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  • REAL-LIFE SUCCESS STORIES WITH MERIDIAN

    In the ever-evolving landscape of engineering and asset management, organizations seek robust solutions to streamline their documentation processes. Accruent Meridian has emerged as a game-changer, empowering companies across various industries to efficiently manage their critical information. Let’s explore some real-life success stories where Meridian played a pivotal role:

    1. Energy sector: optimizing workflows

    THE CHALLENGE:

    A leading energy company faced challenges in maintaining accurate records for its vast network of power plants, substations, and transmission lines. Manual paper-based systems resulted in inefficiencies, data duplication, and compliance gaps.

    THE SOLUTION:

    The company implemented Meridian to centralize its engineering documents, including schematics, equipment manuals, and maintenance logs. With Meridian’s version control and access permissions, engineers could collaborate seamlessly. Integration with their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) ensured real-time updates.

    THE BENEFITS:

    • Reduced Downtime: Faster access to critical information minimized downtime during maintenance.
    • Compliance Assurance: Auditors praised the system’s transparency and adherence to industry standards.
    • Cost Savings: Elimination of paper-based processes led to significant cost savings.

    2. Manufacturing: accelerating product development

    THE CHALLENGE:

    A global manufacturing firm struggled with document version chaos. Engineers often worked with outdated drawings, leading to errors, rework, and delays in product development.

    THE SOLUTION:

    Meridian’s automated version control and revision tracking transformed their engineering change process. Integration with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools allowed seamless updates. Engineers could collaborate on designs in real time.

    THE BENEFITS:

    • Faster Time-to-Market: Streamlined processes reduced design iteration cycles.
    • Quality Improvements: Accurate, up-to-date drawings minimized errors.
    • Regulatory Compliance: Meridian ensured compliance with industry standards.

    3. Construction: managing complex projects

    THE CHALLENGE:

    A construction company faced information overload during large-scale projects. Managing blueprints, specifications, and vendor documentation became overwhelming.

    THE SOLUTION:

    Meridian’s centralized repository organized project documents. Role-based access control allowed stakeholders to access relevant information. Mobile access enabled field teams to retrieve data on-site.

    THE BENEFITS:

    • Project Efficiency: Quick access to project plans improved decision-making.
    • Risk Mitigation: Compliance tracking reduced legal risks.
    • Collaboration: Contractors, architects, and project managers collaborated seamlessly.

    4. Healthcare: ensuring regulatory compliance

    THE CHALLENGE:

    The hospital system struggled with maintaining accurate records for its medical equipment. Compliance audits were time-consuming and error prone.

    THE SOLUTION:

    Meridian’s robust metadata management allowed tagging equipment with critical details. Integration with the hospital’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) system ensured seamless data flow.

    THE BENEFITS:

    • JCAHO Compliance: Quick access to project plans improved decision-making.
    • Equipment Lifecycle Management: Compliance tracking reduced legal risks.
    • Cost Control: Contractors, architects, and project managers collaborated seamlessly.

    CONCLUSION:

    Accruent Meridian isn’t just software; it’s an enabler of efficiency, collaboration, and growth. These success stories demonstrate how organizations, regardless of their industry, can leverage Meridian to unlock measurable benefits. Whether it’s reducing downtime, improving compliance, or enhancing collaboration, Meridian continues to shape the future of engineering documentation management.

    Remember, success stories aren’t just about technology—they’re about the people who embrace it and drive positive change. So, consider Meridian as your partner in achieving excellence! To learn more contact us today  SolidCAD Meridian Team.

    Can Climate Proofing Structures Help Reverse Climate Change?

    This story was originally published by on the Bluebeam Blog.

    With the built environment such a prominent source of carbon emissions, it is vital that the industry recognizes the urgent need to ‘climate proof’ homes and other built assets and infrastructure.

    Everyone is aware of the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change. Climate change has been exacerbated by human activity, particularly since industrial activity increased dramatically in the 1800s. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas generates greenhouse gas emissions, effectively trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures around the world.

    Responding to the looming crisis, international governments have pledged to lower carbon emissions to reduce global warming. Only last month negotiators from dozens of countries agreed to shift away from fossil fuels at the COP 28 climate summit.

    Yet as the United Nations (UN) points out, rising temperatures are just the start.

    “The consequences of climate change now include, among others, intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity,” it says.

    Eliminate carbon emissions from buildings

    The built environment is stepping up and playing its part in reducing carbon emissions. Since construction activity and building occupation accounts for around 39% of global carbon emissions, the pressure is on designers, developers, building owners and operators, and occupiers to make buildings greener.

    There is much work to do. A report called “UK Housing: Fit for the Future?,” published in 2019 by the UK government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC), argued that the UK’s legally binding climate change targets would not be met “without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.”

    The CCC’s report noted that efforts to reduce emissions from the UK’s 28 million or so homes had stalled, while domestic energy use—which accounted for 14% of total UK emissions—had increased. Worryingly, efforts to adapt the UK’s housing stock to the impacts of the changing climate—known as climate proofing—were “lagging far behind what is needed to keep us safe and comfortable, even as … climate change risks grow.”

    So how can the UK’s building stock, and particularly homes, be climate proofed?

    There are two approaches: First, when building new, do so to exacting standards that lower their environmental impact; second, retrofit existing buildings with materials and technologies to the same end.

    Build in weather resistance

    The UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP) says it is possible to build in resistance to heatwaves, extreme cold, cyclones and strong winds, coastal flooding and drought with a variety of construction strategies.

    “Structural designs can help reduce heat inside buildings,” the UNEP says. “In Vietnam, traditional housing designs such as the optimum orientation of buildings, high-rise rooms and large openings improve ventilation.”

