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Briab Turns to Bluebeam to Switch From Paper to PDF


Briab is a Swedish consultancy firm that provides fire protection engineering and risk management services. Throughout a building project, Briab reviews drawings to ensure they meet building code requirements. By working alongside architects and contractors, Briab helps project teams achieve a cost- effective and code-compliant fire and life safety design.


For every project, Briab receives several different drawing types from clients including MEP, HVAC and overall site plans. Historically, the drawing review process was paper-based, which made comparing and coordinating comments amongst different disciplines time-consuming and cumbersome, especially when carrying and referencing several rolls of drawings during jobsite inspections. Yet, as more and more clients began sharing drawings electronically in PDF rather than by shipping printed drawings, Briab saw an opportunity to digitize its plan review process, too. Briab began searching for a solution that would enable them to:

  • Electronically review large-format PDF drawings
  • Annotate PDFs with industry-standard symbols
  • Go mobile by reviewing PDFs during site inspections

After reviewing several solutions, Briab deployed Bluebeam Revu, a PDF-based annotation and collaboration solution designed for the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Available on a desktop, tablet PC and iPad, Revu is enabling Briab to review drawings electronically both in the office and at clients’ jobsites.

Digitizing Reviews With Bluebeam

Now that Briab has switched to Revu, the firm has completely digitized its plan review process. Using Revu’s customizable PDF annotations including text, highlights, shapes, clouds, callouts, CAD symbols and measurements, Briab can easily highlight fire service access points and mark areas of a building in which stairwells and other escape routes need to be added or widened. Fire ratings for building elements are also electronically noted by using different colored lines to denote fire rating times. Additionally, Briab uses Revu’s measurement tools to verify code compliance. For example, the Counter tool quickly sums up the number of escape routes, length measurements confirm travel distances to escape routes and area measurements ensure that structures meet smoke ventilation regulations.

digital construction blueprint

As Briab is using Revu to electronically annotate drawings, the software is improving the overall efficiency of reviewing plans – especially when it comes to placing duplicate comments. Briab is creating tool sets of frequently used annotations and saving them in Revu’s Tool Chest, an exclusive feature that saves customized markups for future reuse. The firm has found the Tool Chest is especially useful for saving exit and other common warning signs, which need to be placed on drawings several times. To designate areas where signs need to be placed, users simply select a symbol from the Tool Chest and place it on the PDF.

woman in helmet with Briab jacket using tablet
Photo Credit: Philip Roos Lindeborg

In the field, Revu’s iPad app is proving to be an invaluable solution. Instead of bringing rolls of paper, consultants now load up PDF drawings on their iPads and access them on site. In addition to being able to electronically add comments in the field, they can also take photos with the iPad’s built-in camera and place images directly onto plans to document current jobsite conditions. This added benefit provides additional context and clarity that paper-based workflows cannot provide.


Using Bluebeam has enabled Briab to greatly improve its drawing review process. “Before we started using Bluebeam, we would have to review between 10 and 20 drawings, annotate them with color-coded comments and either scan and email them or physically ship drawings back to our clients,” said Johan Westerlund, Senior Consultant at Briab. “While paper-based workflows worked, they were time-consuming. Now that we are using Revu, we are able to complete our work so much faster, and we are also able to add more detail and context to our comments than ever before.”

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