Bluebeam and Adapx cut AEC paper workflows

March 29, 2009 |

Building Teams looking for fast, easy, paperless ways to submit change orders, finish punch lists, and automate other mundane tasks might take a look at Bluebeam’s PDF Revu 7 and Adapx’s Capturx technologies. Both support 2D work processes in today’s two most dominant document formats, PDF (Bluebeam) and DWF (Adapx). Both can be used with tablet PCs and other field-ready mobile devices.

Bluebeam is a project collaboration solution customized for design and construction professionals. Pasadena. Calif.-based Bluebeam started out in the aerospace industry. With Revu 7, Bluebeam’s flagship PDF review software is focused even more on the AEC industry.

“Many of our customers wanted advanced tools for ordering the Markup List,” said Don Jacob, Bluebeam’s VP of engineering. “The ability to add custom columns and sort and filter by any column gives our customers the tools to work effectively with annotations.”

Revu 7 has simplified PDF creation with plug-ins for Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks. A PDF print function can now convert a file to PDF and print it from any Windows file. The Batch for Office function lets you quickly create a batch of PDFs from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a few clicks, while Scan to PDF and native image conversion eliminate unnecessary steps when converting images to PDFs. Revu 7 can also create a CSV file summary to send elements of a PDF directly to Microsoft Excel. This function can be used to create punch lists.

An intuitive split-view option lets you compare two documents with one click and allows side-by-side comparisons of drawing PDFs. You can place an image in a PDF file with a simple drag-and-drop and also paste snapshots from other pages of a PDF for notation. Revu 7’s paste function saves high-quality vector information—a useful tool for capturing design discussions.

On the left rail of PDF Revu 7 is a linear view of a document’s markup history. The main content area shows the individual page of a PDF currently being worked on. The intuitive menus surrounding the content area include improved markup tools from version 6. Hatch patterns, arcs, curve markups, and improved stamp options are located above the content area.

The list of hatch patterns included in Revu 7 to fill in markups or takeoffs, create and save custom hatches, and import AutoCAD .PAT files into Revu is extensive. For the first time, you can redline PDF drawings with the arc tool and create custom text stamps with the revised stamp editor. The measurement tool also incorporates curve technology for more accurate area, perimeter, and volume calculations.

Red and blue pens may be accessed from the program’s customizable tool chest. Another first: all annotations and markups can now be spellchecked.

The Reduce File Size feature lets you control PDF compression by estimating the new file size and including an interface to adjust settings such as PDF version, image resolution, and embedded fonts. Revu 7 supports PDF packages for organizing multiple files and file types into a single package for archiving or delivering documents to clients. The “quick security” function uses security profiles to secure sensitive documents with one click, while a new batch security feature lets you apply security to multiple PDFs simultaneously.

Adapx is a digital pen and paper tool that allows markups created by hand on paper to be captured electronically—something AEC professionals working in the field will appreciate. The Seattle firm’s Capturx technology came out of the military, where it enabled soldiers to update maps under combat conditions.

Capturx technology allows it to integrate directly to AutoCAD, Revit, and other Autodesk files through the DWF format. The technology enables DWF files to be printed by most printers on standard paper of any size with a digital watermark. The field-ready digital pen writes with standard ink and records and saves data.

Capturx for Excel Forms enables teams to design forms in Excel 2007 using a digital pen, print them on standard paper, and have the handwritten data automatically digitized and formatted back into original Excel fields. “It takes anything that would be recorded on paper and directly makes an Excel document out of it,” said Adapx VP Ted Gauld.

Adapx keeps the original handwriting in Excel, and users can see it in a review pane. The solution generates Excel punch lists, RFIs, and other site spreadsheet deliverables. KPFF Consulting Engineers, Portland, Ore., is using Adapx in all its offices, some as far away as Abu Dhabi, to share AutoCAD information.

Bluebeam PDF Revu Standard Edition is available directly and through licensed resellers for $149 per seat. Bluebeam PDF Revu CAD Edition costs $199 per seat. The CAD edition is reviewed here and is the only edition that contains the SolidWorks and AutoCAD plug-ins. The Office plug-in is available in both editions. Capturx from Adapx retails for $1,495 per software/hardware bundle, with discounts for volume orders.

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