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Bluebeam Tip: Email Templates January 2, 2015

Posted by carolhagen in Bluebeam Revu, Construction Industry - Software, email.
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3 comments

For those of you still not using a Construction project management solution or Bluebeam Studio and the notifications feature, you are likely sending many emails for RFIs, Submittals, etc. to the architect, general contractor, specialty trade or engineer. Bluebeam has PDF document templates for RFIs as a PDF document and as fillable form. If you correspond frequently with the same few people on a project, why not make email templates to expedite the process?

Bluebeam email template prefills Email templates can be prefilled with To, CC, BCC, Subject, and Message so you can create a template for a specific Architect when sending an RFI, like this that reduces keystrokes for your project manager:

To create an email template in Bluebeam, click File
and hover over the down arrow next to Email, then select Manage E-mail Templates Bluebeam RFI email template between You and the Architect
If you have a large project with over 100 RFIs expected, you may want to put the Project Name in the Subject line and save the template as RFI to specific Architect for Project XYZ. Obviously you can do the same thing for submittals and to other recipients you frequently email.
Choice of email templates appear in the Bluebeam dropdown listWhat you end up with is a dropdown to select from like this (right). Email templates are especially handy for project managers assigned to one project for an extended timeframe.

Note that the dropdown list appears in alphabetical order. Be careful to create a good naming convention either by type of correspondence (RFI, Submittal, etc), by project name, or by recipient for consistency and ease of use.

Question for my readers:
What Document templates have you created beyond the Fax, Field Report, Invoice, Memorandum, Punch, RFI and submittal choices delivered with Bluebeam Revu? Please share your list of templates and forms in the comments.

New to this blog? Please either follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn or subscribe in a reader to learn new tips every week.

Next week I’ll cover notifications inside Bluebeam Studio.

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Bluebeam Tip: How to Only Print, Email or Export Pages with Markups October 7, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in Bluebeam Revu, Construction Industry - Software.
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3 comments

How to only Print Pages with Markups in Bluebeam
After taking the time to markup documents in Bluebeam Revu, why send 100 pages when there are only a few pages with markups or notes on them? Instead of sending the full set of plans or a lengthy multi-page PDF, it is faster and sometimes more effective to only email the document pages that have markups. This is especially true when not everyone uses Bluebeam Revu. Here’s the quick 3 step process to just send pages with markups to the Print, Email or Export Pages option of Bluebeam:

1. Navigate to the Markups List
2. Press CTL-A to select all markups
3. Choose the desired function: Email, Print or Export Pages

The Page selection will prefill with the highlighted pages only. This is also true with the search function in Bluebeam.

Construction Email: Friend or Foe? March 15, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry Hardware, email, records retention.
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Inc Construction, email is primary communications methodConstruction companies communicate primarily through email, even when using a project management software solution. Often it is reminders and clarifications to help document the project. Progressive construction operations and accounting departments leverage email in their systems to increase collaboration, nurture relationships, improve productivity, reduce paper volumes, spread news and update the project team. Often email holds over 70% of all the intellectual property in a contracting business when you include all the attachments. So what are you doing to protect this valuable data?

Construction Email attachments contain intellectual propertyWith email storage growing 37% year over year, limiting your employee’s mailbox size may improve your email server performance but you are simultaneously losing valuable documentation. Construction operations managers often create policies to drag n drop emails into a document management system. Some project management systems log the email on the project as they are sent. The problem with these approaches it that it requires a human to stop and take time to drag the email or always log into a project management system. With the smartphone prevalent throughout the construction mobile workforce is this a reasonable expectation of your project managers and field teams? Add texting, instant messages and social media to the mix and it seems that more often than not, there are exceptions that may sidestep your project system’s design. Even marketing and business development communications may be locked in a silo that knowledge in operations could benefit from. Then there’s the dreaded discovery when a project has turned sour. Accessing what’s been said in email can be a godsend or at least identify your exposure to risk.

Construction professionals are not only mobile but often project team members are recruited from firm to firm and their knowledge goes with them. When an e-discovery issue arises and a key employee no longer works at your firm, if you haven’t retained the emails you may not have any idea what’s been said. Worse yet is the opposing council may have an email sent from your firm, that you are unaware of. Being in the dark by forcing email deletion may have just worked against you. What’s worse is that email discovery costs are rising

How can a construction firm capture everything? Email archiving or integration to an Enterprise Content Management System(ECM).

Not every email archiving system can capture everything but some are worthy of discussion as they incorporate new features as technology advances. For instance, Arcmail Defender which can instantly archive your chats and attachments. It has also addressed communications shared in SalesForce Chatter, an enterprise social network mentioned by a few contractors who have deployed the Salesforce CRM system. Armail has been working with construction companies since 2006 as they offer a case study of Pinkard Construction online [PDF].

