Top 4 Benefits of Bluebeam® Revu® Software

At Hourigan Construction, technology is at the center of every project.  With a constant focus on how to make jobs faster, more efficient and less costly, the Hourigan team is always seeking ways to utilize technology (both old and new) to its fullest. Bluebeam® is a perfect example of software that has been around for a few years, but the way in which it is being utilized at our firm is truly built on design & construction best practices. We’re seeing some of these great benefits from our approach with Bluebeam:

1. Increased Value for Clients

Bluebeam provides increased value to design teams and consultants during schematic design and design development. This includes helping to reduce design conflicts and finding potential trouble areas before construction starts. Tools such as Bluebeam provide a familiar, but improved form of communication between project partners. Ultimately, clients gain benefits through a collaborative team approach, resulting in fewer RFIs and change orders, which ultimately save time and money.

2. Efficient Planning and Sequencing

Planning that used to take hours of review with subcontractors gathered around the table with pens and highlighters can now be streamlined for sequencing and system coordination. For example, the software tools allow the team to review contract documents in conjunction with the 3D model for easy comparison and better understanding of systems.  Using color coding and other identification methods can assist in project planning for Superintendents and Project Managers. In addition, the overlay feature helps compare old and new documents for potential changes, and has the ability to alter scales on the fly to help facilitate sequencing between systems without having to do complicated drawing manipulations between software such as AutoCAD, Revit, Tekla & Civil 3D.

3. Easier Collaboration for Team Members

Another benefit important to the team Bluebeam provides is a collaborative environment for architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors, to more efficiently review documents. In a Bluebeam session, documents can be posted for the entire team to access simultaneously in a collaborative environment. This tool allows our team to complete design reviews in days, compared to a normal series of events that may have taken weeks.  Bluebeam is also used during the punchlist process to more effectively communicate with subcontractors and design team members. These streamlined processes simplify the paper trail, tracks changes & comments, and ultimately results in time savings for the project schedule.

4. Document Interactivity

The great applications for post-construction turnover make Bluebeam really stand apart from other documentation and information systems. Simply put, Bluebeam’s hyperlink functions are simple, intuitive, & impactful. Through a simple digital dashboard, an interface can be created that allows clients an opportunity to quickly access project documents in an organized fashion. Dashboards are similar to a custom-built web page that acts as a portal to your project.

While technology is a great asset to every project, providing intuitive tools for simple integration is key for operational use. Hourigan remains committed to mastering ways to find efficiencies and enhance project delivery from start to finish.

Using Geothermal Energy for Sustainable Construction

The construction industry has made large strides in the development of new sustainable technologies and practices over the past decade. Geothermal energy is one of the newer technologies that is beginning to gain traction and become more mainstream in the industry.  (more…)

Drone Tour of the Brock Environmental Center

Take a tour through the view of a drone of the completed Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA. (more…)

Earning Certification for the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a highly prestigious and sought-after certification that only six buildings in the world have been able to achieve to date. As a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program, the LBC promotes the most advanced measurement of sustainability possible. Unlike LEED or other green programs that award certification based on levels of achievement, LBC mandates that every requirement be met in order for a building to earn the title of a “living building” and be granted LBC recognition.

Petals Performance Categories

The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories, or “Petals.” These stand for Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Each Petal is subdivided into a total of 20 imperatives, or mandatory items that a building must meet in order to receive certification.

12-month Measurement Period

Every building applying to become a Living Building Challenge award-winner must be evaluated on actual, rather than modeled, performance. Because of this, each project must be operational for at least twelve consecutive months before being certified as a living building. Then, the board is able to study a realistic sampling of data from each building and award each project accordingly.

Submitting the Brock Environmental Center for Certification

Hourigan recently completed construction on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA. The building will begin its year-long measurement phase in January 2015 in hopes of achieving Living Building Challenge certification in 2016.