    “Walls of concrete, stone or other heavy material that capture solar heat are used in China, Chile and Egypt. Green roofs and reflective surfaces can also reduce temperatures in and around buildings.”

    The UNEP says that adapting to cold and temperate climates “requires capturing heat and minimizing heat loss. Insulations in roofs, walls, ceilings and double-glazed windows help to minimize heat loss and lead to more energy-efficient buildings.”

    To resist the effects of strong winds, homes could be built in circular shapes, while strong connections between foundations and the roof are critical to building wind-resilient houses.

    Homes built in areas at risk of flooding could be positioned on pillars to allow floodwater to flow underneath, the UNEP suggests, while those in drought-affected regions could feature rainwater harvesting and recharge systems that capture water on the roofs of buildings.

    Passivhaus technology

    Companies have been working on climate-proof building concepts for years. Perhaps the most familiar example is the Passivhaus program. Developed in Germany in the late 1990s, key features of a Passivhaus are lots of insulation and airtightness, minimal thermal bridging, optimization of passive solar gain, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and a simple, compact shape.

    According to the International Passive House Association, which promotes the Passivhouse Standard, along with “a greater public understanding of highly energy-efficient buildings,” such homes need just 10% of the energy used by typical Central European buildings.

    A disadvantage, at least in the short term, is that a Passivhaus costs around 8% more upfront to build, says the IPHA. But a house built this way eventually uses much less energy than a conventional new home, meaning over time this kind of outlay will be recouped; plus, there’s the improved comfort and structural performance to consider.

    We understand the sort of elements that should go into a newly built home. Let’s assume that new UK homes are being consistently built to high climate change-resistant standards and housebuilders lay claim to buyers making significant energy savings when acquiring “new.” The next question is what to do about existing homes?

    Given the age of most of the UK’s existing housing stock, this is an issue that needs tackling. More than half of the country’s homes were built before 1965, more than a third before 1945 and 20% prior to 1919. Just 7% has been delivered since 2000.

    Retrofitting homes—the costly solution

    Retrofitting has been put forward as the best solution. But given the number of households in the UK, around 28 million, the scale of the task is positively Herculean. The cost is not insignificant either.

    According to a study by the University of Nottingham, the cost of “deep retrofit”—effectively retrofitting a home to the highest levels of energy efficiency—is expected to average around £69,000, or $86,850, more than twice the government estimate for such work. So carrying out such retrofits on every older home in the country will come with a high cost.

    In addition, there is the time it will take to retrofit so many homes. But not doing anything isn’t an option, which the industry recognizes.

    Infrastructure is another area where climate proofing is vital so services can continue to function in the event of things like catastrophic flooding.

    According to the OECD, “ensuring that infrastructure is climate resilient will help to reduce direct losses and reduce the indirect costs of disruption,” which can result from the same factors that threaten the viability of so many homes across the country.

    Turner Construction Produces a Bold Initial Measurement of Embodied Carbon

    This story was originally published by Diana Kightlinger on the Bluebeam Blog.

    Carbon tied up in building materials makes up the largest source of construction emissions—but difficulties quantifying it make reducing the industry’s carbon footprint tough

    The 39% of total global energy-related carbon emissions due to buildings has been widely reported. Less known, however, is that an eye-opening 11%—more than a quarter of that total—are scope 3 emissions. These indirect emissions come mainly from the extraction, manufacture, delivery, installation and end-of-life disposal of materials, according to the International Code Council.

    “Scope 3 emissions are hard to measure and even harder to manage,” said Sara Neff, head of sustainability for Lendlease Americas, during an interview with the Built Blog. “But we know that more than 90% of our emissions are scope 3.”

    Lendlease is not alone. But before reducing scope 3 emissions, construction firms must measure them. In its “Baseline Embodied Carbon 2022 Report,” Turner Construction, a top U.S. green builder and contractor, made a solid effort to do just that. The study quantifies greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a sample of the footprints and materials for the firm’s projects.

    To learn more, Built spoke with Rowan Parris, embodied carbon program manager at Turner Construction.

    Built: What prompted Turner to conduct the study and report on your embodied carbon baseline?

    Parris: We saw a unique opportunity to contribute meaningful data on embodied carbon to the industry at large, and to use that data ourselves to set impactful and realistic reduction targets for our projects and operations. We use the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) Tool because of its robust database of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and ability to filter average results based on project and material characteristics, like location or strength class.

    Built: Does Turner consider embodied carbon the greatest challenge to reducing your own carbon footprint—and that of the rest of the construction industry?

    Parris: Embodied carbon is likely to be the largest single piece of our scope 3 reporting categories. Turner has already taken steps to reduce our scope 3 emissions through a range of efforts, including reducing business travel and offering employees a flexible work policy that enables people to work remotely. These policies reduce our overallscope 3 emissions, but they also increase the relative impact of embodied carbon.

    The 2022 Baseline Report homed in on “upfront” embodied carbon associated with upstream material manufacturing. But embodied carbon also includes emissions associated with transportation, the construction process itself and deconstruction and demolition impacts.

    Turner’s jobsite metering program is the most robust in the industry, with more than 150 projects tracking fuel, electricity and water consumption. Through this program, we have gained key insights into GHG-intensive activities on our construction projects. We have begun to address these sources through collaboration with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), rental partners, trade partners and clients.

    We have been tracking construction and demolition waste for more than a decade and have committed to increasing our landfill diversion percentages on a 10-year path to zero construction waste. We routinely recycle, use manufacturer take-back and recovery programs, separate our waste streams and train our trade partners in methods to optimize landfill diversion.

    Built: What analysis did you do of additional materials used in construction—such as aluminum, glass, insulation and wood?

