Learn How Mortenson Is Tracking Projects 40% Faster Using Revu's Real-Time Collaboration Feature, Bluebeam Studio
Mortenson Construction, a top-rated General Contractor known for its expertise in Virtual Design & Construction (VDC), is currently building the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver – a 12-story, 495,000 square foot office tower, which is adjoined by a 200,000 square foot, four-story courthouse building. Targeted for completion in early 2013, the facility will become the new home of the Colorado State Supreme Courts. Mortenson is leveraging Bluebeam Revu and its online collaboration feature, Bluebeam Studio, throughout the building process to document and track building progress in real time, which is providing the project team with better quality information, visuals of the project’s status and instant access to project feedback.
Project tracking is a huge challenge for contractors. During every construction phase, accurate records must be made to document what has been completed, what is yet to be completed, and what questions or issues are preventing completion. Yet, assembling and maintaining this record is extremely cumbersome. In the past, progress tracking was traditionally a paper-based process, with multiple sub-contractors redlining printed drawings or checklists by hand, signing them and turning them over to the GC. Project Engineers then input this information into a master spreadsheet and verified accuracy before the next phase in the construction process could be completed.
Paper-based communication can create problems during various phases of construction. For example, during in-wall inspections completion of wall framing and in-wall mechanical / electrical rough in work must be verified before walls and ceilings can be sheet rocked. Paper documentation added an inefficient step to the completion verification process, and slowed down communication between the GC and subs.
To improve upon this communication workflow, Mortenson began searching for a software solution that would enable them to achieve the following:
- Receive, share and review project information in real-time, rather than rely on drawings and spreadsheets that were often two or three days old
- Eliminate redundant steps in the verification workflow
- Generate both a detailed list and a visual representation of the same project information, with only one input, allowing for greater context and clarity
- Enable the quick exchange of project information and feedback between Mortenson and project subcontractors
- Provide Mortenson with an integrated method of tracking project status
- Allow ease of use, so that everyone on the team could leverage the system, regardless of technology expertise or comfort level
- Provide a software platform requiring minimal capital outlay due to the large number of project stakeholders
After evaluating a number of construction technology solutions, Mortenson deployed Bluebeam Revu. This digital workflow solution designed for the construction industry enables project teams to review and redline PDF drawings. Because Bluebeam provides industry standard markup tools, including callouts, clouds, CAD symbols and takeoffs, the software enables a simple transition from the familiar paper-based process to an electronic workflow. Additionally, Revu includes advanced markup tracking that allows customization of data, to better track and filter workflow visually. All markups – including the markup’s author, date and time – are tracked in the included Markups list and can also be assigned a custom status. The Markups list can be sorted and filtered, so that any one project stakeholder can easily view the information that pertains only to them. Finally, Revu enables users to leverage all these features in real-time Bluebeam Studio sessions, during which multiple users can post markups and view the same PDFs simultaneously using Bluebeam’s free PDF viewer, Bluebeam Vu. Only the session host needs a license of Revu to start a Studio session.
New Digital Processes
Revu has completely digitized Mortenson’s process for tracking in-wall inspections. Rather than distributing printed drawings or checklists, Mortenson now uploads the electronic drawing set into a Bluebeam Studio session, from which multiple parties can login, access and redline the ‘living’ drawing set simultaneously using any computer connected to the Internet, whether that be a laptop, tablet PC on the jobsite, or a computer positioned in one of the multiple digital kiosks set up around the project site. Mortenson can also track project status and feedback in real-time, and through the Markups list, set the status of an item as completed, not complete, or past due. These Studio sessions are also reviewed daily in Mortenson’s Plan of the Day (POD) meetings, allowing for faster verification and approval.
Using Revu and Studio to complete the documentation for in-wall inspections streamlined the approval and review process so well, Mortenson also used Revu and Studio to effectively track material deliveries and the installation status of doors, frames and hardware.
The assistant superintendent, who was responsible for maintaining a shared Excel spreadsheet with built-in formulas and conditional formatting, logged into the Bluebeam Studio session daily from the plan room computer, noting deficiencies in a matter of minutes at the end of each day. By having access to this real-time information, the assistant superintendent was able to generate and distribute reports to subcontractors instantly.
Still deep into construction of the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Revu is already helping Mortenson achieve several significant process improvements. The use of the Revu sign off process has allowed the project team to easily update and track the status of work and virtually eliminated the arduous task of conducting physical room to room walkthrough re-inspections. “Revu has helped revolutionize our approach to status tracking and documentation, making our workflows more efficient and visually easy to follow,” said Dean Towl, director of project planning for the Denver office of Mortenson Construction. “With Revu and Studio all information is live, with no lag in information sharing. We also have multiple access points to real-time data. Multiple team members can view and update completion and sign off status simultaneously. And we don’t have to worry about someone working in an older revision. We’re all singing off the same sheet of music in real time,” added Towl.
“Being able to digitally track the actual individual who is inputting the information – who did what, who signed off on an item and when – has dramatically improved quality control and tracking capabilities.”
David Stone, Integrated Construction Manager in Mortenson Construction.
Additionally, a survey with the project subcontractors has revealed that 93% of them find that Studio is expediting the project and reducing the time needed to document progress, an impressive result considering that none of the subcontractors had used Studio previously. The average time savings in the inspection and sign off process was reported to be 40%, with several subcontractors and first time users specifically praising Revu’s ease of use.
With such impressive results and tremendous support for the new digital tracking process, Mortenson is preparing to leverage Revu and Studio for project closeout, too. “As we near project closeout, we plan to use the new Spaces feature in Revu 10 to set up our drawings for punchlist. We’ll define the rooms, so that as deficiencies are redlined on the drawing, their exact location will be automatically tracked in Revu’s Markups list,” said Stone.