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News & Press: 2013 News Items

PPC Builders App

Thursday, 08 August 2013  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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Netspot : PPC Builders App - read the first online review here!



PPC AppSome of you may have seen the full-page advert which PPC placed in today's newspapers to promote their Builders App?

So it was with great anticipation that I headed over to the Android Play Store to download it (also available from the iStore - just search for PPC Builders App)

I installed the application on a Samsung Tab 10.1 and my S3 phone without any difficulty.

On opening, the screen shows eight choices (see image on the left) with the following mini-apps to pick from:

Products - this lists all the PPC cement products and what they can be used for

FAQs & Resources - here you will find instructions on how to cure concrete in cold weather, what cement to use when you wish to build a braai, etc.

PPC Weather Watch - most probably the most handy tool in the PPC Apps arsenal, it shows the expected weather conditions for your location including the expected concrete temperature and the estimated evaporation rate and then indicates whether plastic shrinkage and cracking is likely to occur.

Product Calculators - Yechh!!! I suppose this may be handy for amateurs to play around with but as a tool it is really worthless. It can calculate material volumes and the material cost of cement based items such as concrete, mortar and plaster. The tool unfortunately uses sliders which I found impossible to accurately control on both the tablet and smartphone. This tool would have been a lot more useful if it worked with drop downs (to select the strength) and allowed one to input the required numbers. As it is, it's rather useless as you need to guess the strength with the slider and the price for stone maxes out at R150/m3.

- Where to Buy - Lists PPC Sales ofiices and stockists in your area. Only one retailer listed in my area and it is 20 Km away! Maybe PPC should use this to improve their market penetration!

Spirit & Surface Level - Neat little tool! Much better than the one I had on my mobile as it shows the degrees from horizontal so bye-bye to the spirit level app I previously used!

PPC Foundation - currently contains information on the competitions sponsored by PPC

Flashlight - The final mini-app is also a so-so. It uses the LED screen as the light source and can't switch to the camera flash light which is a much better source of light in really dark situations.

All-in-all a rather mixed bag of utilities. Some are really excellent and others may not be really useful to anyone in the building trade. PPC should however be praised for bringing this free app to the market place... a market place that is sorely lacking in any applications aimed at contractors and construction professionals.

Review by Bert van den Heever - 31 July 2013