    Parris: We focused our first benchmark report on the materials with the highest emissions and best available data. We are also tracking other materials on projects with client- and legislative-driven reduction targets. The materials of focus vary depending on the specific goals of the project and range from concrete and steel to all materials needed to achieve LEED pilot credit for Procurement of Low Carbon Construction Materials.

    Built: You evaluated many characteristics, from gross floor area and project revenue to geography and seismic category, to find the main drivers of embodied carbon in your projects. Was only one statistically significant?

    Parris: A key predictor is a profoundly helpful tool to make high-impact decisions early in a project’s development. The only statistically significant relationship was embodied carbon intensity per floor area. Perhaps with more projects and broader material scope, we’ll see different statistical trends in future reports.

    Built: What’s new for the 2023 Baseline Report?

    Parris: First, in alignment with Turner’s public environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, we expanded the materials to include concrete, steel, asphalt, glass and wood. This enables us to see a more complete picture of the buildings included in the study based on the data available in the industry. Embodied carbon data is evolving quickly as manufacturers ramp up EPD publication to meet rising demand. We plan to continuously evaluate additional material categories based on a balance between impact and data availability.

    Second, we lowered the revenue threshold this year to ensure we have projects represented from a wider range of geographies and project types.

    Finally, all projects will collect product-specific EPDs where available in lieu of the industry average values we used in the 2022 baseline.

    Built: Although I realize you can’t improve what you don’t measure, the next question has to be how to reduce embodied carbon. Thoughts?

    Parris: There’s no getting around the urgency. Turner is collaborating with clients, designers and suppliers to encourage low-carbon products and has actively managed embodied carbon on over 75 projects in addition to our benchmarking efforts.

    Built: Is Turner’s ultimate goal to reach absolute zero on carbon emissions, including embodied carbon? Any projections on when?

    Parris: Turner has committed to net zero scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (including embodied carbon) by 2040, with interim targets for net zero scope 1 and 2 by 2030. The work we’re doing to engage our supply chain is integral to making absolute zero a realistic ultimate goal.

    Reimagining Home with Regenerative AI Tools

    This story was originally published by Diana Kightlinger on the Bluebeam Blog.

    To create a more desirable future, how should homes, neighborhoods and cities evolve? The SPACE10 Research and Design Lab launched a global competition to find out

    Droughts and floods, scarce resources and migration are all buffeting people worldwide. To make shelter more desirable requires rethinking what home sweet home looks like—and not just in terms of appearance or function. Rather, designing and building must move beyond sustainability to become regenerative and improve communities and ecosystems.

    That’s embodied in the mission for SPACE10—”to create a better everyday life for people and the planet.” The organization launched the Regenerative Futures competition to restore and enhance the well-being of humans and the natural environment. But to enhance imagination and creativity and conjure up new visions, the competition required entrants to use generative AI.

    “The results truly show the potential of emerging AI tools to allow for new, diverse and hopeful visions of the future, in a time that requires us to imagine new ways of living,” said Ryan Sherman, creative director, SPACE10. “From the United States, China and Mexico to Lebanon, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, we received over 250 entries from over 40 different countries.”

    A panel of 10 globally recognized architects, designers, AI artists, journalists and creatives selected winners. Experience designer Kedar Deshpande of Denver took the overall prize for his entry in the category, “Designing for the Future in Harsh Environments.”

    The energy-positive, modular, breathable structure manages air and water filtration. The passive solar design maximizes natural light and heat while minimizing harsh effects.

    A hostile environment inspires resilience

    Deshpande’s design is a resilient home concept. The dwelling is imagined in Rajasthan, India, a semi-arid landscape that experiences sandstorms and floods, with temperatures ranging from 28ºF to 122ºF.

    “India is a country of drastically varying environments, climates and available building materials,” Deshpande said. “Growing up, I was able to visit the country multiple times and see these unique places. One such location was the massive Thar Desert—the most widely-populated desert in the world and home to more than 16 million people.”

    Worldwide, 1 billion people live in similar desert landscapes. Relentless water scarcity and extreme temperatures heavily impact daily life. Many residents adopt a nomadic lifestyle. “This instability contributes to a lower standard of living, which I believe can be helped with forward-thinking regenerative design principles,” Deshpande said.

    Textual and visual generative AI define the process

    Entries in the Regenerative Futures competition harnessed a range of AI tools and techniques. “While the majority used a combination of ChatGPT/GPT-4 and Midjourney, we saw a mix of Stable Diffusion, DreamBooth, Runway, and custom models trained on unique datasets,” Sherman said.

    The much-touted ChatGPT generative AI tool was the springboard for Deshpande. “ChatGPT proved valuable in researching regenerative home design within the ecosystem I was designing for, providing insights into the future of using natural materials, bio-adaptive architecture and disaster-resistant design,” he said. “These were used as seeds to envision structures within Midjourney.”

    The visual generative AI tool Midjourney works by analyzing a variety of sources—which can include information on building performance, energy usage and the environment—to identify patterns and trends. Starting with an existing structure design, Deshpande layered ideas into prompts to build and generate hundreds of possible solutions.

    The program can also help designers identify ways to improve structures and make informed decisions about design, materials and construction methods. Here, the goal was a building that was more energy-efficient, regenerative and cost-effective over the long term.

    Earth-based construction makes the most of energy, light and water

    Deshpande’s design embedded the home in the earth to insulate it naturally. Locally sourced natural materials like sand and clay ensured sustainable and eco-friendly building practices. 3D-printed structures combined with natural fibers created bio-composites for living insulation and modular construction. And for the utmost in resilience and durability, self-healing materials like advanced polymers and bio-concrete let the home repair itself.

    Locally created self-healing materials respond to wear and tear or natural disasters. The house’s modular slabs provide structures to capture air and water for purification.

