Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Nemetschek AG will acquire Bluebeam Software, Inc.
October 16th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Nemetschek AG Vectorworks CEO Sean Flaherty spoke with AECCafe Voice about the recent acquisition by Nemetschek of the PDF workflow solution company Bluebeam Software, Inc. Nemetschek will acquire 100% of Bluebeam Software. Headquartered in Pasadena, Calif. Bluebeam is a provider of PDF-based workflow solutions for digital processes and collaboration in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industry with more than 650,000 users worldwide. Over 74% of the top U.S. companies in the construction industry are Bluebeam customers. According to the company’s own calculations, the use of Bluebeam solutions increases productivity by 60%, reduces the costs of paper and distribution by up to 85%, and leads to a reduction of schedules of 40%. Bluebeam Software offers Bluebeam Revu, which provides PDF creation, markup, editing and collaboration, Bluebeam Vu, a free PDF viewer and Bluebeam for iPad, providing the functionality of Revu especially for mobile users, Bluebeam Q, automating the production of PDFs from original source files, and Bluebeam Studio Enterprise, a server-based solution for collaboration in a locally hosted environment.
AECCafe Voice: What PDF solution for collaboration was Nemetschek using previously?
Sean Flaherty: For years, Nemetschek Group products have produced high-quality PDF files so we have many customers already using PDF in their standard processes. Until the Bluebeam acquisition, we didn’t have a PDF-centric workflow solution.
AECCafe Voice: What type of collaboration is improved by this acquisition?
Sean Flaherty: Bluebeam is a perfect addition that strengthens our solution portfolio across the entire life cycle of the building process by adding drawing-based workflows to augment our model-based BIM workflows. With our Open BIM philosophy, we are committed to making project information available to everyone – a belief strongly held by Bluebeam, as well. Bluebeam Studio provides a fantastic PDF drawing workflow solution to ensure that drawings, markups, and updates are shared in a high quality fashion throughout the construction process.
AECCafe Voice: What changes, if any, will occur in Bluebeam to integrate with Vectorworks?
Sean Flaherty: Each Vectorworks product writes high-quality, intelligent PDF files. We’ve tested the output with Bluebeam and confirmed excellent compatibility. This means that today Vectorworks customers can already work inside the traditional Bluebeam workflow. We’re now testing compatibility of our IFC model exchange as this is a growing area of demand in the construction world. In the future, we’ll work with Bluebeam to identify further integration possibilities, but we don’t have anything specific to announce, yet.
AECCafe Voice: Will Bluebeam remain available for sale to other legacy customers not using Vectorworks software?
Sean Flaherty: We believe the customer benefits from the use of open standards and the choice to use the products that best meet their needs. This means that Bluebeam will continue to support all the products they currently do. A key advantage of the Bluebeam offering is that their customers don’t have to worry about which package was used to create the drawings and allows construction companies to work with drawings created in multiple products.
AECCafe Voice: Have Bluebeam sales been predominantly North American up to this acquisition?
Sean Flaherty: Yes, North America has been the largest geographic market for Bluebeam. In recent years, they’ve established some new territories in Europe and have a small but growing presence. The Nemetschek Group is an AEC leader in Europe with large market share and brand recognition. This is one of the key strategic synergies of the acquisition. Bluebeam can leverage our global brand and know-how to accelerate their globalization.
AECCafe Voice: Can you give me an idea of a sample workflow involving Bluebeam and Vectorworks?
Sean Flaherty: The architect chosen to design a building is a Vectorworks Architect customer. When the design is complete, the drawings will be issued to the construction company as PDF documents. Those documents will be added to a Bluebeam Studio project to be shared among the necessary construction workers who will use Bluebeam Revu to access and view them. A typical Bluebeam Revu user is somebody on the construction site involved in construction management. If an issue is identified that needs to be coordinated with the architect, the PDF file can be marked up using Revu’s markup tools and submitted back to Studio for escalation. The project manager could then submit those markups back to the architect who can important them into Vectorworks Architect for consideration and possibly re-issue the drawing documents as a PDF. The updates to the original documents will be automatically distributed throughout the construction site through Studio ensuring that everyone is aware of the changes. Then, the cycle begins again.
AECCafe Voice: Will Bluebeam retain office and staff?
Sean Flaherty: Yes. The Nemetschek Group is a decentralized strategic holding company that goes to market through strong, independent brands. Bluebeam will retain its independence to make the strategic and staffing decisions necessary to continue its success. We hope to retain the staff and culture that they’ve spent more than a decade building.