more like a bonus. But going back to our grocery store metaphor, are you more likely to go to the grocery store where the staff is helpful and shopping is a pleasure (shoutout Publix), or the one where employees seem to disappear into the walls and don’t look up from their phones? A reliable customer support line with real humans to answer the phone can be a massive time saver and stress eliminator when you need to resolve an issue quickly.

You’ll also want to vet the training resources that are available to you before you adopt a construction inspection software, as that will help give you a sense of how easy it will be to find an answer to a specific question or onboard and train new inspectors to use the software.

Want something that checks all of these boxes?

Good news - you don’t have to look far to find construction inspection software that ticks every box on this checklist. Infotech is the developer of Appia and Mobile Inspector. The former is a full construction management system, integrated with Esri, Trimble, and Leica, that also supports mobile data collection on mobile devices and tablets. Mobile Inspector is a free web application that allows inspectors to capture field data offline and sync it back with Appia and AASHTOWare Project™ to streamline daily reporting on infrastructure projects.

If you have questions or would like to see a demo of either construction inspection software solution, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Nate Binder
Digital Marketing Manager
A proud graduate of Florida State University, Nate works with subject matter experts and sales professionals to produce targeted marketing collateral.