    The dwelling is off-grid and energy-independent thanks to solar capture, hydrogen-generating gardens and piezoelectric devices integrated into structural components. The design also includes compact and visually appealing hybrid wind energy systems, modular energy storage systems and energy-sharing community networks.

    The interior is oriented for sun exposure and allows naturally regulated air to flow. Retaining walls outside preserve gardens and windows from harsh weather effects.

    Design envisions a future based in harmony

    Javier Torner, programme officer, UN Habitat Planning, Finance and Economy Section, summed up the judging panel’s impression of Deshpande’s work: The proposal creates harmony between design and environment, incorporating the semi-arid characteristics to build an integrated architecture that protects against extreme temperatures and preserves ecosystems.”

    And resilience to climate extremes goes beyond a single dwelling. By using resources in an efficient and collaborative manner, homes can extend resilience to the community. As an example, creating local networks that pull data from smart monitoring devices in each residence can help entire communities respond and adapt to environmental changes.

    In addition to respecting the surrounding land and ecology, Deshpande also wanted the home to reflect its cultural and historical context. That means building in collaboration with local people to incorporate traditional knowledge, materials and building techniques.

    “Designing for the Future in Harsh Environments exemplifies the potential of human-AI collaboration to envision a resilient, imaginative and accessible way of living that is regenerative by design,” Sherman said.

    And with climate extremes making the planet increasingly inhospitable, it’s gratifying to know that the built environment can not only be resilient but also help replenish and restore the world around us.

    Navigating the Markups List in Bluebeam

    This story was originally published by on the Bluebeam Blog.

    If you’ve ever seen a document full of cluttered markups, you’ve thought, “How am I supposed to work with this?” Whether it’s a busy shop drawing, a dense set of plans or a particularly brutal back-and-forth coordination document, cluttered markup hellscapes are a dime a dozen for engineers and architects. Thankfully, the Bluebeam Markups List is a powerful tool to quickly sort and organize markups in a way you can meaningfully interact with.

    Getting Started

    To access the Markups List, mouse over near the bottom of the Bluebeam window—your mouse will change into a different symbol and there will be a horizontal blue line indicating that you’re now hovering at the edge of the Markups List—and click and drag it up to reveal the Markups List.

    Structure

    The structure of the Markups List is a table with columns of information about every markup in the document (except flattened markups, which are not shown unless unflattened). The columns are customizable with respect to their width, order and which columns are shown. Clicking the drop-down menu next to Markups List and then mousing over Columns will show you which columns are visible. You can check and uncheck boxes and reorder the columns to create your desired table. You can sort the list by any category.

    Actions

    Import/Export: Using the Markups List drop-down menu, mouse over Markups and select Export Markups. This will create a .bax file that any Bluebeam user can open to see all of the markups in your document. You can import markups using the same menu.

    Hide Markups: You can click the eye symbol with the slash through it to toggle hiding or unhiding all markups in the document. This allows you to see a clean view of the base document without markups in the way.

    Search: The search bar will filter out markups that don’t have information containing the searched word(s). This applies to any information in any of the columns.

    Filter: The Filter List button toggles if filters will be applied to the markups shown in the Markups List. You can choose specific types of markups to show and hide from any number of columns. Hiding markups in the Markups List will cause the markups to become light gray within the document, making your other markups stand out better. I most often sort markups by color or date so I can find recent changes or certain types of markups based on my color-coding system.

    Editing Markup: Clicking any of the markups listed in the Markups List will set your view on the selected markup and allow you to edit it normally as if you had clicked it within the document. (Note that this functionality works in reverse also, where if you click a markup within the main window, it will also highlight that markup within the Markups List.) You can even select multiple markups (using either control or shift to select multiple markups) and manipulate them simultaneously if desired. For example, you can select all of the markups and change their color, copy them or lock them, etc., even if they’re on different pages.

    Summary: This exports a document in either CSV, XML or PDF format that summarizes the markups in your document. This is a foolproof way to make sure that the user sees every markup contained within the document.

    When you’re finished with the Markups List, you can drag the upper edge back down to the bottom of the screen to hide it. There is no better way to stay organized with lots of markups than by using the Markups List. Once you learn this tool, you might even look at images like the one at the beginning of this article and the word “fun” may come to mind.

    Chris Graham is a structural engineer in Southern California. Chris brings the powerful tools of Bluebeam to bear on the design team side of the construction industry.

    Land Development Quantities in Bluebeam

    This story was originally published by  on the Bluebeam Blog.

    By now you’ve read several of my articles showcasing various disciplines within the design and construction industry and how I’ve helped them implement Bluebeam within their workflows. Like all the others you can learn more about the technical tools in my parallel blog post, “Land Development Bluebeam Tools of the Trade.” This one has a little different backstory, but it speaks to my approach to every Bluebeam implementation.

    Early last year someone reached out to me following up on a referral. He asked if Bluebeam could do estimating for erosion control work. I quickly showed him on the fly how the basic tools could easily measure what he was looking for and explained how custom tools could take things to the next level. It’s always my goal to make the workflow as easy as possible. I tell my customers I want the intern next summer to get the same results as a senior estimator. Well-thought-out, standardized tools and workflows are key to success. It turns out he wasn’t looking for tools or workflow suggestions; he was looking for an estimating service.

    My kryptonite in business is wanting to help everyone—to the point where I become part of their team. That weakness, however, is also my superpower! In this process, I truly gain an understanding of the diverse struggles, goals, processes, and challenges every company deals with every day.

