A critical aspect of structural engineering education is helping students develop effective electronic graphical communication skills to convey their design solutions. Many undergraduate civil and architectural engineering programs address this at the document creation stage by teaching Autodesk AutoCAD or Revit to create 2-D or 3-D structural design files. However, students tend to have limited exposure to commercial software for document management and markup that allows for coordination between the engineer, architect, and contractor teams. Bluebeam Revu is one such software that has emerged as an industry standard for annotation and markup of engineering design documents.
Previous educational studies on the use of Bluebeam have been in construction management courses where students practice plan reading. The main motivation for instructors to incorporate this software in their classes is to expose students to technology they will encounter as practitioners, especially significant since contractors view these drawings as a legal description of their scope of work. Therefore, the production and interpretation of the documents requires that they exhibit a high level of accuracy, specificity, and clarity.
This paper focuses on the use of Bluebeam markup and grading in architectural engineering courses to enable communication between faculty and students during the iterative structural design process. The paper provides sample student hand calculations, sketches, and CAD structural drawings with Bluebeam markups provided by practitioner faculty. This markup describes and models how the student might implement necessary design changes.
Feedback collected via interviews of course graders, surveys of students, and faculty co-authors is included and illustrates that the use of Bluebeam markup in architectural engineering courses provides a meaningful and efficient review during the development of a structural design solution. The goal of this paper is to show instructors how to integrate Bluebeam into a course, beyond plan reading activities. Faculty will thus be equipped to educate students on a software commonly used in structural design firms for quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) and communication between the design and construction disciplines.
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