Despite the adage, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, people aren’t dogs. Humans are resilient creatures who are capable of constantly learning and changing.
This is evident today in the construction industry. It is a profession that is changing at lightning speed, but many “seasoned” professionals still make up the ranks.
Technology-wise, construction has changed more in the past few years than in the previous fifty. Given the influx of new talent, digital workflows have become both more accepted and commonplace.
Older baby boomers need to keep pace with change and embrace it. And, one of the tools that help them easily transcend paper to digital is Bluebeam Revu. Check out the three things that Baby Boomers love the most about Bluebeam software.
Before diving in to the three specific functions that older users find valuable, let’s go over what Bluebeam is exactly.
What is Bluebeam?
Essentially, Bluebeam Revu is a software application that allows users to markup, takeoff, organize, and collaborate using PDF files. If gives people a way to interact with plans they way that they would markup paper drawings, but on their PC.
More than simply a PDF viewer, or annotation tool, Bluebeam Revu is efficiency and collaboration software for anyone who works with technical files.
Bluebeam may appear daunting, but it is actually very easy to learn and use. With a small amount of instruction, even the most “old school” employee can be off and running with Revu.
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Three features that Baby Boomers Love about Bluebeam Software
After meeting with many Bluebeam users, older and young alike, there were three recurring functions that seemed to set a benchmark. These are search functions, markup and takeoff tools, and using layers.
Construction documents are full of data. Often contractors or other project partners need to quickly search a set of plans to identify specific, important information.
Manually reviewing a set of printed plans is laborious, tedious, and prone to mistakes. Luckily, there is a faster and more accurate way - the Search Tool in Blubeam Revu. For those who use it, Bluebeam's Search Tool is a game-changer for working with construction plans.
Enable the Search Tool
Once in Bluebeam, ensure that the Search Tool is accessible. In Revu 2018, simply right click on the left-side toolbar to open a Menu. Under the show command, you can toggle on/off the features that you wish to display. Be sure that the Search Tool is enabled.
With a document open, and the Search Tool selected, you will see two different icons for Search Methods. The first is Text Search and the other is Visual Search.
Both are extremely handy in relation to construction plans. Text search will allow to find character strings, while visual search will use the internal OCR engine to identify selected shapes and objects.
For example, consider searching for the term CNEL (Community Noise Equivalent Level) within a document referencing California Building Codes. Once the search term is entered, simply click Search and Bluebeam will do the rest.
The search results display on the lower left-hand side of the screen. From here you can select all (or individual items) and perform further actions.
With the search results selected, the Check Options icon will present a menu for further actions including highlight, redaction (eXtreme version only), and other text options. Any of these functions can be applied in bulk with a single click.
Find and Count the Sinks in Bluebeam Revu
In this example, consider a drawing of a hotel with many rooms and your job is to count the number of sinks in order to provide a bid for this project.
You could print out this sheet and conduct a very traditional manual takeoff, but it can be very time consuming. Instead, rely on the power of Bluebeam's Visual Search tool.
In the Search Tool, select the icon for Visual Search. Then, choose Get Rectangle to draw a box around the option that you want to search for in the drawing.
In this case, click and drag a rectangle around a sink on the sheet. Once complete, click Search.
Once the Visual Search is complete, the results are displayed in the lower-left, just as with a Text Search. Likewise, you can select the Check Options icon for a menu of further actions.
Like with text, these results can be highlighted or hyperlinked. But, another very powerful function is the Count Measurement tool.
By applying a count measurement, Bluebeam will auto-calculate the number of items and keep of record of that information in the Markups List.
Here the data can be tracked, sorted, and manipulated to meet your needs. Custom columns can be created to apply cost metrics to items in the Markups List and reports you can run reports directly from this panel.
If the Visual Search results are not optimal, you may need to adjust the sensitivity of the OCR profile to best match your situation. This is easily performed by adjusting the sensitivity slider under options.
"Older baby boomers need to keep pace with change and embrace it. And, one of the tools that help them easily transcend paper to digital is Bluebeam Software."
Bluebeam Revu hosts a wide selection of markup tools ranging from basic text tools, clouds, callouts, plus a lot more. Simply click the tool you need and start making notes on your sheet - it is that easy.
To access Markups in Revu, first head to Tools, and find Markup in the menu. From there, you can simply select the tool of your choice.
Another way to quickly access Markups (or any other tool) is to customize a toolbar. Navigating to Tools in the top toolbar, select Customize... from the bottom of the menu.
Change the properties of a markup at any time with the Advanced Properties Toolbar. Use this to quickly change the border color, fill, opacity, and more.
Creating estimates in Bluebeam Revu is essentially as easy as using markups. They are almost identical tools. But, first you need to set the scale of the drawing.
There are a couple of ways to scale a sheet. First, you can use the Measurement Tab to enter the scale if it is known.
Another way is to use the calibration tool to pick a known distance between two known points. From there you can enter the measurement and the scale will apply to the entire page. Here’s how to do it.
PDF files act more like a container of data rather that just an image file. Besides the visual drawing, there are lots of different levels of information stored or embedding the file. Bluebeam leverages this additional metadata to maximize the manipulation of this data, including the use of layers.
PDF layers are, like layers in many CAD programs, a way of organizing the content in a document. Think of layers as clear overlays that act as a switch that can be toggled on or off to control the visibility of everything on that layer.
Layers hold content and markups. This data can be moved from one layer to another. Markups can be flattened to a layer, unflattened from that layer, and copied and pasted while retaining their layer. Layers also appear in the Markups list to allow organizing and processing markups by layer.
To get to Layers, use the icons on the Left Panel. If you don't see Layers available, right-click on the Left Panel to choose which Tabs you want to show and/or hide.
Now that Layers are accessible, you can simply toggle layers on or off in the panel.
Assigning Layers to Markups in Bluebeam is a breeze. Right-click on a Markup and navigate to "Layer" in the menu. From there, you can pick an existing layer or create a new one for the tool.
Construction technology is changing at a rapid rate. But, change doesn’t have to be hard. Even the most seasoned construction professionals can easily transition to a digital platform. Bluebeam Revu makes it easy to make the shift.
Older users can quickly maximize their efforts with Revu’s built-in capabilities of Advanced Search, markups and takeoffs, and ability to utilize layers to their full potential.
Learn even more about Bluebeam Revu in our Definitive Guide.