What’s so unique about the Brock Environmental Center is its commitment to water and energy efficiency—and its roll as a leader in the field of sustainable construction. Built to make a net-zero impact on the delicate surrounding environment, the building is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal wells, rain cisterns, waterless toilets, and natural landscaping. The state-of-the-art facility will harbor a team of conservationists and welcome the public to spread knowledge and passion for sustainability.

Occupant Training

To be awarded this prestigious certification, the Brock Environmental Center will have to train its occupants to be able to efficiently use the renewable energy technologies. This will take a team effort, but will benefit the environment and increase the Brock Environmental Center’s chances of reaching its goal of becoming a Living Building Challenge certification recipient.

The Importance of Building a Healthier Community

Hourigan Construction has supported many initiatives that enhance the economy and health of the Richmond Region. Some of our more recent projects include the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, University of Richmond Robins Stadium and the Greater Richmond Aquatic Partnership (GRAP).

Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships

Now, Hourigan has the opportunity to be a part of a global event, the World Road Cycling Championships taking place in Richmond in September 2015. The event is a great fit for the company as it strives to be a part of community events that support a healthier lifestyle. Hourigan is a Founding Corporate Partner and will be the Official Construction Partner for the event.

2014 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals

The Richmond 2015 event kicked off in Richmond with the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals as a test run for the World Championships. Hourigan constructed the starting ramp for the individual and team time trials. Additionally, several members of the Hourigan team who are avid cyclists volunteered at the event as course marshals.

Other community involvement

In addition to this partnership, Hourigan’s team is consistently involved with various events throughout Virginia. In June, a team of employees participated in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Annual Clean the Bay Day.

To help in educating the next generation, Hourigan has partnered with Virginia Tech to teach various classes in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. Through this partnership, Hourigan has been able to give students real world experience by having them be directly involved with the Brock Environmental Center. The students have learned more about the Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum requirements and virtual construction.

It’s important for firms to give back to their communities and help support healthier lifestyles. It not only gets your employees more involved, but it shows clients and prospects that your firm is making a positive impact in the community.

BIM Software Provides Smart As-Builts for Owners

Technology continues to make huge strides in the built environment. Building Information Modeling (BIM) brings immense value to owners as it increases efficiency during projects and minimizes risk. BIM software solutions continue to be a valuable resource for Owners in the management of their buildings.

Process of integrating smart as-builts

BIManywhere is an application that is currently being used to help facilitate the final turnover package for the Brock Environmental Center. Before drywall was installed, photos were captured of the interior of the walls throughout the building and stored in the software. Then, QR codes were created to go inside each of the doorframes of the building. This gives the Owner easy access into information of what is inside each wall, such as Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing equipment.

Features of BIManywhere application

This solution will help with the day-to-day maintenance for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, owner of the Brock Environmental Center. The features of the software include:

  • Paperless, one-click access to obtain location and product information for materials and equipment that are installed underground, in walls and above ceilings
  • Portable access to software with a PC or iPad
  • Navigation of a 3D model
  • One scan to get a position
  • Cloud based data

In addition, information including all RFI’s, submittals, drawings and specs, can be accessed at any time.

Benefits to the Owner

For this particular project, the Owner (Chesapeake Bay Foundation) will experience many benefits from the product including:

  • A quicker understanding of the building systems at turnover
  • Faster access to project information
  • Ability to query data and documents associated with building elements
  • Capability to access plans, specs, product data, shop drawings, O&M manuals, warranty information, and installation pictures all from a single source
  • Mobile-friendly application
  • Reduced time to find resources for the management of the facility
  • Organized and structured pieces of information that lead the user directly to the required source

Maintaining a highly sustainable building with multifaceted systems, like the Brock Environmental Center, will not be without its challenges. However, the Owner will have the tools to support a net-zero energy and water facility.

Drone Video of the Brock Environmental Center

The Brock Environmental Center is targeting Living Building Challenge certification, LEED Platinum and aiming to be the greenest building in Virginia. View the building from the eyes of a drone and learn about the unique features of the Center that will contribute to it being a net-zero facility.



