Bluebeam’s parent unveils plan for common data interface

The parent company of 15 of the biggest brands in the built environment sector is to develop shared technology which will allow easier collaboration for designers and construction firms meeting Level 2 BIM.

Nemetschek, the strategic holding company for digital construction technologies including Bluebeam, Vectorworks, Solibri, Allplan and Graphisoft, has announced that is to develop a common data environment (CDE) which allows all of the data involved in a project and all of the processes, changes and sign-offs to be stored in a single repository.

Sharing information in a CDE is a requirement of achieving Level 2 BIM – but because there is no single open source standard for all types of data, information is often linked to 3D model data and a separate one for documents and processes.

The CDE Nemetschek has announced will be based on Bluebeam’s collaboration technology. Bluebeam Revu, a PDF-based process efficiency tool, fosters collaboration between teams by allowing mark-ups to be shared digitally.

Team members mark-up changes on a PDF which are tracked. The idea will be to extend this facility for storing data and tracking changes right through the whole project process.

“With the businesses we have, Nemetschek’s solutions empower digital workflows across all the phases of the construction project. Instead of our constituent brands independently building something new to meet BIM Level 2, it made more sense to pull together and provide a cohesive solution to the customer,” said Sean Flaherty, chief strategic officer at Nemetschek Group.

Flaherty said that Bluebeam’s collaboration platform had become a de facto standard and addresses many of the document and process challenges that BIM level 2 identifies. It made sense, therefore, for Nemetschek to invest by leveraging Bluebeam’s mature technology rather than creating something entirely new from scratch.

“The Bluebeam Studio collaboration platform is one of the most widely used construction collaboration platforms in the world, processing more than 1.5 million transactions per day,” said Don Jacob, chief technology officer at Bluebeam.

“Leveraging Bluebeam’s technology as the CDE framework for Nemetschek Group solutions is a natural evolution of the collaboration platform, connecting model-authoring eco-systems through open BIM techniques. Our goal in building this CDE is to link systems together building a centralised system for all disciplines, phases and products.”

Jacob further explained that other Nemetschek Group solutions, such as Graphisoft BIMCloud or Allplan BIMPlus, will have links into the Bluebeam environment from their modelling environment, enabling more efficient project management through increased collaboration.

Jacob did not put a timescale on the introduction of the CDE, preferring to describe it as “over the next few years”.

However, in December the first step towards greater collaboration among the Nemetschek firms was announced between ArchiCAD 21 and Bluebeam Revu.

This recent development delivers greater automation between the 2D and 3D model by automatically linking changes made to a 2D PDF in Bluebeam Revu with the 3D model created in ArchiCAD – the Graphisoft 3D design tool, Jacob explained.

This capability enables any mark-up created in Revu to be imported as a native ArchiCAD mark-up entry, automatically appearing in the correct location on the design model without manual intervention. It is said to significantly speed up the processing of changes and interventions between teams.

Instead of our constituent brands independently building something new to meet BIM Level 2, it made more sense to pull together and provide a cohesive solution to the customer.– Sean Flaherty, Nemetschek Group

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