Bluebeam Helps Dansure, Inc. Stay Ahead of the Competition
Dansure, Inc. is a construction consultant with offices in Charlotte, Costa Mesa and Los Angeles whose specialties including safety & risk management, quality assurance and sustainability. As part of their comprehensive range of services, Dansure provides constructability and peer reviews of construction documents, particularly for large hospital and school projects. These review cycles are traditionally paper-based, requiring reviewers to redline plans and specifications by hand and then type all of the issues into a spreadsheet. This can be a cumbersome process, especially when considering that large projects can have upwards of 3,000 potential issues that need to be addressed. It is also expensive, as Dansure would typically spend thousands of dollars per year printing and shipping drawings and documents to clients. Moreover, with eight or more consultants in different locations working on any given project, managing printed documents can be tedious and confusing.
One day, IT Manager Jon DeCausemaker read an article in Modern Steel Construction Magazine about the incredible paper and costs savings a fellow detailer had achieved by going paperless with PDF editor Bluebeam Revu. “I practically ran over to [estimator and colleague] John Smith to tell him this might be the exact solution we were looking for,” says DeCausemaker. They both immediately downloaded a 30-day trial of Bluebeam Revu and began testing Revu’s PDF creation, markup and editing features. They also watched Bluebeam’s online video tutorials to get as familiar with the software as possible. Within a week they felt comfortable enough to present the idea of going paperless with Bluebeam to their supervisors, who agreed that it would be a great solution for their company.
The Search for a Digital Solution
With many of its competitors still using paper-based processes, Dansure saw an opportunity to gain a competitive edge by digitizing their review processes. Given the popularity of the PDF file format with the design and construction industry for file sharing and review, Dansure began evaluating PDF markup and editing applications that would enable them to replicate their pen and paper workflows. After reviewing Bluebeam Revu and Adobe Acrobat head to head, Dansure deployed Bluebeam due to its industry-standard markup tools and robust features tailored for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals.
Reviewing With Bluebeam
Using Revu is helping Dansure significantly improve their day to day operations. For example, the consultants use Revu’s markups tools such as the Cloud and Callout to easily signal issues on a drawing, keeping the communication clear and concise among the team members. Instead of having to devote time to typing all of these issues in a spreadsheet, the comments are now automatically tracked in Revu’s built-in Markups list, which functions like a spreadsheet within the program.
When each individual has finished redlining and annotating the PDF files, they share their comments with coworkers also working on the project, who may sometimes be located in another office. Since the file size of these redlined PDFs may at times be too large to email, Dansure reviewers instead open the Markups list to export all comments to a lightweight .bax file, which is a special XML file used to share markup data between Revu users. After it is sent, that assigned person imports each .bax file through the Markups list, enabling everyone’s feedback to display on one PDF. Because the Bluebeam Markups list tracks who made what comment and when, this central PDF can then be sorted by reviewer, comment, and so forth to conduct internal quality control before the final analysis is sent out.
Shortly after Dansure adopted Bluebeam, they began working on a project in the Middle East for a client who needed regular status updates. Before this time, a client would have to wait patiently for a shipment containing hard copy updates. Considering the distance between the U.S. and the Middle East, this client would have had to wait a week or more for these documents to arrive. Working with Revu, however, allowed Dansure to instantly provide updates by sending the files to the client electronically – something no other firm working on the project had the capability to do.
Bluebeam Revu has helped Dansure in several ways, starting with improving internal communication among the consultants and ending with providing a better graphic deliverable to their client. “Revu has been invaluable to us,” said Doug Flinn, Project Manager at Dansure. “It allows us to track quality control, conduct a trend analysis, and determine cost impact.” Revu also helps Dansure’s clients better understand the company’s analysis by showing the issues directly on the plans and specifications, eliminating any confusion. These results are delivered electronically via a FTP site rather than spending the time and money on printing and shipping, saving them upwards of $800 on any given project and thousands of dollars a year. Because Dansure recognized the need to move forward with technology, they are now on the cutting-edge. “No one else in our industry is doing it this way,” Doug continued. “We have the competitive advantage.”