WATCH – Is a PDF revolution advancing BIM workflows? Bluebeam find out

Credit: Bluebeam
Credit: Bluebeam

A new visual as part of Bluebeam Software‘s Digital COM video series has been released, looking at whether an increase in PDF utilisation on construction projects has advanced Building Information Modelling workflows.

Sasha Reed sat down with Construction PDF Coalition members Nathan Wood of DPR Construction and Kris Lengieza of Stiles Construction to discuss the topic whilst attending BIMForum in Orlando, United States last month.

“Can a PDF equal BIM?” asked Nathan rhetorically. “We’re not trying to say that we should go backwards and that we should make everything just PDF-based. The statement is that we believe we need to move forward. We believe in BIM but we are also pragmatic and realise that there are steps along the way, that we have to do this and that the PDF file is a great, great way to leverage open standards, data structure, a direct extraction from BIM on this pathway towards what will be a fully integrated ‘information everything’.

“Because we haven’t focused on [these different deliverables] in the past, it’s been a sword in our side as we try and progress in the industry.”

Lengieza elaborated on that notion, describing PDF usage as a great way of “bridging the gap”.

Another element of the conversation related to confusion as to how 3D PDFs actually work, and how can those passionate about the PDF medium explain to the masses the power of PDF utilisation for BIM projects, without sounding like they are promoting one particular software brand.

Lengieza explained in more detail how 3D PDFs have the ability to be incredibly useful: “People are asking questions like ‘I didn’t even know a 3D PDF existed, I didn’t know all that information was there’ and then the other way was ‘you guys are showing a workflow that involves a 3D PDF that brings all of this information in, but do those same workflows we apply to 2D PDFs apply to 3D?’ and I think they do.

“There’s a lot of unknown about a 3D PDF and how to get [the data] from the authoring software into a 3D PDF. Recently just myself, I actually went through the exercise of bringing IFC into a PDF and and being able to view something that was almost unviewable in other applications and I was able to open it up in a 3D PDF, see that information. It was a eye-opening experience for me that it was easier to view in a PDF than a 3D model.”

Wood backed Lengieza up with an excellent point: “How often do you use Google Earth to navigate from Point A to Point B? You don’t! You use 2D, whether it be Google Maps or Uber because it has the information that you need in a very consumable way that is just more intuitive.”

Watch the fantastic 19-minute video below.

For more from related parties featured in this article, follow them on Twitter: Bluebeam | Construction PDF Coalition | Nathan Wood | Kris Lengieza | Sasha Reed

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