I do a lot of Bluebeam Revu training here at ZenTek and one of the things I try to focus on, particularly for my construction and trade-focused classes, is how to set up a project. When I say that, I’m not talking about structuring files in Studio, developing workflows, or proper file naming. What I’m talking about is setting up the actual PDFs that you’ll work in every single day to make finding the information you need as fast as possible, and the things you measure as accurate as possible. In other words, let’s do something to make your jobs run easier and smoother! To that end, let me take you through a few general steps I always show in my classes that make everyone sit up, take notice, and say “Wow, I’m definitely doing that on my next project!”
Start by setting scales on all your PDFs
Seems like a no brainer, right? If you plan on measuring or doing QTO at any level, you need to set the PDF you’re working in to scale. The important thing here is that you can set all the scales in your construction set in advance. You can apply scales to multiple pages at once and Bluebeam even lets you set enlarged plans, detail, etc. to different scales than your primary plan. When you use the CALIBRATE tool in Revu, in the “pages” drop down, select the “Custom Range” option (below). You can type the page numbers that are the same scale in your PDF in that space. If you’re scaling floor plans, for example, and they’re at the same scales, just type the page numbers in this format: 1-22, 32, 41, 56. This will set all the pages between 1 and 22 to the scale you set in this dialog along with pages 32, 41, & 56. Choose a Preset Scale, or Calibrate, the active sheet and all the listed pages are set to match.
To set scale on enlarged areas, just go to the MEASUREMENTS tab and click the (+) sign under the VIEWPORTS section. Draw a rectangle around the enlarged area that has a different scale and fill out the dialog with the name of the area and the appropriate scale.
Label All Your Locations and Details
Bluebeam has two tools for this: Spaces and Places. Spaces are for naming real world locations, like buildings, rooms, floors, lots, blocks, phases, and zones. Places are for locating/labeling areas in your PDFs, like details, schedules, legends, and notes. The great thing is that both items can be used as targets for hyperlinks so that you can tie notes, specs, callouts, etc., to them to direct people to the correct locations/information from anywhere in your set. To define a Space, click the SPACES tab and select the ADD SPACE button (below). From there, just outline your room/area and give it a name. Repeat this for every room/area on all your plans.
For Places, go to the LINKS tab and click the (+) symbol to add a PLACE. Drag a rectangle around the detail or item you want to define and give it a name (below). This will create a named Place for that item. I recommend doing this for every detail in your construction set.
Create Links To Everything
Pages, Spaces, and Places can all be quickly hyperlinked using Bluebeam. You can add links to any Bluebeam item (markups, measurements, notes, etc.) by right-clicking on the object and selecting EDIT ACTION from the flyout menu. That brings up the hyperlink dialog (below) where you can easily link every item you create, or even items on the underlying plans, to the correct locations in your drawing set. This lets people simply click on your note that says “See Detail” instead of having to figure out which detail, what PDF is it in, what page is it on, and where on the server do all those reside.
Taking the time to set your project up this way can save you hundreds of hours of work over the course of a job, not to mention eliminate a lot of miscommunication that can lead to a lot of additional expense and lost profits. Yea, you have to invest a few hours up front to set this all up, but you’ll make that back a hundred-fold on every project.
Oh, and if you don’t have the time to do this – no worries, ZenTek is happy to handle it all for you, just click here for info.
– Jim Coppinger