Sending Paper Drawings Is Old School
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on March 13, 2017 | 3100 views
Bluebeam Revu 2017 screenshot. (Image courtesy of Bluebeam.)
Bluebeam Revu 2017 screenshot. (Image courtesy of Bluebeam.)

When CAD was starting to catch on, if you wanted to collaborate with others on a project, you made reproductions of your drawings on a diazo or blue-line machine. In this process, copies were made of your originals that were typically on translucent paper such as velum, with a chemical process using ammonia and ultraviolet light. After that time-consuming process was complete, reproductions were given to the appropriate team members, trades, and stakeholders for review and markup. Revisions or corrections would then be made to the CAD file, and markups would be highlighted, signifying that they were complete, and the process would repeat until the final as-built documents were submitted and approved. While the next evolution of reproduction, which included large-format scanners and copiers, was much quicker and much-less noxious, there was still a lot of time and paper involved in communicating project progress, requested changes, and revisions. While we still occasionally print documents in our office to markup and highlight revisions as we go, we are slowly moving towards much more paperless solutions.

The next evolution in the markup and collaboration workflow came with the advent of the PDF file. One of the pioneers in that new workflow was Bluebeam. In 2002, Bluebeam brought tools for creating, editing, marking up, collaborating, and sharing PDF documents to the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Today, its flagship product, Bluebeam Revu, is used by over 1 million people throughout the world. Headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., Bluebeam also has an office in Sweden and customers in 130 countries, and in 2014, the company joined the German firm Nemetschek, known for its Allplan software and Graphisoft and Vectorworks divisions.

Bluebeam not only understands how the AEC industry has evolved in regards to creating, editing, marking up, collaborating, and sharing project data, it also understand that workflow is still evolving. On March 17, 2017, Bluebeam announced the release of Revu 2017, meant to deliver new and enhanced workflow automation tools that span the entire project lifecycle and maximize workflow efficiency. “With each iteration of Revu, our goal is to address the evolving workflow needs of our customers and to produce a more integrated and powerful end-to-end solution,” said Don Jacob, Bluebeam CTO and interim CEO. “Revu 2017 accomplishes this by delivering a new suite of takeoff and automation tools that remove repetitive and time-consuming tasks while further optimizing collaboration and workflow efficiency. As a result, technical professionals will gain a competitive advantage by producing better bids and higher-quality project deliverables."

Bluebeam has worked to bring smart and simple desktop, mobile, and cloud-based solutions to the AEC industry for paperless workflows that utilize PDF to share metadata, hyperlinks, bookmarks, images, attachments, and 3D data downstream. Bluebeam Revu leverages an open-source format that enables a common data environment that allows architects, engineers, estimators, contractors, and building owners to maintain data integrity, improve project communication, and streamline processes.

New features and enhancements in Revu 2017 were developed based on both customer requests and industry research. Some of these features and enhancements include the following:

  • New takeoff tools empower estimators to create higher-quality, PDF-based bids with greater accuracy and speed.
  • Expanded batch processing tools allow architects and engineers to apply digital signatures and professional seals quickly and efficiently across a batch of multiple files without opening, signing, and saving individual documents one at a time.
  • New automatic form creation increases efficiency across a broad set of needs, including RFIs , submittals, contracts, and permits.
  • Streamlined measurement and count tool enhancements enable construction professionals to eliminate redundancies, utilize takeoff data downstream, and manage project documents seamlessly.
  • Enhanced 3D navigation and functionality visually convey complex concepts to project partners, while the ability to embed 360-degree photos allow teams to assess and document jobsite progress quickly.

Bluebeam Revu 2017 is available in three different editions:

  • Standard: a solution for intuitive PDF markup, editing, and collaboration
  • CAD: a solution for CAD users that includes smart plug-ins for 2D and 3D PDF creation, as well as all the features of Revu Standard
  • Extreme: a robust solution for automating complex processes and pushing the limits of document collaboration that includes all the features of Revu Standard and Revu CAD

A free, 30-day trial of either edition of Bluebeam Revu 2017 can be downloaded here.

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