5 Uses for QR Codes in Construction

QR code for www.buildingproductmarketing.com
I am giving a presentation today on QR Codes for the local AAF chapter. The question I get most, besides "What are QR Codes?", is "How can I use these in my industry?" With that in mind, we brainstormed a list of five ways QR codes could become useful in construction.

First, a word of explanation. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that are readable using smartphones or webcams. The essentially operate as a hyperlink that connects printed media to the digital world; scanning a QR code does the same thing as clicking on a link, and can provide most of the same functionality.

What does that mean? Here are five examples:
  1. Link 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. Contractors may not have internet access on job sites, but most carry a phone with a camera. Inspections could make use of this, comparing 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.
  2. Jobsite Signage: Many manufacturers have trouble figuring out how to display their company name and contact information on the job site. Complicating the matter, interested prospects may forget your name and phone number before they have a chance to call. Include a QR code on your signs, and they can instantly add your contact information to their phone book, open your website, or email a rep.
  3. Emergency Contact Information: QR codes can auto-dial phone numbers, open webpages, or send pre-written fill-in-the-blanks emails. This could earn them a place on HSW sheets, making it easier to quickly reach poison control or emergency services. Or maybe they are directed to someone in your company, so you are informed of the situation and can respond appropriately. For that matter, they could even link to video first aid guides.
  4. Project Information in Photos: Put a QR code on the page next to project photos, and readers can quickly access online information about the project. This could be a case study, real-time energy savings, or even a map with driving directions.
  5. Sales Literature and Business Cards: This last one is not construction-specific, but it is important. Like with job signs, putting a QR code on your printed sales collateral and business cards makes it much easier for people to contact you, and therefore more likely to actually call you instead of just dropping your card in the trash.

QR codes are huge in Japan, and are just now reaching critical density in the US. Relatively new organizations like Semapedia.org encourage readers to "Hyperlink your world!" As adoption spreads, I anticipate many innovative uses within our industry.

How would you use QR codes in construction? Tell us in the comments.