Bluebeam software played a key role in improving the efficiency of an award-winning bus station construction project in Wales
One of the busiest bus stations in Wales had seen better days. Built in the 1960s, it was dilapidated, fell well below Equality Act standards and had become a hotbed of anti-social behaviour. Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (MTCBC) envisioned a new state-of-the-art facility next to the station that would be a modern, high-quality transportation hub.
The team created an iconic 14-bay bus interchange to reflect both heritage and the future. Funded in part by a Welsh Government initiative to make public transport electric by 2028, MTCBC has placed social value and sustainability at the heart of the project.
MTCBC found that Bluebeam software fostered clear and timely communication between its internal teams, builder Morgan Sindall and architect Capita, leading to successful collaboration on sustainable initiatives.
Bluebeam allowed the team to communicate five times faster. Tasks that usually took a week only took a day. Bluebeam was part of the standard toolkit for both companies, so the entire team, including many contractors, used it throughout the project. This made change management easier, as there was a single source of the most up-to-date information at all times.
The flexibility of Bluebeam’s design review, quantity, and estimating tools made it easier for the team to adapt to this change. The quantity and estimate processes were at least 80% faster, Morgan Sindall said.
Benefits of Bluebeam on a recent construction project in Wales
- Five times more productive thanks to digital collaboration; talks that would have taken five days took one.
- 50% faster design team process and 80% time savings on calculations and quantity estimates.
- The overlay feature was an invaluable way to compare plans, quickly spot design differences, and communicate updates when plans changed.
- Markups and markup list made it easy for the project planner to plan the work quickly and easily.
- Thanks to a strong collaboration, the team finished on time despite the Covid-19.
- The bus interchange has won three national awards.
Bluebeam makes it possible to adapt construction projects
Staying on the same page in the face of disruption and change is a crucial part of any construction project. Spanning over six years, the Merthyr Tydfil bus swap plans have arguably changed more than most.
Alun Evans, strategic infrastructure program manager for MTCBC, found Bluebeam’s software to be “a great help” in supporting communication, providing timely updates and increasing project efficiency. With many stakeholders, including 10 local Cardiff Capital Regional Transport Authority partners, effective collaboration was essential.
The clarity and simplicity of Bluebeam allowed this team to thrive. It operated more efficiently and opted for collaboration rather than confrontation. This meant that the team was striving to exceed the expectations of the brief, making choices that would benefit both the local economy and the environment.
When the project started in 2015, sustainability principles were not a key feature of the brief. But halfway through the project, the Welsh government set ambitious targets for the electrification of public transport by 2028.
The bus interchange is the first in Wales with ULEV pricing for buses and taxis. The team not only introduced the technology to enable the future electrification of local public transport, but also the electrification of the interchange building itself.
MTCBC’s new sustainable vision has changed the energy performance certificate from a D to a B. All parties, including contractors and subcontractors, have come together to pursue this goal and motivate each other. The result is a transport interchange that is 100% fossil-free and fit for the 21st century.
To minimize transport to the site, the team sourced materials from nearby, although they were expensive. The team also went a step further by employing local suppliers and artisans to better benefit the local economy and the people who worked and lived in the area. Over 95% of the supply chain companies used in the construction phase were based within 25 miles of the site.
Bluebeam’s design review really came into its own. This allowed project partners to annotate and collaborate on the same documents in real time or remotely, meaning the team was able to better communicate project data, with personalized and in-depth annotations.
The team found that design review and markups simplified and accelerated the review process, allowing teams to overlay plans and clearly compare, communicate and document changes.
“Historically, you’d scribble on a drawing and try to scan it, or make annotations in Paint,” Williams said. “He gets lost in translation.”
Sustainable construction project in Wales
The new sustainable bus interchange is a remarkable and functional building well suited to the modern world. Evans said “his successful delivery to such a high specification is a game-changer for Merthyr Tydfil”. So far, community feedback has been fantastic, even with the challenge of increasing public transport use during the pandemic.
Blue Beam, Inc.