Balfour Beatty Construction Replaces Paper Submittals With PDF Using Bluebeam Revu
Leading US Commercial Construction firm Balfour Beatty Construction is committed to designing innovative ways to deliver every client a “signature experience™” and improving industry processes and standards. An example of how Balfour Beatty Construction meets these goals can be seen in the construction of a new $80 million church in North Texas. This 205,000 square foot building consists of a worship facility with seating for 4,000 plus ancillary space for a children’s church, nursery, bookstore, café and adult classrooms. In efforts to maximize efficiency, reduce redundancy and deliver the best possible result to the client, Balfour Beatty Construction Senior Project Manager Robert Feille has implemented a project-wide, digital submittal process based on PDF. Leveraging Bluebeam Revu, the leading PDF editor for the design and construction industry, the project has eliminated all costs associated with printing and shipping submittals with the exception of physical samples.
Campaigning for PDF
Six months before breaking ground, Feille met with his colleagues to discuss how Bluebeam Revu could transform project communication. “Our primary goal was to maximize the efficiency of the submittal process,” said Feille. “With our initial exposure to Bluebeam and minimal training, I knew the software contained all the functionality we needed to make digital submittals a reality. Our next step was communicating this value proposition to the entire project team.”
Balfour Beatty Construction’s project team met with the architect, consultants and all sub-contractors to have open and honest conversations about transforming the submittal process. “Everyone in the construction industry knows that an incredible amount of time is wasted replicating work. Far too many man hours are spent photocopying updated drawings and cutting and pasting changes onto rack sets,” says Feille. “When we presented Bluebeam’s industry-standard PDF markup and editing tools as a unique solution for redlining submittals electronically and recapturing the most valuable project resource – time – it was easy to get everyone on board.”
During the submittal phase, the Balfour Beatty Construction project team relied on a number of Bluebeam Revu features. First, the team used Bluebeam’s PDF template feature to create a standard PDF submittal coversheet, complete with text boxes for easily typing comments and fields for digital signatures and stamps. This coversheet was inserted into every submittal using Bluebeam’s PDF page editing features. Additionally, Balfour Beatty Construction used Revu to create and save a custom submittal stamp with fields for inputting the submittal number and date. Finally, the team used Bluebeam’s PDF markup tools including change clouds, text and highlights to add design changes and clarifications directly onto PDF drawings.
The project’s submittal phase has recently concluded, and Feille is proud to report that the digital workflow was a success. “Bluebeam Revu was an integral part of our digital submittal process,” says Feille. “Using the software we were able to complete all submittals digitally, except for material samples. The amount of time and work that Balfour Beatty Construction saved by eliminating redundancy is incredible, and our subs have also benefited from tremendous costs savings since they didn’t have to print and ship submittals.”
Additionally, Balfour Beatty Construction has negotiated with the Owner to distribute the project’s Record Set electronically. “By delivering the record set in PDF the Owner and facility manager can easily pull up any drawing on screen. This PDF record set will be much more accessible to the Owner than traditional hard copies.”
“We started this project with the goal of using Bluebeam Revu to digitize submittals and making the process more efficient,” adds Feille. “Bluebeam has helped us exceed that goal, by creating a more sustainable communication process that has saved us time, money and provided better value to the project Owner and all project partners.”