Márkus Engineering decided they needed to 'up their game' to meet the challenges of Covid-19. They found that online collaboration with Bluebeam Revu achieved just that, while providing other benefits too

Budapest-based civil engineering firm Márkus Engineering is seizing the opportunity to be at the forefront of the burgeoning AEC industry in Hungary. The family-run multidisciplinary engineering and management firm, based in Budapest, specialises in high-end building projects, managing over 60 projects worth over 40 million euros, overseeing everything from design through to operation, is upping its game with Revu.

At the beginning of 2020, Managing Director Tamás Márkus Sr. set his intention for the firm to become more digital and BIM-focused, because in his words, "either you keep up or you fall behind." His goal is to position Márkus Engineering as a progressive firm at the forefront of Hungary's rapidly growing AEC market. The switch to digital, however, became an urgent priority when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe: Márkus had to adapt to maintain communication and progress on the hotel project during lockdown.

In 2020, with face-to-face work restricted by the coronavirus pandemic, Márkus Engineering needed a reliable online project collaboration platform to maintain information flow between project teams both on- and off-site. When lockdown procedures were introduced, the firm was in the midst of managing a major renovation project in the heart of Budapest - the creation of a new Radisson Collection Hotel in St. Stephen's Square. With delivery of the high-stakes project under threat, the Márkus team needed a solution that would help them stay on schedule and on budget. Crucially, the solution had to work with Archicad, Graphisoft's BIM software, which was used by the project's designers and architects.

Tamás Márkus Jr., engineer, suggested trying Revu, as he'd experienced how easy it was to use while working at another firm. With Graphisoft's help, Markus installed Revu, enabling them to keep the hotel project on schedule, despite lockdown restrictions. Project teams found that they could switch seamlessly to remote working thanks to Archicad's Bluebeam Connection, which integrates Graphisoft's BIM authoring tool with the design review workflows in Revu. Better yet, switching to digital collaboration with Revu significantly streamlined working processes, leading to time and cost savings across the project. Design reviews, quantity takeoffs and estimations were all much quicker.

Márkus has now made its switch to Revu permanent. It's the firm's strong belief that BIM-based solutions are needed to provide the best possible quality of service and communication tool to clients. And in Márkus' experience, Graphisoft's and Bluebeam's solutions are among the most competitive and simple to use.

Their most ambitious project to date is building the new Radisson Collection Hotel in Budapest's central plaza, St. Stephen's Square - a spectacular hotel to attract tourists to the centre of Budapest. Márkus was appointed to manage and provide technical supervision to ensure project delivery on time and on budget. Construction on the 71-room hotel began in mid-2019 and is set to complete in 2021. The renovation involves 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.

The Budapest Radisson project was designed using Graphisoft's Archicad. Bluebeam and Graphisoft are sister companies under the Nemetschek brand, a leading global software provider for the AEC industry that covers the entire lifecycle of building and infrastructure projects.

Graphisoft's Bluebeam Connection provides a bidirectional link between Archicad and Revu. All markups created in Revu are imported as native Archicad entries, appearing in the correct location on design layouts, without any manual work, and saving time in design reviews.

Revu's Studio allows users to invite team members from anywhere in the world to collaborate, giving external stakeholders the ability to mark up 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 quickly bring the Radisson project teams up to speed with Studio's functionality.

The Archicad-Revu design review workflow allows Views or layouts to be saved as PDFs in Archicad, to be sent to project stakeholders for markup in Studio. The PDF markups are subsequently re-imported into Archicad using Bluebeam Connection, allowing Architects to manage the markups using the Markup Tools palette

Switching to Archicad-Revu led to a 50% time savings 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 a blessing.

Márkus found several other key features in Revu sped up design reviews, such as the creation of customised Tool Chests, to supplement pre-made speciality toolsets within Revu, which make marking up and measuring much faster. Each discipline creates its own designated toolset. Customised Tool Chests have also proved useful for creating fault logs, which are automatically tracked in the Markups List.

Physical document comparison can take up a lot of time. With Revu, Márkus could automatically compare two documents in minutes, saving time and reducing human error. In addition, spotting differences between plans and dealing with any resulting cost changes is faster and more accurate in Revu. Changes can be marked in different colors using the Overlay Pages function, and work can then be accounted for and acted on.

Submittal Reviews are simpler with Studio. Because remote and on-site workers can add markups 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.

To meet their complex document management challenge, Márkus used Studio Projects to host a Digital Dashboard, using it on a daily basis to access up-to-date project information, from construction drawings to RFIs. Digital Dashboard is a customisable navigation interface that links to a folder structure granting quick access to important project files. 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.

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. Using 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".

Quantity takeoffs and estimations are critical for every construction project, and dedicated calculation functions in Revu enabled Markus to complete quantity takeoffs and estimations five times faster than before. The team also found the improved accuracy of Revu's Dynamic Fill function and measurement were particularly helpful, as was the electronic signature tool for RFI approvals and registration.

Since the majority of architects in Hungary (89%) use Archicad, the easy integration with Revu helped Márkus collaborate with designers. While Márkus' partners who hadn't worked with Bluebeam before, adapted to it easily, and now have plans to adopt it for other projects. "With the help of Bluebeam, we're taking the first steps on the technology ladder. It's helped us put our small business on an equal footing with bigger players to gain a competitive edge in the local market," Tamus Markus Sr. added.

Márkus saved thousands of euros in paper printing costs with Revu. What's more, it helped eliminate human error. Previously, the team had to manually red-line delivered prints and digital PDF files, 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 level up their digital workflows, reducing overall work hours on the Radisson project. Time is money in construction, and any time saved adds profit to the bottom line. The team has a new digital strategy in place, which includes Graphisoft and Bluebeam on all future projects to keep pace with the industry, staying agile and competitive.