McCarthy Building Companies Provides Owners with Quicker Access to Information by Creating Electronic O&Ms with Bluebeam Revu
During construction of a new 40,000-sf Emergency Room and acute care addition at Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar, CA, McCarthy Building Companies took a hard look at the way Operation and Maintenance Manuals (O&Ms) were traditionally created. O&Ms are typically hard copies of almost all documents used during construction and contain seven copies of all plans, RFIs, submittals, manuals, training material, contact lists, as-builts, test results and warranties. This data is transmitted to the Owner with the idea that all information needed to operate and maintain their new building will be contained within this manual.
There are several problems with the hard copy approach to O&Ms:
- Hard copies must be physically checked in and out, thus limiting and often delaying access to users.
- Copies of the manual can disappear over time when they are not properly returned or stored.
- Since different departments are responsible for updating different sections of the O&M, rarely will changes be made to all seven copies. Thus O&Ms can quickly become outdated and inaccurate.
These issues and others like them can result in confusion and lack of coordination between departments. And most importantly, they can reduce the ability of a facility's staff to properly operate and maintain a building over time.
After some thought, McCarthy concluded that many, if not all, of these issues can be solved by using electronic O&Ms saved as PDFs. PDFs can be easily duplicated and accessed by anyone with a computer and a free PDF reader. Of course, electronic O&Ms can also hold much greater amounts of information which may be too much for the end user to comprehend. McCarthy realized that their electronic manuals would need to meet the following requirements:
- Be organized properly so users can find the information they need without being overwhelmed by the amount of information available.
- Provide users with the ability to easily locate and open electronic files.
To solve the issue of information overload, multiple meetings were held with the facility department to prioritize their information into categories so it would be easy to access. What McCarthy found was that most of the construction documents (RFIs, submittals, shop drawings) were not commonly used by the staff but were still required for reference occasionally. Therefore, they concluded that the best approach would be to provide two locations on the PDF to store information. The most commonly referenced information would have links provided on the plans and as-builts, and additional information would be located on a separate table of contents.
Creating Electronic O&Ms with Bluebeam
The key to McCarthy's success was finding a technology solution that would allow them to create a PDF manual that was easy to navigate. Since most people are used to the interface they see when accessing information through the Internet, it made the most sense for the manual to be set up and function similarly. This was particularly challenging because web sites are not typically set up based on PDFs.
After evaluating different options, McCarthy concluded that the advanced hyperlinking features in Bluebeam Revu made it the perfect solution for creating electronic O&Ms. Revu is a PDF platform solution designed for the construction industry that enables users to create, markup and edit PDFs. Among the application's advanced features is a robust hyperlinking tool that enables users to add hyperlinks to PDF files or PDF markups that, when clicked, display websites, open networked files, or jump to specific pages or snapshot views in a document.
Additionally the WebTab, which lets users access the Internet from within Revu, enables PDFs to be viewed in an Internet browser. Users can navigate through the PDF O&Ms using the standard Internet browser navigation buttons (Forward, Backward, Refresh, etc.), without ever having to leave the interface. Together, Revu's hyperlinking functionality and viewing options provided McCarthy with the technology needed to make electronic O&Ms a reality.
As McCarthy defined the information the end user would need to access and the best way for them to access that information, they began linking together entire sets of plans using Revu. The next step was to provide links to relative maintenance information directly on the plans and as-builts. For this, McCarthy used Revu to add actions to equipment callouts on PDFs that opened files containing all of the maintenance information they would need. The maintenance and data files for any piece of equipment can be quite large and difficult to flip through in an electronic format. To solve this issue, a table of contents was linked through Revu so the user could pinpoint and access an exact page.
A significant amount of time was saved compiling the files using Revu's hyperlinking capabilities. McCarthy, the facility staff and Owner all benefited from the new electronic O&M manual format.
The facility staff was very excited to find the following benefits:
- Information is simple to find and the correct data is easy to pull up.
- The manual can be updated and modified so that any updates and changes made to the manual are shared with all other facility departments.
- The manual can be accessed from any computer at any location or can be carried on a thumb drive.
- The learning curve for staff members to become familiar with maintenance information was shortened. Staff members unfamiliar with the building can open needed documents by simply finding the equipment on the plans and clicking the hyperlink.
The McCarthy staff noticed the following benefits:
- Information needed for maintenance calls can be pulled up from any location.
- For documents already in electronic form, there is no need to print hard copies and organize into binders.
Benefits to Owner:
- Increased information sharing.
Electronic files allow every staff member access to the same documents whether they are in the field with a laptop, in the construction trailer, at divisional offices, or even at corporate offices.
- Reduced time spent looking for information.
Information (product data, shop drawings, RFIs, etc.) was embedded into the construction plans through links.
- O&M data is quickly accessed when needed.
The manual was designed for quick and easy navigation to any needed information, rather than waiting for hardcopies to be provided.
- Better collaboration between facility departments.
Regardless of which facility department uses a particular set of as-builts or product data, all information can be accessed.
- The manuals are mobile when used on a laptop or tablet computer.
A facility worker can carry all the information for the entire project with him/her while working and reduce the number of trips to look for product data or as-builts.