How Concrete Contractors Can Best Use Bluebeam Revu

I'm a firm believer that every specialty contractor could benefit from implementing Bluebeam Revu in their everyday workflows. For this article, I’d like to highlight a concrete contractor’s position from bid to built.

There are a few important objectives we find in any construction project. I’d like to walk through how Revu meets those requirements. If you’re interested in learning more about how these can be done in Revu, have a look at “5 Ways Concrete Contractors Get the Most Out of Bluebeam Revu.

Every company is different in how it approaches projects. In this article, I want to highlight the possibilities so you can see where Revu fits and what customizations may be required to make it fit your unique needs.

Let’s look at those project objectives.

From the first time you open the request for proposal (RFP), there are things a project manager starts to think about even before they open the drawings—and even more as the plans roll out.

Project Location: Do we have crews in the project location, or do we need to accommodate for travel expenses? While Revu may not have a “location cost” built into the available tools, it is possible to develop these. Perhaps you want to have a pulldown menu with specific cities or areas where you perform work regularly. Along with the locations in a pulldown, you could also associate a percentage markup to account for that area based on historical project data.

Pour Dates and Schedule: Do we have crews available to meet dates and project phases? For large development projects with phases, we can use the Spaces feature in Revu. Simply draw a Space shape around an area of work and name it “Phase II.” By doing so all the slabs, curbs, etc., will be categorized in the markups list under the Phase name. This makes it easier to allocate crews, materials and equipment based on the specific requirements of each phase. We can also track the progress using the built-in Status column where crews can mark each day’s progress on what slabs, walls or foundations were completed.

Equipment Required: Just like labor availability, we need to consider equipment availability for things like forms, trucks, curb or crosspan machines. Creating custom tools in Revu, you can place a symbol within a “Phase” indicating what equipment is required. You can even allocate a rental price per day for the equipment cost estimate.

Estimate: There are great measurement tools included in Revu allowing you to calculate area of slabs, volume of isolated pad footings or linear footage of strip footings. The versatility of Revu and our ability to customize tools opens the door to personalizing your markups and what data is generated. We can differentiate types of pours by color, linestyle and hatch patterns, or even add labels to display a description right on the drawing. We can also add parameters like design mix, hand vs. machine, or whether fiber mesh or WWF is required. In some cases, we could even estimate the rebar required or the number of trucks need to be scheduled based on cubic yards.

Finish Requirements: We need a clear understanding of finishes like construction/control joint layouts, stamped design, smooth or broomed, color stained or saw cut requirements. Applying different colors or hatch patterns to the markups will clearly identify those areas in a clear and visual way for the estimator and the crew in the field. A custom line tool representing saw cuts allows you to trace them on plan and quickly apply labor and equipment costs based on a linear footage collected in the markups.

QA/QC: As a final walk through you can do a punch list noting any damage cause by other trades. You can easily incorporate images or video documenting these damages and what it will cost to fix them.

Revisions and Scope Changes: Every project has delays for weather, site and utility prep. Often projects have design changes as well and we need to not only stay current but also track and communicate scope changes. These can often change cost and pricing as the scope begins to creep after the original estimate. Revu also has tools called Document Compare and Overlay Pages that will look at two drawings and quickly point out the differences. Document Compare is going to automatically draw clouds around all the changes. Overlay Pages is like the old light tables we used to place physical drawings over one another and see what was different. After finding the changes, your takeoff markups can quickly be stretched or moved rather than starting over. At that point, you have tangible evidence of scope changes for cost updates.

After reading these objectives and possibilities, you could have one of three responses. One, this article helped evaluate Bluebeam Revu as a solution. Two, you already use Revu, but the article sparked ideas on how your current use could improve. Or three, we confirmed you’re already getting the most out of your software investment.