Using Bluebeam’s Revu software allowed Budapest’s Márkus Engineering to keep a major hotel project on track amidst the pandemic
A Budapest-based civil engineering firm has been able to keep the construction of a new Radisson Collection hotel on track during the pandemic with the help of a collaboration tool from Bluebeam.
Márkus Engineering, a family-run SME that specialises in high-end construction projects, was appointed to manage and provide technical supervision to guarantee delivery of its most ambitious project to date – the build of a spectacular property in Budapest’s St Stephen’s Square that would attract tourists to the centre of the city.
Construction on the 71-room hotel began in mid-2019 and is set to be completed this year. The renovation has included the retention of the landmark building’s original character features. Once complete, it will feature a rooftop bar with views of St Stephen’s Basilica.
Covid accelerates digital transformation
At the beginning of last year, Tamás Márkus Sr, the company’s managing director, made clear his intention for the firm to become more digitally and BIM (building information modelling)-focused. His goal was to position Márkus Engineering as a progressive firm at the forefront of Hungary’s AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) sector.
The switch to digital became urgent when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe. The company had to adapt to maintain communications and progress on the hotel project during lockdown. With face-to-face work restricted, it needed a reliable online project collaboration platform to maintain information flow between on- and offsite project teams.
Tamás Márkus Jr, engineer, suggested trying Bluebeam’s Revu software, having experienced its ease of use while working at another firm. Bluebeam is a developer of technology solutions for AEC professionals worldwide, and Revu is its PDF mark-up and collaboration tool that can be used throughout the lifecycle of a building project.
With Revu in place, Márkus Engineering was able to keep the hotel project on schedule, despite lockdown restrictions.
Archicad-Revu integration: how it works
The Budapest Radisson project was designed using Graphisoft’s Archicad BIM platform.
Bluebeam and Graphisoft are sister companies under the Nemetschek brand, a global software provider for the AEC industry.
Graphisoft’s Bluebeam Connection provides a bi-directional link between Archicad and Revu. All annotations created in Revu are imported as native Archicad entries, appearing in the correct location on design layouts, without any manual work. The seamless compatibility saves time in design reviews.
Studio in Revu allows users to invite team members from anywhere in the world to collaborate easily, giving external stakeholders the ability to annotate and review documents in real time. Four teams on the Budapest Radisson renovation project used Revu and Studio: the architects and design teams, Márkus Engineering, the general contractor and the property owners’ facility management team. Graphisoft Hungary provided training to bring the Radisson project teams up to speed quickly with Studio’s functionality.
The Archicad-Revu design review workflow looked like this:
- Views or layouts were saved as PDFs in Archicad
- These PDFs were sent to project stakeholders for annotation in Studio
- The PDF annotations were imported to Archicad using Bluebeam Connection. The annotations appeared in the right places, on the original source views in Archicad
- Architects could manage the annotations using the Annotation Tools palette
Huge time savings on design reviews
Switching to Archicad-Revu led to a 50% time saving on design reviews for Márkus Engineering. For a small business working on a project as complex and ambitious as the Radisson renovation, gaining this time back was invaluable.
Márkus found that several key features in Revu sped up design reviews:
- Annotations and Tool Chest: Creating customised Tool Chests made marking up and measuring much faster. Each discipline had its own designated toolset, making it easy for each team to know which tools to use. Customised Tool Chests also proved useful for creating fault logs, which were tracked automatically in the Annotations List. Márkus uses its own properties for taking measurements, but there are pre-made speciality Tool Sets available to download from Bluebeam.
- Digital document comparison: Physical document comparison can take at least half a day. With Revu, Márkus could compare two documents in minutes, saving time and reducing human error.
- Overlay Pages: Spotting differences between plans and dealing with any resulting cost changes is faster and more accurate in Revu. Changes can be marked in different colours using the Overlay Pages function, and work can then be accounted for and acted on.
- Submittal reviews: These are simpler with Studio. Because remote and onsite workers can add annotations or queries in real time, issues are resolved quickly and it’s easy to track actions. Submittals reviews run smoother, saving time and increasing productivity.
A simple document management solution
To meet its complex document management challenge, Márkus set up a system to leverage Studio Projects to host a Digital Dashboard, using it on a daily basis to access up-to-date project information, from construction drawings to requests for information (RFIs).
Digital Dashboard is a customisable navigation interface that links to a folder structure granting quick access to important project files. Because of the well-arranged interface, the team didn’t have to spend time searching for the information they needed among the 1,250 plans and 15,000 links stored on the Digital Dashboard.
Keeping communication flowing
Márkus kept up its weekly project meetings during lockdown with Studio Sessions. Because Revu is accessible online all of the time, there was no need to wait for face-to-face meetings for approvals.
Thanks to Archicad’s Bluebeam Connection, project stakeholders had direct access to the most commonly used review process features. It created a uniform working environment where, as Tamás Márkus Sr put it, everyone was able to “speak the same language”.
Five times faster quantity estimations
Quantity estimations are critical for every construction project. Thanks to the measurements and quantity calculation functions in Revu, Márkus was able to complete quantity estimations five times faster than before. “It speeds up a lot in terms of checking quantities and controlling material costs,” a Márkus employee said.
The team found the Dynamic Fill function and measurement tools in Revu particularly helpful for guaranteeing the accuracy of their outcomes. The fact that Revu can handle drawings of any scale was also beneficial.
Another everyday benefit of using Revu was the electronic signature tool for RFI approvals. Márkus used this feature to approve each product change and to register all RFIs officially.
As the majority of architects in Hungary use Archicad, the easy integration with Revu helped Márkus to collaborate with designers. While the company’s partners hadn’t worked with Bluebeam’s software before, they adapted to it easily and now have plans to adopt it for other projects.
Márkus saved thousands of euros in paper printing costs with Revu. What’s more, it helped to eliminate human error. Previously, the team had to red-line deliver prints and digital PDF files manually, risking mistakes. The Archicad-Bluebeam Connection meant that all project stakeholders – even those not necessarily linked to any BIM platform – could mark up directly onto digital deliverables.
The transition to Archicad-Revu has helped the firm to reduce overall work hours on the Radisson project. Márkus has now made its switch to Revu permanent. The firm believes strongly that BIM-based solutions are needed to provide the best possible quality of service and communication tool to clients – and in its experience, Graphisoft’s and Bluebeam’s solutions are among the most competitive and simple to use.