No one would ever accuse me of being “tech savvy”, but over the past few years I have learned a few things about PDF plan file sizes, print costs and sharing the files in the cloud that help all of our designers at RDS. Maybe a few of these ideas could make your daily work load a little lighter.
Up until a few years ago we printed plans and then had to run them around to subs and tradespeople to get bids and then provide everyone with new sets after the cost driven changes were made. I know some folks are still doing it that way because “my subs don’t use computers”. They don’t use computers because you haven’t required them to join the computer age.
We find file sizes have continued to grow to the point that Gmail and some of the other servers will not accept the plans w/o breaking them down into separate sheets. To get around this problem we use DropBox. Why?
• It’s free up to a certain storage size.
• It works like a file folder on your computer desk top.
• You invite who you want to join the folder - subs and tradespeople.
• When you add a file to your desktop it appears in theirs.
• It provides everyone with the most up to date file.
• You don’t have to pay for prints or spend hours running plans everywhere.
• Subs and tradepeople are responsible for printing their own sets for bid meetings or going paperless with an iPad or other device.
Bluebeam is another great tool we use when designing, or planning renovations or remodels.
• It is an inexpensive program that PDF plans can be loaded into for use on an iPad device that allows photographs to be taken on the job site.
• Notes can be added to the photos along with adding notes to the PDF plans-making you more efficient and knowing anyone can read your notes.
• You can also send the file afterwards to everyone who needs it.
At RDS, as house designers, we’re proud if the fact that we are evolving with the times and boosting our communication and efficiency for our clients, you the builders, and everyone else we work with! Hopefully these tips will help you find a few additional hours of productive time each week and keep everyone you work with instantly up to date with the latest info. Good communication can be a wonderful thing!