Sustainability Practices in Higher Education

In recent years, the higher education sector has led the charge in sustainability—making it a priority in their budgets and strategic plans. While sustainable before meant recycling bins and electric dryers instead of paper towels, now colleges and universities are taking a whole-systems approach to make their campus more sustainable and energy efficient.

Part of this movement is due to the Millennial generation being more environmentally conscious and asking deeper questions about their schools’ commitment to the environment.  LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is one of the main green building certification programs used to assess building sustainability.

The VCU Academic Learning Commons in Richmond, VA, has recently been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. At the start of the project, the building aimed to be certified LEED Silver. However, after much collaboration within the project team, the building was able to reach LEED Gold.  Here are a few ways that the project team was able to achieve Gold certification.

Reducing energy use and creating a healthier environment

One of the categories of LEED is Energy & Atmosphere that aims to create healthy environments through the reduction of energy use, ongoing system performance and renewable energy applications.

In order to reach LEED Gold, the VCU Academic Learning Commons obtained higher marks in this category by adding two credits. First, the team enhanced refrigerant management, which helps reduce ozone depletion and global warming.

Second, the project earned the Green Power credit, which encourages the development and use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies on a net-zero pollution basis. It requires that at least 35% of the building’s electricity from renewable sources by engaging in at least a 2-year renewable energy contract.

Recycling content and sourcing regionally

The Materials and Resources category of LEED encourages the use of sustainable building materials and reducing waste. In order to receive more credits in this category, the VCU project used 20% recycled content, 20% regional materials (within 500 miles) and 50% FSC-certified wood. Here is more detailed look into the materials used:

  • Recycled content (post-consume and ½ pre-consumer) included steel, wall panels and decorative metal railings
  • 75% of the steel was harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site
  • 100% of the joint reinforcement was extracted, harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site
  • All exterior stone cladding materials and light gauge framing were within 500 miles
  • 50% of the certified wood included wood doors, paneling and ceilings.

Improving indoor environmental quality

The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) category of LEED focuses on the conditions inside a building—air quality, lighting, thermal conditions, ergonomics—and their effects on building occupants. IEQ encourages protecting human health, improving quality of life and reducing stress. Not only does it enhance the lives of occupants, but it also increases the resale value of the building and reduces liability for the owner.

In the VCU building, the team earned additional credits by:

  • Selecting low-emitting materials
  • Using composite wood and agrifiber products that did not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins
  • Providing a high level of thermal, ventilation and lighting systems controlled by individual occupants or specific groups in multi-occupant spaces

These additions help to promote productivity, comfort and the well-being of building occupants. It also contributed to the building receiving higher certification level of Gold.

3 Potential Benefits an Owner Should Know About IPD

Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD, is a delivery method that is not widely utilized in the A/E/C industry currently. We anticipate it to gain popularity over the next few years based on efficiencies that can be realized.

IPD is a project delivery method where the primary involved parties—the Owner, Designer and Contractor(s)—are fully integrated into one legal entity. Here are three key benefits of IPD for an Owner to consider when choosing a delivery method for a project.

1. Increased collaboration

Because all involved parties are one legal entity, whether by partnership agreements or multi-party contracts, there is increased project transparency and integrated financial interests. The team can freely share documents without legal or proprietary risk—increasing overall collaboration within the team. Due to the high level of teamwork, often early on in the project, BIM and IPD typically go hand in hand.

2. Shared risk and liability

The IPD core team usually has a multi-party contract, forms a join venture or forms a project-specific LLC. As a result, the risk, responsibility and liability for project delivery are spread equally among the primary parties. However, because there is shared risk, this means there needs to be a high level of trust between parties as well as a high level of Owner involvement throughout the IPD process.

3. Aligned goals

Each party in a typical construction project has its own goals and objectives. For example, the Architect may want the most creative and innovative design. The Owner wants the best outcome for the cost and to be on schedule. The Contractor wants be able to deliver the proposed design within the budget and schedule parameters. With IPD, the goals of the project are aligned because all parties are working together from the beginning—allowing the team to focus on the complete project outcome rather than individual success.

