Grace & Hebert, APAC is an architectural firm based in Louisiana with more than 1,000 completed projects. After years of juggling many projects at once, GHA decided to apply their experience into the creation of a web-based project management solution, ArchitTrek. Initially, this solution was developed for internal use to manage the thousands of documents accessed, reviewed and redlined on every project. However, project partners were so impressed with ArchitTrek's capabilities that GHA decided to market it to fellow architecture, engineering and construction firms.
While many users found value in ArchitTrek, the software required additional features to be the complete digital project management solution that GHA wanted to provide. ArchitTrek did not have electronic markup capabilities, meaning that users still needed to rely on the traditional paper processes for marking up shop drawings. This entailed downloading the file from the ArchitTrek system, printing out the file, marking up the document by hand, and finally scanning and uploading the document back into ArchitTrek. This process was time consuming and inefficient.
GHA knew they wanted to add digital markup as a feature in their software, especially for shop drawing reviews. This would be easier said than done, as the solution would need to seamlessly integrate into ArchitTrek's web-based system. In addition, the solution would need to be intuitive and include AEC-standard markup tools, as they would be marketing this solution to fellow AEC firms. For those same reasons, the solution would need to be customizable and robust, to accommodate a varied customer base.
GHA were considering several options, including developing their own markup technology. Then, they learned about BluebeamÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â® Revu and its ability to digitally redline PDF drawings with AEC-specific markups including text, highlights, pen markups, clouds, shapes, CAD symbols and measurements ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ essentially providing all the markup capabilities GHA wanted to incorporate into ArchitTrek. In addition, many of ArchitTrek's users had been using Bluebeam Revu to markup PDF drawings offline, so it seemed natural to integrate Revu with ArchitTrek. GHA final obstacle was seamless integration into their web-based software.
Each copy of Revu includes integrated file exchange technology called bFX. bFX is a protocol that enables Revu to open PDF files from remote locations and post added annotations back into the remote location. Users access these PDFs through the File Exchange tab included in the Revu interface, which displays a list of available files along with other information such as project name, date and file username. This means ArchitTrek users can open shop drawings from within Revu, redline them and automatically post changes back to ArchitTrek's web system just by clicking the Save button in Revu.
Additional bFX features have also proven instrumental for ArchitTrek users. bFX posts metadata to remote systems as well, so users who log into ArchitTrek can see a report of all the people who have opened the file for editing and a date and time stamp for each revision. This, coupled with the ability to set access permissions, helps to maintain version control. Finally, files can be locked to prevent further revisions, so ArchitTrek users don't have to worry about leaving their files up on the web-based system after they have been approved.
Revu's integration into ArchitTrek has been a big success. "By providing seamless access to Revu's redlining tools, our users have noticed a 60% time savings in the process of marking up shop drawings," said Jerry Hebert, President at Grace & Herbert Architects. "The integration of Revu with ArchitTrek for digitally redlining shop drawings has been so successful that we are incorporating Revu into other aspects of ArchitTrek, including RFIs and the electronic bidding module."