Currently Reading

Dotting the I in IPD

Dotting the I in IPD

Two collaboration tools, Bluebeam PDF Revu 8 and eBuilder Enterprise, are helping Building Teams integrate project files and information.

By By Jeff Yoders, Senior Associate Editor | August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 201002 issue of BD+C.

 Bluebeam PDF

Collaboration software is going beyond just sharing files. It is being used to enable full building information modeling early in design. Two programs are enabling Building Teams to more easily share the information in BIM and use it for integrated project delivery: Bluebeam Software, which just released the newest version of its AEC-specific PDF collaboration tool; and eBuilder Enterprise, a Web-based capital project and program management tool used by owners and real estate professionals.

PDF Revu 8: beyond PDF markup to file management

Architects and contractors have been using paperless tools such as Bluebeam PDF Revu for much of the past decade. Over its first seven previous versions Bluebeam has evolved from a PDF creation tool born in the aerospace industry to one of the most popular PDF markup and revision tools in the AEC market.

The company's latest release, Bluebeam PDF Revu 8 (CAD edition), is moving beyond digitizing paper to full project collaboration and management. It features Microsoft SharePoint and Bentley ProjectWise integration and a new file manager that lets users search, “pin,” and integrate their documents with other users' systems. The new version also has a Revit plug-in that can integrate it with Revu.

“We don't speak in terms of being a PDF editor anymore,” Bluebeam CEO Richard Lee told me. “We're really focused on providing workflow and collaboration software. You will see in the future a lot of functionality and features designed around how people work. The fact that it is in PDF is just convenient.”

Reports in bluebeam PDF

The most noticeable change in Revu 8 is a new “file access tab” on the left panel of the user interface. It allows mouse-over preview of any PDF and shows the location of the file, whether it's on your hard drive or in a shared project management program such as SharePoint. The access tab's history area gives a quick view of all of the PDF files you looked at recently.

“Users told us, 'I want to be able to get to the PDFs I work with quickly, whether they're on a SharePoint drive or on my machine,'” said Don Jacob, VP of engineering at Bluebeam. “Our mid-size to large AEC users want better integration.”

The SharePoint integration offers an easy connection to files in the document management platform. A new explorer panel, similar to Windows Explorer, is embedded in the file access tab in Revu 8. From that panel you can automatically navigate the SharePoint library and check files in and out without having to switch between Bluebeam and SharePoint.

You can also check version histories of files in the library from the explorer and “pin” them to projects and documents on your hard drive. The functionality seems to work similarly for ProjectWise, but I couldn't try that one out, as I was unable to obtain a review copy of ProjectWise.

The “pinning” feature, itself is a new addition that addresses a major pain point many architects and contractors have when managing project files: keeping them together and organized. With two mouse clicks you can pin any file and it will stay in your access tab (with a pushpin designating its file as such) with all of its history information available to you on mouse-over. You can pin files to a project or a group of projects.

This flowchart

The tool sets are also improved in Revu 8. Some of the new markup tools include representations of people (good for scale) and welding markups for fabrication drawings. The personal toolbar in Revu 8 is more customizable, too, allowing you to add any Revu 8 function to it. This is good for companies that use one toolbar layout for architects, a different one for engineers, and even more customized layouts for super-users.

Finally, one of the smallest but best additions to Revu 8 is hyperlinking within annotations for fabrication drawings. Many subcontractors and fabricators bemoan the lack of reference documentation in computer-generated shop drawings. How can you access “Appendix 6” when all you've been given is “page 300?” By adding actions to an annotation, anyone who has page 300 automatically also receives a hyperlink to Appendix 6 in Revu 8. In the war against paper-based workflows, it's the small victories such as this that will carry the day for paperless.

E-Builder: Integrated for project management

E-Builder Enterprise is a Web-based project and program management application that helps facility owners and operators—and the AEC companies that provide services to them—address the challenges associated with the planning, design, construction, and operation of complex capital projects.

E-Builder clients are primarily facility owners with ongoing capital programs (e.g., additions, renovations, new facilities), such as Inova Health System. All that users need to use the system is a browser, username, and password, and it can be accessed anywhere via the Web. Some of the core aspects of the system include cost control, schedule management, change management, and construction administration.

