MT Højgaard commits to digital processes
MT Højgaard is a leading construction and civil engineering company in the Nordic region. The company is involved in everything from small building projects to large and complex construction developments and infrastructure projects. Recently, the company introduced a new and advanced method for managing the numerous PDF documents that are the focal point of the projects, which has helped create new opportunities for communication and collaboration.
Just a few years ago, a major topic in the construction industry was the adoption of 3D BIM software such as Autodesk® Revit®. This is still the case for many companies, but Bluebeam helped introduce a new and advanced form of document management for the construction industry. The solution, Bluebeam® Revu®, is already being used by more than one million architects, engineers and contractors worldwide. According to Christian Ingemann Elvang, VDC specialist at MT Højgaard, the solution quickly created a completely new way to manage drawings for the company’s construction projects.
"With the editing, collaboration and annotation technology from Revu, we are now presented with new opportunities for the discussions we have with professionals and collaborators that we share drawings with. It’s as if the documents have been brought to life and this makes it much easier to communicate, analyse and review design changes along the way," says Elvang, who is responsible for rolling out BIM applications at MT Højgaard.
Fewer paper drawings for major projects
According to Elvang, MT Højgaard already runs more than 90 percent of the company’s major projects as pure 3D BIM projects. Until two to three years ago, MT Højgaard spent millions of pounds printing drawings for major projects. "We now see a substantial reduction in paper consumption and it’s much easier to carry around a fully updated drawing by using the Revu app for iPad. We still print and there is still a need for drawings, but the need is greatly reduced. It is not at all unusual that we don’t use printed drawings for some contracts at all."
For example, MT Højgaard’s own sister company, Lindpro, has chosen to abandon drawings entirely on selected projects, using only the 3D model as a production base.
"In this way, many basic fundamentals in the construction industry are being quietly transformed into digital solutions. It is extremely ineffective to work with printed drawings: notes on the drawings take a long time to communicate and it is not possible to perform a quick comparison of revisions. The use of Revu therefore helps to promote productivity and minimise risks in both the design and execution phases. In addition, the digital tools help us to ensure that we’re always looking at the most updated drawing," says Elvang.
Construction meetings on SMART boards
Revu and the cloud-based Bluebeam Studio™, a collaboration platform included in all user licences for Revu, link project partners all over the world in real time via the same set of centralised documents. The two integrated solutions bring PDF documents to life and remove the need to print them. MT Højgaard uses Revu on desktops, laptops, iPads and SMART boards. When the company conducts construction meetings, editable PDF documents are the focal point.
"On many construction sites, we have created a VDC-container where we can work digitally with the drawings. We can either make annotations directly in the Revu app for iPad or even better, on a large SMART board, which we have installed. All the experts at the management meetings stand around what in reality is reminiscent of a large digital paper drawing. It’s really just an intelligent electronic version of the PDF drawing. We can walk around, zoom in and out, make markups, changes and comments and generally use them in the same way as on paper. The big difference is that all changes and comments are immediately uploaded to Studio, where all project drawings are saved. It is extremely smart and efficient," says Elvang.
Instant access to information
Revu makes it much easier to see the differences between two drawings with the Compare function. If the parties agree to change something on a drawing on the construction site, it obviously has an impact on both time and the project’s finances. Therefore, Revu has a built-in feature that allows the intelligent PDF drawing to be forwarded on immediately in order to carry out feasibility and time estimates.
“Studio is the actual “cloud” that we upload the PDF drawings to and there is very high security and we can easily control user access at folder level. The VDC coordinator is typically responsible for creating a drawing page in Revu and, with just a few touches on the screen, each group of professionals can see information about management meetings, phone lists, work descriptions, weekly plans and other important information about the construction project. One of the best features is that you can navigate around even very large PDF drawings and that you can easily jump to a section drawing by clicking on the text for the intersection icon in the drawing. This saves a lot of time and we do not have to flip between a lot of drawings via drawing names," says Elvang.
Integral part of BIM
MT Højgaard has around 600 licences for Revu and applies the solution across the company’s sister companies, including the contractor Enemærke & Petersen, the electrical installation company Lindpro, as well as Scandi Byg, a specialist in prefabricated wood module buildings. Before the implementation and launch of Revu in MT Højgaard, the company went through an introductory and educational programme. Today, the solution is an integral part of MT Højgaard’s internal BIM training. Revu is also fully integrated with the company’s entire BIM platform, for example as a plugin for Revit® and AutoCAD®.
Toward a fully digitised future
MT Højgaard continually invests in digital processes to increase productivity. Recently, the company used Revu when building its own ultra-modern headquarters in Søborg, which was completed in August 2016. Revu also serves as the central focal point for all drawing management at the super hospital Nyt Aalborg University Hospital, Slagelse Hospital and the University Hospital in Aarhus. "We are not 100 percent free from printed drawings. But we have chosen to invest in Revu very heavily and we can see that it works really well in practice. Even in the crew cars it has become the trusted tool for our many different professional groups. The ability to gather around a huge SMART board that is flat like a 2D drawing, is really a big advantage," says Elvang. He concludes:
"We are dedicated to working constantly towards even better communication and more transparent processes. We are already committed to becoming best in class in the field of digitisation in the construction industry. We would like more projects in the industry to be run as VDC projects because it is the most productivity-enhancing way to work and the best way to collaborate between the different professional groups. We will gradually see the processes in the construction industry becoming more and more digital and Revu is a pivotal part of this process. For us, it is already the most trusted tool in the continued digitisation and modernisation of our own working methods."
*MT Højgaard is headquartered in Denmark and purchases Bluebeam products through NTI CADcenter, a Bluebeam Gold Reseller.