    Long story short, I somehow became an erosion control estimator. I built a handful of custom markup tools and delivered a material takeoff that was more accurate than the tabulation that was prepared using their existing workflows. I guess you could say I played the role of an intern and proved my point. I still get calls from time to time to do estimates for them and enjoy the change of pace. I’ve always embraced these engagements because what I learn each time sets me apart as a trainer. I’ve been told I explain things differently than other trainers and have a deeper knowledge of what Bluebeam can do. I made a habit of always answering “Yes and” when people ask if Bluebeam can do this or that. I never allow Bluebeam to be kept in a box.

    So I guess in this case, I’m sharing how I built an estimating department that over delivered to a repeat customer. Here is how I implemented my tools of choice.

    How Technology Can Help Construction Amid Economic Uncertainty

    This story was originally published by JAMES CHAMBERS on the Bluebeam Blog.

    Technology has the potential to eliminate redundant work and streamline mundane-yet-critical tasks, easing the burden on construction firms as they face a possibly challenging economy ahead.

    onths of political and economic uncertainty point to a potentially bleak outlook for the construction industry in 2023.

    According to the latest Autumn Construction Forecasts 2022–2024 from the Construction Products Association (CPA), construction output is expected to fall by 3.9% in 2023.

    As real wages plummet and further rises in interest rates are expected, demand for private housing new build and repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) is likely to fall as well.

    What’s more, those working in commercial and infrastructure are increasingly concerned about inflation driving up construction costs during a recession.

    While adopting new technologies can be daunting for any business, it would be remiss to rule anything out as the industry faces turbulent times. There are many ways in which technology can help businesses survive a construction recession.

    Mitigating the impact of a recession on the construction industry

    Building information modeling (BIM) has been around for a while, but the construction industry has generally been slow to embrace the digital world and what it has to offer.

    However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation in several industries, including construction, forcing companies to review their processes, operations and procedures, many of which were outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

    Organizations were given the opportunity to identify gaps that could be filled through digitalization, and embracing new technologies has enabled them to adopt solutions that might otherwise have taken years to integrate.

    Here are some ways in which technology can help the construction industry in a recession:

    1. It aids sustainability efforts

    One of technology’s biggest appeals relates to sustainability in that it enables businesses to become paperless, thus eradicating printing costs.

    Plus, having everything processed digitally not only reduces carbon footprints but also facilitates remote working – something many businesses had to adapt to for the first time during the pandemic.

    1. It improves collaboration

    Cloud technology makes it easier to share information even when you’re not physically in the same location; real-time data can be shared from any device at any time, so everyone has access to the latest information. This can help avoid unnecessary delays, saving time and resources.

    1. It streamlines processes and saves money

    There is a myriad of software that can be used to automate processes that have typically drained people’s time and energy. From payroll to scheduling to project management, there is a wide range of construction software out there that can help businesses save valuable time and money.

    1. It supports training

    It’s important to retain as many employees as possible, especially during a downturn and as the construction industry already struggles with recruitment. Technology can help connect your teams and offer access to flexible, up-to-date training.

    1. It minimizes re-work

    Re-work is one of the most common reasons construction companies lose money during projects. Not only does it extend the project schedule and risk late delivery, but it also impacts your company’s reputation, impacting the number of bids secured. Software can help track progress and bring the whole team together, making mistakes and problems less likely.

    Embracing digital construction during a recession

    Technology helps to boost productivity in the construction industry by streamlining and automating processes, and despite having a long way to go before being completely digitalized, firms that take advantage of its power have an opportunity to stand above competitors that are slow to adapt.

    Document Management vs. Content Management

     Document Management and Content Management

    Are they really the Same?

     

    Businesses generally have several software systems to manage their assets, content, data, and documents. Two software systems that often intersect are the Document Management (DMS) and Content Management (CMS) systems. Your greatest Business need will determine the type of system you invest in to manage your assets, content, data, and documents.

    Document management and content management are closely related and appear to be the same thing, however when you begin to analyze DMS  vs CMS, you begin to see the differences.

    Businesses researching options should focus on the type of challenge they are trying to resolve, secondly focus on technologies to address these challenges. If the core challenge is about the long-term preservation of your assets, content, data, and documents electronically, some form of a DMS system would be a likely candidate.

    On the other hand, if the file content is more fluid, typically presented on a web-based interface, then a CMS is the more likely candidate.

     

    WHAT IS DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT (DM)?

     

    Document Management (DM) is a system or process used to capture, track and store electronic documents, such as Adobe, AutoCAD, MS Office files along with digital images of paper-based content.

    Document management can save your business time and money. It provides assets, content, data, and document security, access control, centralized storage, audit trails and streamlined search and retrieval.

     

    WHAT IS A DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (DMS)?

     

    Document Management (DMS) to capture, store, manage, retain, assets, data, document content and its related metadata to allow for   regulatory compliance and workflow management. They include the functionality such as create, draft, generate templates, version, collaborate, secure, metadata, access rights, approvals, distribution, search, repository organization, archiving and retention policy management, along with reporting and auditing on these functions.

    The more advanced capabilities in a DMS can include object relationships, workflow, external sharing, auditing, record retention capabilities, co-authoring and more. Your IT team, Information Management team and others tasked with storing and managing your sensitive business information will be the owners of these systems.

    In review, your industry, environment, data, and documents requirements are extremely important when

    choosing a DMS system. An example are the highly regulated industries such as Energy, Health Care,  Government, Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical, these industries require a highly functional, and easily configurable system like MERIDIAN.

    In review, a DMS is used for collaboration or transactional functions to capture digital documents and store paper documents electronically.

     

    WHAT IS CONTENT MANAGEMENT (CM)?

     

    Content Management (CM) is a system or process used to assemble, organize, deliver, retrieve, and govern websites or enterprise business content.

     

    WHAT IS A CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS)?