“The entire e-Builder system is SAS 70 Type II certified,” said Jonathan Antevy, CEO of e-Builder. “It's a significant on-going investment but it has become the standard that our clients demand of us.” Antevy says that his company has been developing Web based software-as-a-service (SaaS) since its founding in 1995. “Our business is not built for a specific platform like Windows or Mac,” he says. “It is built for the Internet.””=

Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C., is currently using eBuilder on the 600,000-sf, $559 million addition to the Duke Medicine Pavilion. The project, which started rolling in 2009, will add 160 critical care ICU stepdown beds and 16 new operating rooms to the pavilion. The addition has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

“We did a one-way integration of all of the financial information for the project from our SAP system into e-Builder,” said Mark Greenspan, director of facility planning, design, and construction at Duke Medical Center. “Our accounting departments tracks overall costs in the SAP system, but our project managers needed that information at a more granular level. It was fairly simple to get that information imported from SAP into e-Builder in the format we could use.”

Another eBuilder project is the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, an 800,000-sf, $400 million new hospital that is integrating e-Builder's tools with the Solomon accounting system.

Project managers at Cedars-Sinai—which broke ground last summer and is expected to be completed in 2012—use e-Builder to check monthly audit reconciliations, as well as for budgeting, archival processing, and storage of construction documents and meeting minutes.

“We needed our information more directly available to us,” said Robert Cull, executive project director for facilities planning, design and construction at Cedars-Sinai.

Both of these projects are using BIM files cataloged in e-Builder Enterprise. E-Builder supports BIM review by allowing users to work with BIM files without third-party software via an integrated Autodesk Navisworks viewer. You can upload a BIM file into e-Builder published to the .NWD file format, which includes all loaded models, the scene's environment, the current view, and favorite viewpoints, so that you can view the file and its animation without Navisworks or another translator.

“The changes that someone on a project makes cause other changes that we can control and automate with our process and workflow tools, ” Antevy said. “We give our clients the ability to focus on process instead of technology.”


Related Stories

Digital Twin | Jul 31, 2023

Creating the foundation for a Digital Twin

Aligning the BIM model with the owner’s asset management system is the crucial first step in creating a Digital Twin. By following these guidelines, organizations can harness the power of Digital Twins to optimize facility management, maintenance planning, and decision-making throughout the building’s lifecycle.

Digital Twin | Jul 17, 2023

Unlocking the power of digital twins: Maximizing success with OKRs

To effectively capitalize on digital twin technology, owners can align their efforts using objectives and key results (OKRs).

Office Buildings | Jun 5, 2023

Office design in the era of Gen Z, AI, and the metaverse

HOK workplace and interior design experts Kay Sargent and Tom Polucci share how the hybrid office is evolving in the era of artificial intelligence, Gen Z, and the metaverse.

AEC Tech | May 9, 2023

4 insights on building product manufacturers getting ‘smart’

Overall, half of building product manufacturers plan to invest in one or more areas of technology in the next three years.

BIM and Information Technology | May 8, 2023

BIM Council seeks public comments on BIM Standard-US Version 4

The Building Information Management (BIM) Council is seeking public comment on an updated national BIM standard. NBIMS-US V4 has been three years in the making and is scheduled to be released this fall.

Digital Twin | May 8, 2023

What AEC professionals should know about digital twins

A growing number of AEC firms and building owners are finding value in implementing digital twins to unify design, construction, and operational data.

BIM and Information Technology | May 8, 2023

3 ways computational tools empower better decision-making

NBBJ explores three opportunities for the use of computational tools in urban planning projects.

Sustainability | May 1, 2023

Increased focus on sustainability is good for business and attracting employees

A recent study, 2023 State of Design & Make by software developer Autodesk, contains some interesting takeaways for the design and construction industry. Respondents to a survey of industry leaders from the architecture, engineering, construction, product design, manufacturing, and entertainment spheres strongly support the idea that improving their organization’s sustainability practices is good for business.

Sustainability | Apr 20, 2023

13 trends, technologies, and strategies to expect in 2023

Biophilic design, microgrids, and decarbonization—these are three of the trends, technologies, and strategies IMEG’s market and service leaders believe are poised to have a growing impact on the built environment.

Urban Planning | Apr 17, 2023

The future of the 20-minute city

Gensler's Stacey Olson breaks down the pros and cons of the "20-minute city," from equity concerns to data-driven design.


More In Category

Digital Twin

Creating the foundation for a Digital Twin

Aligning the BIM model with the owner’s asset management system is the crucial first step in creating a Digital Twin. By following these guidelines, organizations can harness the power of Digital Twins to optimize facility management, maintenance planning, and decision-making throughout the building’s lifecycle.


Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021