Above: QuantifyAR: a full-fledged cost estimate for a construction project.
Recently I had the chance to beta test QuantifyAR, an iOS app that uses augmented reality to take on-site measurements for construction projects. It then translates them into quantity take-offs and cost estimates. QuantifyAR promises to take what would undoubtedly be some hours’ worth of work on a computer, and condenses it to an automated process that occurs—literally—in the palm of your hand while still at the job site.
You might think all of that sounds like a tall order, and it is. But with AR becoming more accessible to the masses (all the most recent iPhones come AR-capable) it’s likely that we’ll be seeing this type of technology slapped on just about everything. Since I’d just gotten a new phone I decided to give it a whirl and see what I could come up with.
QuantifyAR is set up to record quantities within a project with the phone’s native AR tools so you’re limited to whatever your phone is capable of. Even with my brand new iPhone 8-Plus I still observed some drift as I made my way around our office.
The measurements themselves are fairly accurate, though I found it easier to work with one measurement at a time rather than try to map out an entire room at once. The drift issue made me wary of any kind of perimeter measurement, though it’s worth mentioning that that’s more to do with the hardware you’re using than the app itself.
You can also import scale drawings to measure from, something I was pretty excited to try out. Using a sample floor plan, I was able to estimate part of the framing cost for the exterior wall of a new construction project. I created a cost template by specifying the cost per unit and number of studs per section of wall. I then applied that template to the measurement I took of the wall. To continue, I would just create a template for each remaining element of the project and assign them to the various measurements I take.
It’s easy to see how this can be a powerful tool for creating take-offs for a construction or remodel project, though it’s important to remember that the key word is “estimate”. What it does, however, is provide a convenient framework to carry into later stages of your project, saving time, money, and headaches.
What I like about QuantifyAR is that it’s simple enough to jump right in, but the format lets you add as much complexity as you want, like formulas in Excel. What differentiates it from using a spreadsheet is its visual AR component and portability to job sites.