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Construction Blueprints Go Digital With iPad

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jeff Ray
Jeff joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 in December 2010. He came to North T...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - If you have ever been on a construction site, then you have most likely seen a set of blueprints. That is unless you have been on a job site in the past year. Workers making renovations at DFW International Airport have a new tool. Instead of taking out a huge roll of paper blueprints, they grab an Apple iPad.

There is nothing particularly special about this device. It’s a standard-issue, off-the-shelf iPad like many North Texans carry every day. But the iPad has now taken the ‘print’ out of blueprints. They have all gone digital, changing the construction industry practically overnight.

The $2.3 billion airport project is expected to take seven years. In that time, workers would need 60,000 pages of blueprints. “You’d have multiple copies of this,” said contractor Jeff Pistor, slapping a thick roll of paper representing just one job at the airport. “We’d have to have one here in the trailer. You’d have to have multiples out there on the job site.”

Now, there’s an app for that. Workers carry every blueprint with them, at all times, no matter where they are on the job site. They can even take and link photographs to exact spots on the virtual blueprints. Meetings are no longer held in a trailer. They are conducted on-site, and everyone can stay on the same page.

The new technology was met with practically no resistance. “It’s their toolset, no different than that hammer, that phone,” Pistor said about the iPad device. “When they go out, that goes with them.”

The savings are literally on paper. Where $1.2 million would have been spent on printing and updating paper blueprints for the airport job, the iPad has cut that cost by more than $1 million. “I got about $60,000 in it,” said Pistor.

Those in the printing business are now suddenly left feeling blue.

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