Jim's Tips of the Trade…..Plan Distribution

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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. Maybe a few of these ideas could make your daily workload 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 without breaking them down into separate sheets. To get around this problem we use DropBox. It is free up to a certain storage size and works like a file folder on your computer desktop. The beautiful thing about it is that you can invite your suns and tradespeople to join the folder. When you add a file to your desktop it appears in theirs. They always have the most up to date file and you don’t have to pay for prints or spend hours running plans everywhere. They’re responsible for printing their own sets for bid meetings or going paperless with an iPad or another device.

Bluebeam 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 and notes added to them along with adding notes to the PDF plans-no more rolling a set out and trying to write notes in mid-air and trying to read your scribble later. You can also send the file afterwards to everyone who needs it.

Now you’ve found a few additional hours of productive time each week and everyone you work with is instantly up to date with the latest info. Good communication can be a wonderful thing!