     

    A Content Management (CMS) helps store, manage, personalize, and publish content digitally such as websites and other digital media. These are either integrated with other applications or separate applications sharing common Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and repositories.

    A CMS is one software component among a variety to manage a businesses digital asset management, customer data platforms, e-commerce, social media management, marketing automation and CRM requirements. The integration of these systems is described as a digital transformation platform. A CMS offers control over storage, access, and distribution of key content like logos, videos, audio file and documents.

    CMS is like a DMS system however it’s designed to focus on content type management like audio, images, web pages, video and other types like XML, HTML and JSON content.

     

     

    DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DOCUMENT AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT

     

    DATA TYPES

    DMS: Manages structured assets, content, data, and documents and is focused on the formats such as Adobe Acrobat (pdf), ASCII (aim), AutoCAD (dwg), Excel (xlsx), Word (docx), PowerPoint (ppt), Notepad (txt).

    CMS: Manages structured and unstructured data and is focused on formats such as web content Hypertext Markup Language (HTM, HTML), Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files and Digital Assets (images, audio and video) files.

    KEY PURPOSES

    DMS: To capture, store, manage, retain, assets, data, document content and its related metadata to allow for   regulatory compliance and workflow management.

    CMS: To store, store, manage, personalize, and publish content digitally such as websites and other digital media.

    BONUS FEATURES

    DMS: Advanced imaging, rendition, scanning capabilities such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Handpoint Character Recognition (HCR), and Optical Mark Recognition (OMR).

    CMS: To provide a custom Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) experience in digital arenas such as kiosks, or personalized spaces.

    INTEGRATIONS

    DMS: Enterprise Systems: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).

    CMS: Digital Asset Management: Bynder, Writer, Brandfolder, DemoUp and 4ALLPORTAL

    The differences between a DMS vs CMS are subtle and depend on how your business will use them.

    A DMS excels at the preservation and organization of the businesses content, data, and documents.

    CMS is often focused on the content presented at websites, which is not specific to individual documents. An example is the difference between a business’s corporate documents and their company web pages. The corporate documents potentially have legal, regulatory or contractual consequences where each change in the documents are captured like a snap shot in time. The business web pages are constantly updated with new content by authored by various sources. A DMS tracks the documents from cradle to grave and the CMS offers web-based tools to collaborate, edit and maintain content.

     

     

    WHAT A DMS AND CMS LOOK LIKE IN REAL LIFE

     

    Due to their shared functionality, DMS and CMS systems are theoretically similar but what about in real life? Let’s compare DMS and CMS systems that co-exist in one business. The business employs 1,500 employees and implemented a DMS and CMS platform.

     

    Document Management (DMS)

    The DMS is utilized to create and manage various document types (corporate, equipment, facility project, and maintenance). It contains Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities automating the creation of the related document meta data. It also has the automated document workflow functionality to notify the relevant personnel when review and approval is required. This allows for real-time collaboration when the documents are created and edited.

    The DMS offers document version control and audit trail tracking required for environmental, legal, and regulatory obligations. This ensures long-term management of the documents with ability to retrieve current or pervious versions of the documents at anytime.

     

    Content Management (CMS)

    The CMS provides the indexing and categorization of various content types (contracts, invoices, notes, purchase orders, reports and requisitions) providing the ability to store and structure accurately.

    To support easy retrieval of the information from multiple sources the CMS supports integration with other applications. It also supports the creation and publishing of analytic data, reports, internal business, marketing material and employee procedures. The content is in web-focused formats with built-in audio and video capabilities.

    This real life example shows us a DMS and CMS focus on different items: The DMS involves digitizing files, complying with environmental, legal, and regulatory obligations and guiding structured documents and their related meta-data through the whole document lifecycle from cradle to grave. The main purpose of the CMS is proper organization of both structured and unstructured digital assets to support accurate storage, easy retrieval and publishing of digital content.

     

     

     

    CONCLUSION

    So rather than view Document Management (DM) and Content Management (CM) as the same, view them as complementary. Together or alone, they can help your business effectively manage digital information. To learn more about Meridian solutions (EDMS and CMMS) and how they can help your team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the SolidCAD Meridian Team.

    The Bluebeam Feature That Will Make Your Workflows Way More Efficient

    This story was originally published by CHRIS GRAHAM on the Bluebeam Blog.

    ne of the most common themes of my discussions with people about Bluebeam is that they wish they could add just one important feature that would make their workflows much more efficient. My response is usually that it is already there.

    Often their eyes get big and they say, “Really?” And more often than not, these features are within the Status Bar. The Status Bar’s visibility can be toggled on and off with the F8 key. You’ll find several different buttons and dropdown menus at the bottom right of your screen (default).

    Grid

    The grid feature is the first of the buttons (hotkey: shift + F9). This turns on a visible grid within the document. The grid spacing is ¼-inch each way and cannot be altered. The grids don’t print or have any interactions with content or markups—they’re just visible guides. However, they can be snapped to by toggling the second button.

    Snap to Grid

    Selecting this button will highlight it, which toggles on the ability to snap to nodes of the grid. You can draw objects or move objects such that their nodes will snap to grid nodes.

    Snap to Content

    Toggling this button means that you can draw new markups or move markups such that the markup’s nodes will snap to the embedded content. “Content” refers to embedded lines, curves, nodes, etc., within the document itself (not markups). Flattened markups are considered as embedded content and can be snapped to using this feature. Documents plotted from CAD are perfect examples of documents with embedded content.

    Snap to markup

    Toggling this button allows markups to be moved or drawn such that their nodes will snap to other markups. “Markups” refers to “unflattened” markups within the document. Flattened markups become “content” for the purposes of the snap feature. This is a fan-favorite of CAD users.

