Soon contractors will receive all design drawings as digital PDF files rather than on paper. Using a software package from Bluebeam, you can easily mark your questions and concerns directly on the PDF. When you need to generate an RFI (request for information), you can mark up the PDF so both the question and answer remain attached to the PDF and a click away. You can even attach and mark up a photo, as Steve Wall, a construction administrator at FFKR recently discovered.

It started when Wall received a call from a contractor at the City Creek Center construction site—a large commercial redevelopment project in Salt Lake City. One of the complex’s concrete benches needed to be extended. Before starting the job, the concrete contractor needed supplemental building instructions, such as how far to extend the bench, where to drill holes for dowels, and where to pour concrete. The bench needed to be completed as soon as possible so other contractors could finish the area.

From his discussion with the contractor, Wall was able to find the location of the bench on his drawing. But he knew it would take too much time to have the drawing revised, reviewed, and sent back out to the jobsite. He requested an RFI so he could get the process rolling, but also asked the contractor to email him a digital photo of the bench.

As soon as Wall received the photo, he opened up the PDF editor Bluebeam PDF Revu. After creating a blank PDF, he added the digital photo by using the Insert Image tool. Then he held an impromptu teleconference with the project architect and engineer using Web conferencing software. As the three looked at the PDF and discussed a solution, Wall used Revu to redline supplemental instructions. He used Bluebeam’s special markup tools for design and construction users—including lines, polylines, and polygons—to draw the missing portion of the bench and its structure. He also typed detailed instructions into callout boxes. Finally, Wall flattened the PDF, which made the image and the markups a permanent part of the drawing, to avoid inadvertent changes, and emailed the PDF to the contractor, who began fixing the bench.

The entire process took about an hour. The revised drawings, which the contractor would have been waiting for had Wall not asked for a digital image, arrived at the jobsite a few days later.

“Questions on the jobsite are a fact of life. Our challenge is to resolve issues promptly to keep the project moving,” says Steve Wall. “Bluebeam has proven to be a great solution not only for expediting the delivery of project solutions, but for providing the high level of detail required to ensure clarity and understanding.”

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