It’s no secret that government (city, county, state, and federal) agencies do not run like well-oiled machines. Likewise, many people would rather take a beating than make the trip to a local government office to take care of business. But, why does this continue to be such a problem?


In pre-COVID-19 times, old school pen and paper workflow in largely to blame. This system is classically inefficient and could certainly use a refresh to simply things to get stuff done faster. Take for instance the activity of submitting building permits.


In this case, a powerful and easy to use PDF solution would be game changer. Check out how Bluebeam Revu software is improving the ways agencies handle their final plan submittals.




[ Download a free 30 trial of Bluebeam Revu ]


The historic submittal experience

Here is how it usually goes. When a property developer starts a new project, he or she must submit a building permit. The delivery of this paper work, including a plan set, is usually done in person.


That means a dreaded physical trip to the downtown office, consuming valuable time. Once there, the front desk staff will take the paperwork, process it, and escalate it to the next level—a plan review.


After the application has reached the reviewer, any issues on the document are marked up by hand, usually with highlighters and colored pens.


When the review is completed, the plans are then returned to others in the agency staff for further processing and transcribing before finally returning to the developer. Once the developer receives the marked-up package, it must be revised and resubmitted via the same method.


Then, rinse and repeat as many times as it takes until the project is approved. Ultimately, this back-and-forth sequence can take weeks, which in today’s world is an abomination.





Improvements in motion

So, how can the plan submittal process be improved? By converting it from a physical one to a digital one. 


The sudden impact of COVID-19 lockdowns instantly required adoption of remote processes. So, many municipalities have already made the switch to electronic submittals, but there are plenty of smaller agencies out there that still rely on the paper process. 


Moving the submittal process from a physical workflow to a digital workflow is the key. Bluebeam Revu is a great tool to accomplish this. An application like this enables government users to instantly collaborate with their clients on screen, mark up, edit, and digitally sign documents of all types.


Plus, every markup, edit, and note made is tracked and recorded in the Advanced Markups List.




Bluebeam’s Markups List keeps track of all markups, notes, and annotations in a format much like Microsoft Excel. So, all the data can be quickly sorted, filtered, and customized. This brings a high-level of familiarity to Revu users, greatly minimizing the learning curve for everybody.


Just like in Excel, everything tracked in the Markups List can be exported, including CSV and PDF file formats. This greatly enhances the ability to easily share information and even gives users the capacity to import the data into another application if needed.


Once everything is in order with the submittal, the application can be digitally signed off and sent back to the developer resulting in a quick approval. And Voila! The project is ready to advance to the next step.


Takeoff are recorded in the Markups List - Bluebeam - TAVCO


Besides speeding things along, digital workflows can have other major impacts too. For instance, most government agencies are required to keep records for the past 50 years.


If these records are in paper form, that creates some challenges. For one, paper documents require a vast amount of storage. In today’s world, that storage real estate can be better utilized in other more productive ways. As a result, many agencies are digitizing those hard copies of plans.


Not only does this free up existing space, but it also offers redundancy as digital files are easy to back up and archive. Plus, digital files are protected agains flood and fire threats.


The other problem revolves around the recall of older files. No matter how organized an office is, when it comes to managing many paper files, documents are bound to be lost and/or misplaced. When that happens, people are not happy.



Especially in a post COVID-19 world, just about everything in our lives is digitally connected. So, isn’t it time for our local government offices to advance their infrastructure at bit?


Digital construction submittal processes are extremely efficient  and are vastly superior to old school pen and paper processes.


Adopting a digtial platform, such as Bluebeam Revu, can greatly speed up the process and  vastly improved user experience for all parties involved—the submitter and the agency staff. So, go digital and be happy!


How has Bluebeam Revu helped you with construction submittals?


Get a Free Trial of Bluebeam Revu

Free Trial


Explore these popular links about Revu on TAVCO.

What's Bluebeam Revu and Who Uses It?

How to Highlight Data in Bluebeam Revu

How to Search Construction Plans with Bluebeam Revu

Shortcut Cheat sheet for Bluebeam Revu

How to Buy Bluebeam


Article originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020.

Bluebeam, Revu, eXtreme, Studio and Batch Link are registered trademarks of Bluebeam, Inc., used under license.



Kevin Vaughan
Post by Kevin Vaughan
September 12, 2020
Kevin Vaughan is the Vice President of TAVCO and heads up Sales, Digital Marketing, and E-Commerce channels. With over two decades of experience, he has received various awards for sales performance and channel growth. Published articles focus on AEC technologies including laser scanning, 3D cameras, CAD software, and large format plotters. When he is not geeking out on new technologies, you can find him hanging with his wife and kids, playing guitar, or Scuba diving.