    Reuse

    This feature allows you to repetitively use the same markup tool until you hit the escape key or right-click. Usually, to draw multiple lines you would press “L,” then click to start, click to stop; then you have to restart the process with pressing “L” again. But if the Reuse feature is enabled, you just keep clicking to draw lines until you’re done. Drawing each line becomes two actions instead of three, which adds up over very repetitive tasks.

    Sync

    The sync button is actually a dropdown menu with two different options. The sync feature allows multiple windows of Bluebeam to maintain the same view—when one pans or zooms, so will the other(s). This works with multiple monitors, split-view tabs within the same window and multiple tabs in different windows.

    Document: Selecting this option from the dropdown menu makes it such that not only is the view on the page synced, but when you navigate to a different page, it does likewise in the other window(s). For example, I often review multiple versions of the same document of the same length to compare changes. This allows me to pan, zoom or change page and seamlessly see both versions simultaneously. It tracks the PDF page number, even if the documents are different lengths. So a 14-page document can be compared to the first 14 pages of an 18-page document, but moving to pages 15-18 of the second document will keep the first document at page 14.

    Page: This option doesn’t allow the page to change in the other windows when the page changes in one window, but still zooms and pans. The Status Bar, viewable with the F8 key, is home to several powerful tools. Each of them brings massive potential time savings or increased accuracy. I sincerely hope that you discover a new favorite feature within the Status Bar.

    Why are ‘Generic’ Document Management Tools Costing Organizations?

    Organizations recognize the need for an electronic document management solution to store and manage their documentation

    In many cases to fulfill their business needs the decision is to use a ‘Generic’ document management solution. In the beginning, it seems to be a cost-effective solution however in reality a ‘Generic’ document management solution is missing key features such as:

     

    Key FeatureDescriptionBenefits
    Document LifecycleCreate, Store, Share, Revise and ArchiveEasy Access, Cost Efficient, Integrated, Secure and Increased Productivity
    Automated WorkflowsAccess Control, Permissions, Edit, Review, Approve and IssueEasier Collaboration, Improved Document Quality, Streamlined Metrics, Audit Trail, Time, and Money Savings
    Management of ChangeRequest, Initiate, Create, Version, Review, Update, Approve and ImplementIncreased Productivity, Effective Communication, Better Teamwork and Collaboration

     

    There are several ‘Generic’ document management solutions available, like Dropbox Business, Google Docs, Microsoft SharePoint, PDFelement Pro. Today, many businesses continue to rely on these types of solutions for their document management needs. Their reasons are generally:

    • ‘It’s what we have always used.’
    • ‘It’s saving us money by avoiding the implementation costs of a fit for purpose document management solution.

    Unfortunately, hindsight is 20-20 and Organizations realize the implementation of a ‘Generic’ document management solution came with limited capabilities such as no document lifecycle, management of change, and workflow functionality. This causes inefficient processes, and additional costs according to a McKinsey Global Institute report:

    • Employees spend the average of 1.8 hours per day or 9.3 hours per week searching and collecting document information.
    • Approximately 20% of business time – the equivalent to one day per week is squandered by employees searching for documentation to do their job effectively.
    • The McKinsey Global Institute data shows a knowledgeable employee spends 2.5 hours per day or 30% of the workday searching for document information.

    To remedy the ‘Generic’ document management solution’s inefficient functionality additional budget is utilized to customize the functionality to allow for more efficient functionality and processes. These customizations can cause the document management to become unstable and may void any software warranties.

    Generic Document Management Solutions can work

    Generic document management solutions like Dropbox Business, Google Docs, Microsoft SharePoint, PDFelement Pro and other ‘Generic’ solutions are appropriate for:

    • Small to mid-sized Organizations.
    • Only basic document management functionality is required.
    • Collaboration across departments or external parties is not required.

    These solutions tend to work as a digital filing cabinet, allowing Documentation to be saved and shared to groups in an accessible location. This only functions for non-technical Documentation that don’t require technical reviews or approvals.  It provides:

    • The ability to save, search and share internally across the Organization.
    • Cloud-based file synchronization.
    • Mobile device access.
    • User friendly and easy access to main page, libraries, and lists.

    WHERE GENERIC DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FAIL

    While these ‘Generic’ Management Solutions provide a role, the robust functionality required to manage engineering and technical documentation in a project environment is lacking.

    ‘Generic’ Document Management Solutions work best is in a static documentation lifecycle from create to archive. Typically, there are three main documentation lifecycles:

     

    LifecyclesDescription
    ConcurrentCreate, Simultaneous Reviews, Simultaneous Revisions, Approve, Finalize, Issue and Archive
    DynamicCreate, Review, Revise, Approve, Finalize, Issue and Archive
    StaticCreate, No Changes, Issue and Archive

     

    Concurrent and dynamic documentation lifecycles are commonly applied to engineering and technical documentation within a project or facility environment. Due to nature of the project and facility environments these documentation types generally follow a rigorous management of change process involving multiple reviews, revisions, and approvals. This causes the documentation to be difficult to manage, access and distribute to the stakeholders.

    Organizations try to integrate Construction Information, Design Information, ‘Generic’ Document, Finance Information and to the ‘Generic’ Document and Finance Information Management Solution which can cause additional challenges due to the complexities of the integration between the systems along with the limited functionality of the ‘Generic’ Document Management.

    THE TRUE VALUE OF MERIDIAN ENTERPRISE AND MERIDIAN CLOUD

    To effectively manage, access and distribute the unstructured engineering and non-technical documentation requires a robust document management solution powered by for a purpose-built document management system like Meridian Enterprise and Cloud.

    Unfortunately, Organizations struggling with the limitations of their current ‘Generic’ Document Management Solution often struggle to measure and rationalize the benefits of a dedicated Document Management Solution.

