Remember 40 years ago when they told us computers would make our lives easier? We would have so much leisure time that we wouldn’t know how to act. I don’t know about you, but I truly feel that life has gotten incredibly more complicated in those four decades. And technology is not slowing down to let us catch our breath. The good news is, there are trends shaping up in the design and construct world that can make our jobs easier – if we let them. And Bluebeam is part of that process.
Idea Sharing and Innovation
Through the years, industry award programs are just one of the ways companies have been encouraged to be possessive of their ideas and innovation. So the evolving industry trend toward idea sharing and co-authoring of project designs are refreshing additions to the current construction environment. More complex projects with shorter delivery times increase risk, and we need new project delivery options to minimize that risk. The result is a top-down trend toward joint ventures and integrated project teams. Former competitors – contractors, engineering firms, architects, vendors, owners and trade contractors – find themselves working together to deliver complex, resource-intensive projects as efficiently as possible. The BIM process – building information modeling – and mobile technology are gaining traction in the AEC industry, providing a new perspective on problem-solving. Bluebeam Studio sessions allow multiple stakeholders – contractors, designers, engineers, owners – to review and markup drawings concurrently in a central location. Imagine working on a submittal package and collaborating on changes and markups with team members at the same time. No faxing; no overnight packages; no enormous email files. You can share ideas in a central location while tracking individual contributions, including date and time tracking and data reports, for full accountability.
The AEC industry is realizing the value in using “big data”- the patterns, trends, associations and minute details of a project. Information has always been collected from the different stages of projects. But from there, it has basically been squandered in the non-collaborative process. More and more teams are getting on board with using that information in a structured way – both now and later. Even though each project is unique in design, location and infrastructure, there are aspects that every project has in common, and that data can be standardized for use on future projects. Bluebeam helps in this process with Studio Prime. You get advanced administrative functionality for added visibility over your firm’s Studio activity and external application integrations. Studio Prime allows your teams to access metadata, and gives you control over the outside versus inside sources who have access to and ownership of the embedded data in project files. Automate repetitive PDF-based workflows like converting, inserting and exporting.
The newest tools of the design and construction trade are mobile phones with cameras, laptop computers, drones, surfaces, iPads, thumb drives, emails, 3D printers, virtual reality, and the cloud. And in the time it took me to type that list, some new technology may have emerged. Bluebeam can be a positive force in this culture shift. Each of these tools of the trade generates its own proprietary data that must be accessible to the design team to be relevant to the project. All of the different platforms and sources are pulling in and storing a lot of information. Sure, it’s useful if you can access it and put it in a form that everyone can use. That form is the one consistent platform – PDF. Bluebeam allows you to deliver the right information to the right person in the field. Drone imagery is great, as long as the superintendent or job foreman can access it and provide their input. Bluebeam makes it easy to do that. PDF management with Bluebeam allows all the different information gathered to be delivered to the stakeholders who need it.
The AEC industry is just the latest to realize the value of customizing software to make a particular work style more efficient. Today’s AEC firms use a variety of operating systems, hardware manufacturers, mobile devices and cloud options. As teams bank on the value of cooperating and exchanging information, cross-platform integrations become more and more valuable. Streamlining this process allows engineers, architects and construction teams to do what they do best: design and build. Bluebeam works with all of these, PLUS it simply uses a PDF format. So no matter whether it’s Apple, PC or Linux, with Bluebeam you can always open a PDF and access the information inside. If you create your documents with Bluebeam, you can share them with anyone.
The strategy for rolling out new technology in many AEC firms has historically been a little loosey-goosey. Everyone knew we had to adopt technology to stay competitive, so management would finally decide to bring in new software or hardware. Then it was up to the project managers (or the IT department – and sometimes the “IT department” was the guy in the office who was least afraid of new technology) to work it into the company gradually as time allowed. We couldn’t afford to shut down teams for days or even hours for training and then bring them up to speed on the project. This is where the emerging labor force can be useful. Instead of one guy on the team who is least afraid of new technology, there’s an influx of them moving into the workforce. College graduates – the oft-maligned millennials – grew up with technology and are very comfortable with quickly figuring out how software is used. That said, they can train the rest of the team on how to use that technology to best profit the company. The entire staff benefits from knowledge-sharing and on-the-job training, with the bonus that productivity takes a smaller hit. Bluebeam is easy to get up and running. It’s not difficult to learn, not that it matters to a team member weaned on technology. The Bluebeam user interface can be standardized or tailored to specific project teams or company departments. Individual profiles and layouts can be set up so a team has access to the tools or features they need and aren’t swamped by the tools and features they don’t need.
Ok, so maybe computers didn’t make our lives easier. But they certainly have improved the way we build things. Since technology is not slowing down for us, it’s up to us to keep up with technology. If it’s time for your firm to see how Bluebeam can improve your design/build process, contact Applied Software for a demo of Bluebeam. Make Bluebeam part of your process today.