QR Codes Part II: How Contractors Use Them

February 25, 2011

The landslide of available digital information applications is impacting the building industry in a significant way. Quick-response codes – QR codes as they are best known – are now becoming more common in the building industry. This includes building owners and developers, architects, engineers, municipalities and contractors. This three-part series will share information on QR codes, how municipalities are using them, how the building trades are using them, and how they are being used for marketing and outreach, similar to how social media works today.

Part II: How this technology is already being used in construction.

Writing about contractors using QR codes, Aaron Chusid provides some examples on how he uses them:

  • Linking to Technical Information.This is the use I am most excited about. Imagine you are on a job site, trying to figure out how to install some new product. Spotting a QR code, you pull out your phone, scan it, and – BOOM! – the installation instructions and data sheets pop up,” he writes.
  • Smart cell phones enable Internet access. Chusid notes that while contractors usually don’t have Internet access on the job site, most carry a phone with a camera – a benefit for things like inspections or when someone must compare the actual site to the plans. “Architects looking at the product sample sitting on their shelf can use it to get the guide specs in a single click,” he says.
  • Job-site Signage. A positive for manufacturers, sales representatives, and trades.
  • Emergency Contact Information. Using this technology, QR codes can auto-dial phone numbers, in addition to opening open web pages.
  • Photos. A QR code next to project photos allows ready access to project information.

QR codes are commonly used in Japan, where the technology was originally developed. Advocates believe the codes are now reaching critical mass in this country.

Google Images

Greg Tarrant, an enterprising Australian builder and QR code innovator, writes that he relies on mobile technologies like QR codes to work in the field.

Tarrant also provides this short and convincing video demonstration on using a mobile phone to understand running rafters:

Tarrant offers other practical uses on his website, including stringer calculations, plus information on siding, pulleys and belts.

Of interest, he offers this essential “how-to” information with links to contractors or individual builders concerning practical uses for mobiles:

  • Mark Out Running Measurements
    “Transfer a list of running measurements to your phone via QR Code, or use the Running Measurement Generator to create and display the list.”
  • Use the phone to Set a Bevel Gauge
    “Enter angles directly, or scan QR code on calculator page to display mobile page with angles drawn. Set your Bevel Gauge directly from the phone screen.”
  • Set Out Square
    “To Set Out Square, enter two side lengths to draw a diagram with correct diagonal length for square. Great for foundations.”
  • Rise in Run and Angle
    Convert between Rise in Run and Angle with clear diagram.”
  • Mark out Plumb Cuts
    “Enter angle and lumber depth to Measurements and display diagram.”
  • Calculate Concrete Volumes
    Calculate Concrete Volumes for multi sided concrete slabs with edge thickenings and internal foundations. Display detailed diagrams.”
  • Centers and Spacings
    Calculate Centers and Spacings in straight, curved or raking walls, balustrades etc.”

For those wanting to create a QR code that links to a website or mobile link, a good place to begin is Kaywa. At this site, a code can be generated.

Next, we will report on how QR codes are being used for marketing and social outreach.



Glenn Meyers

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.