    Quantifiable benefits to better understand the Return On Investment (ROI) for a Document Management Solution.

    STREAMLINE AND CONTROL DOCUMENTATION SHARING

    DIFFICULTY: MANAGING PROJECT AND FACILITY DOCUMENTATION

    Organizations often have difficulties managing their medium-to-large projects and facilities due to their inter-department, multi-discipline, and external resources allocated to the projects and facilities. This leads to mishandled documentation because of the multiple reviews, revisions, and approval cycles required to ensure the organizational, legal, and regulatory requirements are adhered.

    An example is a ‘XREF’ file an ‘external reference’ to another drawing file or component. One file can reference multiple files then display them as if they were one file. ‘XREF’ files can be revised, attached, or removed from the main drawing. ‘XREF’ drawings can reference other ‘XREF’ drawings within them called ‘nesting’. Throughout the documentation handover process from the projects to facilities or external resources to the projects, this documentation is often mismanaged then required by the maintenance or operations personnel.

    This type of documentation mismanagement can impact maintenance times and safety leading to additional cost and re-work.

    SOLUTION: MERIDIAN

    Meridian streamlines the project and facility documentation management by utilizing a controlled digital environment to manage the Organizations ‘incoming’ and ‘outgoing’ submissions from their inter-department, multi-discipline, and external resources. This controlled digital environment eliminates the necessity to use uncontrolled or unsanctioned tools such as Dropbox, network drives or email to transfer project, facility legal and regulatory documentation.

    ELIMINATE EXCESSIVE AND UNPLANNED EXPENSES

    DIFFICULTY: HIGH COSTS DUE TO A ‘GENERIC’ DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTION

    The maintenance of a ‘Generic’ Document Management Solution and the ‘make it work’ strategy becomes very expensive to manage. The Organization’s IT team often don’t have the extensive training or experience to customize, maintain, and overcome the limitations of the ‘Generic’ Document Management Solutions.

    This type of excessive and unplanned expenses can cause added pressure to the IT team.

    SOLUTION: MERIDIAN

    Meridian’s Software as Service (SaaS) subscription provides the complete maintenance, support, upgrades, and patches required. The upgrades are provided quarterly, and all users are actively invited to suggest improvements in the application. Outsourcing the system design, maintenance and services reduces the Organizations internal IT team’s maintenance and labor costs by more than 50% when compared to a ‘Generic’ Document Management Solutions maintenance.

    OPTIMIZE THE FACILITY MAINTENANCE DOCUMENTATION

    DIFFICULTY: INADEQUATE WORK ORDER AND MAINTENANCE DOCUMENTATION

    The ‘Generic’ Document Management Solution, project and facility engineers’, technicians, and inter-departmental personnel struggle to locate the correct documentation and specific revisions. This occurs because they are required to search multiple systems. Once the work order or maintenance

    documentation is located, it’s difficult to verify the documentation is the latest revision and latest information. This can drastically slow down the work order and maintenance package preparation leading to:

    • Errors
    • Safety Issues
    • Higher Costs
    • Undocumented Changes
    • Bootleg Revisions
    • Lack of a Single Source of Truth

    SOLUTION: MERIDIAN

    Meridian provides a single source for all documentation with several ways to search for all types of critical documentation, drawings, and associated assets. A user can locate the documentation required via an asset search, location, asset name and several other identifiers. In just a few mouse clicks, the maintenance teams will have all their required information necessary to complete the task efficiently with less man hours.

    Users can also easily mark-up documentation on their mobile device, adding comments and pictures to submit management of change requests directly to the project and facilities teams in Meridian. This type of access allows the most current documentation on any device anywhere.

    Organizations can ensure that the project, facility engineers’, technicians, and inter-departmental personnel can execute work orders efficiently, reducing errors, unnecessary trips, and prep time when executing work-orders. This leads to a reduction in the time, lower associated labor costs, lower preparation, and delivery times. Meridian could save your engineers’, technicians, and inter-departmental personnel approx. an hour a day.

    • Calculation: # of Personnel x $X (hourly rate) x 1 hr. = YOUR POTENTIAL

    This would provide faster issue remediation and the ability to use the savings in other ways.

    REDUCE OPERATING EXPENDITURES

    DIFFICULTY: HIGH LICENSE AND PAPER EXPENSES

    There are significant costs associated with providing documentation to the correct recipients in a timely manner this generally includes printing, copying, collating and courier pick-ups and deliveries to various stakeholders. If any of these tasks are delayed or missed this could cause schedule delays and unnecessary added cost. A dedicated Document Management Solution can eliminate these unnecessary schedule delays and added costs.

    SOLUTION: MERIDIAN

    Meridian offers solutions to both problems. With Meridian, Organizations can often consolidate vendors and licenses into one system, reducing the costs associated with duplicate legacy ‘Generic’ Document Solutions and associated systems. Additionally, by allowing users to access the most up-to-date documentation on any device, Meridian eliminates a large quantity of manual labor thus assisting the Organizations to execute scopes of work and maintenance on schedule and budget. This ultimately leads to savings not only in project and facility costs but also stakeholder time and employee efficiency.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    In short, the true cost of maintaining a ‘Generic’ Document or Legacy solution is higher than you might expect. Thanks to the large inadequacies (and increasing costs) that come with these solutions, these ‘Generic’ solutions increase an Organizations time, efficiency, and revenue in the long run.

    It’s time to switch from a ‘Generic’ Document solution to a consolidated fit-for-purpose Document Management Solution – MERIDIAN.

    ROI ESTIMATES

    CLOUD DEPLOYMENT

    CLOUD – VALIDATED (MC4LS) DEPLOYMENT

    ON-PREM