Q&A with David Rekker, Bluebeam


Karan: Give us a brief introduction to Bluebeam


David: Bluebeam, Inc. launched in 2002, after its core technology was developed to help engineers working on the Mars rovers convert their CAD models into high-resolution, scalable PDF drawings. Adoption of Bluebeam Revu by the worldwide AECO community caught on soon after and has grown steadily ever since. Revu allows and tracks symbol-based document markups from multiple parties simultaneously or separately. This allows real-time collaboration between the field and the office, or among multiple offices around the world.

Today, over 1 million people throughout the world use Revu to facilitate their digital design and construction workflows. Our cloud-based collaboration platform Bluebeam Studio has supported over 4 billion transactions as people collaborate in real-time to get their projects completed faster than ever before. Globally, we’re rapidly expanding our presence with customers in 130 countries. In 2014, we joined Nemetschek, which allows us to connect with even more AEC professionals around the world.


Karan: Give us a brief introduction to your background- role/expertise etc.


David: Officially I have been with Bluebeam since 2015. I use the term “officially” because in my previous role at MMM Group (now WSP) I was known for being the internal Bluebeam evangelist, promoting its use and training teams on how to use the software for more than just viewing PDFs. The hardest part of that was convincing my colleagues take the time to see how they really could migrate their paper-based or email-based workflows to this powerful digital platform. However, once I demonstrated a few tips and talked about the shared goal of increasing multipliers, we all got along again.

My role as an Account Manager at Bluebeam allows me to do very similar work with companies across Canada. I love helping teams improve their efficiency but I also enjoy our discussions around the current challenges in the industry and what types of solutions are being investigated. It’s an exciting time for technology with so many amazing options being created.

Karan: What are some of the BIM initiatives being undertaken at bluebeam


We recognize how the AECO industry can benefit from the BIM process and we want to do our part to move the industry forward. One way we do this is by researching the trends and facilitating discussions between stakeholders. Just as building projects benefit from increased collaboration, so does the industry when people are brought together to discuss the issues. Recently we started publishing two new series on our editorial site, StrXur.com. One is a roundtable discussing best practices for digital workflow solutions for BIM specifically for the civil engineering industry. The other is a series of conversations with industry professionals  uncovering what they believe to be the largest issues for the BIM industry today.


Karan: What is Bluebeam's philosophy towards BIM 


David: For us, the core concepts of BIM are reflective of what we’ve been promoting since our inception. We believe the industry is better when there is collaboration, transparency in communication, and visualization of data. These three concepts were confirmed by a McGraw-Hill study in 2015 that asked the global construction industry what they saw as the main benefits of BIM. Bluebeam exists to further these concepts, and we support open standards to help the industry achieve its goals. The recently released Canadian Practice Manual for BIM states “BIM practices are about exchanging the correct information at the right time with the right stakeholders”. Open data systems allow for interoperability which means that industry players are not prevented from participating in BIM projects.


Karan: Could you tell us an interesting project/case study/product where BIM is being implemented or has been implemented 


David: As a company we have the privilege of seeing our customers design and build some of the most amazing projects using Bluebeam solutions alongside many other platforms. With my recent presentation at CanBIM Toronto17 with Lilia Koleva of NEUF Architectes, the CHUM hospital in Montreal is top of mind. This BIM project had such a diversity of stakeholders that a common data environment was imperative. My favourite example from the project is when the team needed to coordinate the installation of a maintenance basket for the atrium. Information was gathered from the architect, structural engineer, basket manufacturer, and installation contractor. As you can imagine, this information was in various formats due to the differences in technology used by each party. However, one platform they could all work in was the PDF, and they were able to coordinate the best solution in a timely manner.

Karan: Share information about your BIM strategy that is not available on your company website, in other words tell our readers something  about your BIM strategy they should know they may not already know


David: Marshall McLuhan, the iconic Canadian communications theorist, is known for his statement, “The medium is the message.” His point was that it is important take notice of how a medium impacts or changes a society. When we look at the global state of our industry, BIM – whether it becomes mandated or not – is the medium by which projects will continue to be delivered. Efficiency gains are expected, but we also hear concerns from those who wonder if they will be able to be technologically nimble.

At Bluebeam we do not think the message of the BIM medium needs to be one of exclusion. Our customers are frequently showing us that performing work digitally - collaborating in Studio; interacting with 3D PDFS; moving data through project phases – is not only allowing them to fully participate on projects, but is also making their workforce more receptive to other technology. This can only help the future of our industry.


About David Rekker

Sr Account Manager, Bluebeam Inc.



David Rekker, B.Sc., LEED AP BD+C, is a Senior Account Manager at Bluebeam Inc. serving the Canadian design and construction industries. With over 15 years of construction and engineering experience, he is passionate about helping people find ways to perform their tasks better. Prior to joining Bluebeam, David was a Project Principal at MMM Group (now WSP) where he developed training resources for users of Bluebeam Revu. Now he meets with clients across Canada, helping them navigate the sea of technological solutions and offering proven options for enhancing their digital processes. When not at work, David can be found camping with his family or flooding the ice rink in his front yard.