Nicholas Smith was about to finish his undergraduate degree in engineering when he received a tap on the shoulder with a question: ‘Are you busy?’
Completing an internship with Robert Bird Group in Sydney, Australia, at the time, Smith answered with a swift ‘no’.
Little did he realise in the moment that his professional life for the next five years was about to change.
For the project he was asked to work on – Crown Sydney, a 71-storey, US$2.2 billion (AU$2.97) skyscraper – would set the course of his young engineering career.
‘That was a pretty long and wild journey’, Smith said of working on Crown Sydney, a landmark building completed in late 2020. ‘But I got to learn a lot over the course of that project.’
Since working on Crown Sydney, Smith has gone on to establish himself in the local construction industry community – even as the COVID-19 pandemic has completely locked down Australia for much of the past year and a half, making it difficult to connect with peers and colleagues in person.
In fact, finishing the skyscraper – now the city’s tallest, with luxury apartments, a hotel and casino, as well as two rooftop decks and numerous restaurants – took place as Smith and his engineering colleagues were working from home amid the early months of the pandemic.
Engineering a big-city skyscraper from home wouldn’t have been possible without Bluebeam Revu, Smith said. When construction on Crown Sydney first started in 2016, the team was still using paper-based drawings. But the skyscraper’s unique design required an especially large volume of documents.
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This is when some of Smith’s colleagues at Robert Bird Group started experimenting with Revu for markups and coordination. Six months later, the entire team (and project) was paperless.
Since then, Smith said Revu has been essential to his working life. It’s why not long after being introduced to the software, he joined the local Bluebeam User Group (BUG), and it’s why when recently asked to take over as the group’s leader, he didn’t hesitate.
‘I just realised that knowledge sharing in such a community was something I hadn’t really experienced before’, Smith said of his initial BUG meetings.
Being part of the local BUG, Smith said, has been invaluable to his continued use of Revu on projects. Being able to connect with others and share knowledge – even if it’s virtual, due to the pandemic – has helped him learn far more than he would have been able to on his own.
Besides the technical benefits that Smith said have come from being involved in the BUG, the gatherings have given valuable opportunities to connect and network with peers across the industry.
‘Especially recently with COVID, even though everything has gone virtual, you get to interact with other people and talk about their experiences’, Smith said. ‘I think that’s a really good additional benefit for attending.’
Smith said the next Sydney BUG meeting is scheduled for early November, and since the meetings remain virtual, it’s easier than ever to attend online. Even if you’re not located near or around Sydney, Smith said everyone with a ‘curiosity and interest’ in Bluebeam is welcome to attend and participate.
Remaining connected throughout the construction industry on Bluebeam is more important than ever, because Revu and its related features are ‘almost becoming a project requirement’, Smith said.
‘I think Bluebeam is going to become more prominent as projects are delivered across the country, between countries, on the other side of the world’, he added.