As the construction industry evolves, so too must the tools with which engineers and contractors do business. Plenty of companies have developed their own apps that do everything from managing project data to calculating cost-per-square-foot of concrete. Texas-based SpawGlass has joined the mix after seeing the need for an app with a broader scope.

Earlier this year, SpawGlass launched its Targeted Estimating Database iPad app, which helps with the development of a realistic budget for commercial construction projects by offering real-time, cost-per-square-foot pricing using the average historical costs of past projects, historical construction cost indices and updated information. The app includes cost information for approximately 400 projects that SpawGlass has done back to 2000.

The app allows users to reference estimates for 49 pre-defined divisions to similar projects for comparison, according to the company.

Many of the apps on the market for the construction business today focus more on various specification divisions rather than all aspects of a complete project, explains Bryan Kent, senior project manager at SpawGlass.

“But we really wanted something that would utilize historical costs that SpawGlass has for past projects to help better respond to owners and architects to help justify where the different costs lie in different types of buildings,” he says.

According to Kent, the idea developed out of a project he worked on as part of a SpawGlass continuing education program, leading to further talk about the potential of an app in May 2011.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of need for it more as a conceptual estimating kind of tool. When you get things from different developers or owners and you’re trying to get rough order of magnitude cost, it’s a very useful tool in helping give an educated idea of what things may actually cost and it gives them feedback that they can actually look at past projects,” Kent says.

With the help of Austin, Texas-based Brilliant Solutions, SpawGlass completed the app in January this year. An update is on the way as well, which will make the app easier to update, enable it to track a couple more things like specific cost per square foot, cost per unit as well as some searchable features within the database, Kent says.

“Usually the first question a client will ask when they want to build something is well, how much is it going to cost. That’s usually the driving factor, even before they really know what they want to build. So this app kind of helps fill in the blanks – if you were going to use an algebraic equation and X + Y = Z, this gives you the X and Y so that you can give them the Z,” says Joel Stone, chief executive officer of SpawGlass. “This will give you the low cost, the high cost and the medium range. So it gives them some kind of a benchmark, something to compare [their own project] to.”