Professionals across many industries — utility, engineering, and construction, especially — are giving up their antiquated pen-and-paper processes and switching to mobile forms, and for good reason:
Taking inspection forms that have been filled out in the field and manually entering them into a computer is a slow and cumbersome process that takes otherwise productive hours out of the workday.
With mobile forms, the information is entered just once on-site and gets synced to the cloud, where it is immediately available to clients and stakeholders.
Even better? Switching to mobile forms is easy! With Fulcrum, you can create a custom mobile inspection app in 15 minutes or less. In this post, we’ll show you how.
If you don’t already have a Fulcrum account, you can create one and start your FREE trial here.
Build an inspection app from a template
Fulcrum has a gallery of mobile app templates on our website that you can download to your account and modify to accommodate your processes. Starting here is a good way to see how other people have built their apps and get ideas for your own.
To start with a pre-built app:
Step 1: From your Fulcrum account overview on your desktop computer, click the green + New App button in the upper right.
Step 2: Click Choose a template from the App Gallery.
Step 3: Once you’re in the app gallery, you can browse the categories or use the search box to find a specific app.
Step 4: When you find the one you want, click the yellow App Details button, then the Add This App to (account) button. The app will be added to your account and open automatically.
Step 5: Make any changes you wish to the app, then hit Save and Exit.
Build your own custom app
Creating your own app from scratch is almost just as easy, and allows you to build exactly the app you want from the ground up. Here’s how to build a simple building inspection app:
Step 1: Click + New App, which takes you to the app builder.
Step 2: In the Settings menu on the right, give your app a name and a description.
Step 3: To build your app, simply drag the form fields you need from the list on the left into the canvas in the center.
Start by dragging four Section fields onto the canvas. You can name the sections as you pull them in, or by clicking within each bar once they’re on the canvas. We’ll name the sections “General information,” “Electrical system,” “HVAC system,” and “Plumbing system.”
Be sure to hit Save and Continue every now and then while building your app so you don’t lose your work.
Step 4: Now let’s add fields to the “General information” section. This section will capture some of the basic information about the exterior of the building. Drag a Text field into the canvas area, dropping it within the “General information” section, and label it “Address.”
Next, add three Yes/No fields, a Photos field, and another Text field to the section. Label them “Vegetation manicured?”, “Accessible to emergency vehicles?”, “Vandalism present?”, “Exterior photos” and “General comments.” (A comments field gives the inspector a place to make extraneous notes or collect any other data that doesn’t fall within the designated fields.)
Your app should look like this so far:
Step 5: Next, let’s add fields to the “Electrical system” section: three Yes/No fields, a Photos field, and a Text field. Label them “Electrical panels secured?”, “GFI circuits present where necessary?”, “All electrical outlets and switches functioning?”, “Electrical photos” and “Electrical system comments.”
Step 6: Add three Yes/No fields, a Photos field, and a Text field to the “HVAC system” section. Label them “Furnace present?”, “Damage present to vents or inlets?”, “Damage to accessible ductwork?”, “HVAC photos” and “HVAC system comments.”
Step 7: Drag a Single Choice field into the “Plumbing system” section. In the “Choices” field, enter “Gas,” “Electric,” and “Solar.”
Next, add two Yes/No fields, a Photos field, and a Text field to the “Plumbing system” section. Label them “Water damage present on walls/ceiling?”, “Leaking connections?”, “Plumbing photos” and “Plumbing system comments.”
Step 8: Click Save and Exit.
Ta-da! Your mobile inspection app is complete!
Remember: You can always go back into your apps to make changes, and you can build as many apps within your Fulcrum account as you like — there is no limit.
Ready to get out in the field? Find tips and best practices for conducting inspections and other data-collection projects in our Guide to Field Data Collection!