IPD is common for large, complex projects such as healthcare facilities and hospitals that require a high level of flexibility and certainty. While it is not commonplace in the A/E/C industry yet, it is an up-and-coming method that can increase quality while lowering overall cost. It is the ultimate team approach to a project that benefits all parties involved.

What You Need to Know About Living Building Challenge 3.0

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a certification program that redefines the way people view environmental sustainability. The LBC educates people on ways we can transform our current view of design and construction. Rather than creating structures that are “less bad,” the LBC implements projects and ideals that is regenerative and transformational for the environment.

Since it was founded in 2006, it has grown and expanded its core values worldwide. As it empowers minds and motivates change, it has sparked a passion to reform and redefine construction and design ideals.

Recently, the LBC has taken an important step in transforming their current standards. This year their standard includes new, innovative refinements that will help achieve their goal of a regenerative, living future. With eight key changes, LBC 3.0 is taking a big step forward in continuing advocacy for a better world.

1. Site Petal renamed to Place Petal

Moving forward, the LBC has renamed the Site Petal to the Place Petal. This change reflects the intention of viewing every project location as unique, with its own cultural impact. Rather than being defined as just a mere site ready to be developed, it now demands more special focus and attention. This change will help restore a healthy interrelationship between construction and nature.

2. Neighborhood Typology removed

The LBC has removed Neighborhood Typology from the LBC and redirected it to the Living Community Challenge. The LBC feels that scales larger than individual buildings deserves a more specialized focus. By separating the two, they can better devote time to each specific project, singular or larger community-style ones.

3. Increased emphasis on resilient infrastructure

There has been a greater emphasis on the necessity of resilient infrastructure. In doing so, LBC ensures in times of disruption or uncertainty, Living Buildings are always pillars of safety and security. Creating this reliance and trust is an important step in showing how design and construction must also rely on our current ecological systems.

4. Importance of regenerative design

The idea of the LBC as a tool for regenerative design is more explicitly emphasized. Rather than being perceived as neutral with ideas that LBC believes in “do no harm,” they are redirecting and creating a vision for a future of sustainable, regenerative living. This 3.0 change makes a shift toward net-positive structures, rather than net-zero. Now, projects will be required to not only produce as much water and energy that they need, but they must produce more. This will allow the program to be truly sustainable and regenerative.

5. Redefined Equity Petal

LBC 3.0 has more clearly redefined its Equity Petal. This petal was introduced in 2.0, but admittedly was a less developed category until now. JUSTTM was launched in May 2013 and is not a part of the Petal.  JUSTTM is a call to social justice action—ranking a company’s progress on social equity metrics such as responsible investing and gender diversity. The Equity Petal is now just as innovative as the other petals in the Challenge. It helps to foster an inclusive, true sense of community that is equitable regardless of an individual’s background and beliefs.

6. Higher standard for material transparency

With this 3.0 update, LBC has set a higher standard with material transparency. This allows materials to have a “nutrition label,” per say. It has also expanded and redefined the Red List, the first update since 2006 when the LBC initiative was originally created. It has clearly displayed the materials and/or chemicals a project cannot contain. Furniture is now also included with this Materials Petal update.

7. New offset programs

LBC 3.0 has launched three new Living Future Exchange offset programs. These programs make it easier for project team managers to distribute funds to worthwhile causes. They can also see the donations given and the immediate effect they have. More information on the LBC Exchange program can be found at

8. Redefined market-based exceptions

Market-based exceptions have also been refined. For example, fluorescent lighting has been banned in all but a few applications. This is the first time a green building initiative has taken this important step in reducing the toxicity these materials can cause.

Effective May 22, 2014, all projects that are registering for the Challenge will be registered under Version 3.0. The previous version, 2.1, will no longer exist as an option; however, projects that are already registered under 2.1 and not yet complete will have until December 31, 2019 to achieve certification. By developing this more concrete framework, the LBC will be more effective in current and future endeavors to advocate for a regenerative and sustainable world.