Customizable Calendar APIs for Construction Scheduling Software

Build time-saving construction scheduling software quickly.

Tasia Potasinski | July 28, 2021

Every construction project consists of hundreds of thousands of scheduling challenges. From managing deadlines for bids, keeping track of equipment and supplies deliveries, scheduling on-site walk throughs, and tracking milestones, to the back and forth emails to find a time that works for all parties, and the follow up phone calls to confirm – it all sucks up valuable time and money. This makes intuitive and flexible construction scheduling software essential to the success of your users’ projects. Let’s first take a look at a few of the challenges the software must address.

The Challenge for Construction Projects 

Your construction scheduling software needs to orchestrate site phasing over the periods of many months, possibly longer, depending on the size of the project. How to keep track of managing municipal inspections? How do your users ensure that when the electrician is on the site, the plumber doesn’t show up on the same day to do his work? These scheduling mistakes not only cost the tradesmen time, but rescheduling causes budgets to balloon. 

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Large construction projects typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80 percent over budget. For that matter, how do your users enable these trades to keep tabs on each other’s schedule without having to go through one person coordinating communication? Having a single point person for scheduling can result in a bottleneck, and with so many moving parts, it’s easy for scheduling communication to fall apart without the right tools.

Studies show that ineffective communications is the primary contributor to construction project failure one third of the time, and has a negative impact on project success more than half the time. Intuitive and flexible construction scheduling software is vital in order to successfully complete the project. 

From our extensive experience building scheduling APIs, we’ve encountered numbers technical challenges of building scheduling software, including:

  • Calendar Connectivity – Figuring out secure authentication for real-time bi-directional sync for every calendar provider in the world; automatically identifying primary calendars for booking, and incorporating different defaults for each provider.
  • Recurring Events – Complex protocols differ from provider to provider; navigating one- off changes and timezone transitions.
  • Availability Logic – Getting to the bottom of pre-fetching and caching availability of participants to be resilient to downtime and latency spikes and using provider webhooks and event streams to keep caches up-to-date.
  • Time Zone Support – Deducting time zone information given a complex array of data from the provider and normalizing for time zones across hemispheres.
  • Event Reminders – Accounting for the many common vagaries of scheduling; everything from language consistency to making sure the guest is notified if the meeting has been cancelled even if they haven’t already declined.
  • Building Scheduling UI –  Sussing out all the edge cases your users may run into and making sure each workflow is intuitively designed.
  • Race Conditions – Implementing instant synchronization so that users don’t get double booked when two people try to book the same slot simultaneously. At the same time, making sure that the solution doesn’t impact sync speed.

Build Construction Scheduling Software in a Fraction of the Time

The Nylas Calendar API empowers you to connect your application to every calendar provider with one secure, fast API integration, allowing your users to easily access project-level calendars to find a time that works for everyone. Your user’s general contractor never has to worry about your electrician and plumber showing up at the same time again. The Nylas API’s powerful real-time, bi-directional sync and full calendar CRUD means that as soon as an appointment slot is booked, the user’s calendar and your application are automatically updated. 

Text Reminders Prevent Costly Delays

With the events endpoint, you can also send text reminders so your users never miss an on-site meeting.  While emails are vital in keeping track of all the pertinent information about meetings, deadlines, and details of the project, a single, timely text message can help ensure that meetings aren’t forgotten. Nylas’ events endpoint allows you to seamlessly create events and omni-channel reminders for upcoming meetings via SMS so that your construction scheduling software can easily remind the general contractor the night before he has to meet the Department of Buildings inspector on-site. This single API request not only simplifies a tedious business process, it also helps prevent costly delays in construction projects due to rescheduling .  

The Nylas Calendar API also offers a multitude of powerful features for your construction scheduling software that allow you to customize and scale your application as desired.

Assign Each Construction Site Its Own Virtual Calendar

Virtual Calendars  allow users without third-party providers (like Google, Exchange, or Office 365) to still access scheduling functionality. This means that users can even assign each construction site location its own virtual calendar. This enables general contractors to keep track of all the comings and goings on the construction project’s site. In addition, this solves your challenge of users needing to share availability, schedule events, or manage resources with each other, without exposing personal calendar information.

Another advantage to virtual calendars is the overview it provides. Builders often have multiple construction projects underway simultaneously, and by assigning each building its own calendar, users can easily see in one glance what is happening across multiple locations, whether it’s seeing which equipment is being dropped off where, or which site has inspections on what days. 

You can create a new Virtual Calendar in a process that mimics creating secondary calendars for third-party calendar accounts with a POST request:

curl --location --request POST 'https://api.nylas.com/calendars' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer ACCESS_TOKEN' \
--data-raw '{
       "name":"Construction at 189 Frost Ave",
       "description":"Keep track of when tradesmen are on-site and all  
 inspections” ,
       "location":"Brooklyn, NY",
       "timezone":"Brooklyn, NY"
}'

Customizable Calendars In-App with the Nylas Scheduler

Alternatively, the Nylas API also provides the  Nylas Scheduler, which lets you quickly easily embed front-end scheduling UI elements, along with leveraging the back-end sync engine. Your users’ third-party provider calendar is bi-directionally synced with your application in real-time so that all information is up-to-date.  

Summary

Selecting a customizable, scalable API for your construction scheduling software empowers your users to forecast and manage projects and costs with confidence. Providing a solution that links opportunities and schedules, all without leaving your application, boosts your user retention, satisfaction, and bottom line. Learn how the Nylas Calendar API can help you provide full scheduling functionality for your construction scheduling software today. Sign up and try the API for free today, or schedule time to speak to a platform specialist now.

Tasia Potasinski

Tasia is the Director of Product Marketing at Nylas. She's passionate about communications and helping connect the world through APIs. In her free time, she writes and produces music.