By having a email archiving system in place you can search across the enterprise for all incoming and outgoing communications, project related or otherwise. If you’ve ever searched in Outlook through 6 months of saved emails, you may be waiting awhile for results. Searching from an email archiving system offers additional search functions and shortens the time to locate critical communications. If you can increas productivity and reduce risk it’s a win-win. Once overheard in a construction management meeting, “The firm with the most documentation wins” is a mantra that is only true if you can also find what you’re looking for. As a reseller of ArcMail I’d like to invite you to an on-demand email archiving demonstration. Simply Click here to watch a 30 minute overview or Email Me to ask questions and schedule a one-on-one demonstration.

If you found this post interesting you may also like these:

Construction Communications and the Email Tidal Wave

Email Records Retention Can Be Tricky

LinkedIn Profile is Your Business Lifeline August 20, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in linkedin.
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LinkedIn is your web access to business connections and /strong> as such, you should keep it well tuned and make it work for you. One often overlooked item is important in your LinkedIn settings … adding a secondary alternate (personal) email address. I use gmail, but any of the free providers like Yahoo or MSN will do too. You configure this in LinkedIn under Settings | Personal Information | Email Addresses where you will see a screen like this:

Primary and secondary email addresses

An Alternate Email Address is Recommended


You can switch the primary address at any time and continue to receive all LinkedIn correspondence as well as send out email. This is your insurance policy should you experience an unexpected employment transition and need to reach your contacts, or more importantly that they know how to reach you! I’ve seen many people not realize the importance of keeping their profile up to date or remembering to change their primary address after leaving a position or getting a new job. Stay connected with your business connections and give them a way to find you. You’ll be glad you did!

Attracting Blog Subscriptions November 6, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, email, web 2.0.
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1 comment so far

It’s a funny thing how everyone has a blog but most have a dozen subscribers if that.  In business you need to publicize your blog everywhere.  I tried promoting it via a plain hyperlink in my email signature but no one clicked on it…that is until I made it an animated subscription.  My email  signature now automatically cycles through the last five posts.  Every email recipient has the opportunity to see the topics I’ve recently discussed and decide then & there whether it interests them.  How’d I do it?  It’s easy…

  1. First Sign-up for Google Feedburner and enter your blog’s information (title, original address aemailblogsignnd new feedburner address). and save your feed details.  Don’t worry, this is free. 
  2. Click on the Publicize tab.
  3. Select the Headline Animator.
  4. Select email signature.
  5. From the dropdown, choose email signature and click next
  6. Follow the instructions in the pop-up based upon your email service.  It’s available for Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook Express, Outlook 2003, Yahoo Mail and has workarounds for Gmail and Apple Mail too.

There’s plenty of other great features to help you with optimization and publicizing your blog with Feedburner.  I’ll make this a series of how to’s for the next few weeks.  If the construction industry starts using collaboration 2.0 (aka social media) for marketing and communication, for sure they will want to learn all these blog tips. 

Share your success with us.  We like to hear from our readers!

Email Records Retention can be Tricky August 31, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, email, records retention.
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5 comments

Last week I spoke on “Records Retention” and “The Paperless Office” at the  54th Annual Convention of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).  The room was packed and the reality of the situation is that the majority of construction firms have not addressed written records retention policies.  Most that have are the  over $100 million in annual revenues, and many in attendance had forgotten to include e-policies for their email,  text messages,  and social networking activities.

Carol Hagen greets Judy DeWeese

Carol Hagen greets Judy DeWeese

The most interesting discussion was a firm (company A) that had experienced a legal discovery issue which centered around email.  They now have a written policy, all emails are removed from the exchange server and computers accordingly. They even erase the tape backups that contain the email per their retention policy.  So far so good.  What caught my attention was that the engineers said they wanted to keep a copy of the email, so they print them out and put them in the project file.  This is in direct violation of their own policy.

I spoke with a subcontracting firm (company B) that did the opposite of what was described above.  They just didn’t have space to electronically manage email so for them the record was kept  by printing it and placing it in the project folder and it was erased from their email systems.  A general contracting firm claimed they had not approved of a change order (they themselves did not archive their own email) and this subcontractor showed them a copy of their email approval.  The GC backed off, but this document won’t hold up in court.  Why? Lack of metadata.

In both situations there’s no metadata to prove the document is authentic and unaltered.  In Company A’s case, if you print your email, it is a copy.  Their next discovery issue, if only emails are requested might go undetected, but if they are asked for the project files they’re in a heap of trouble.  The courts will think they deleted the electronic version to “hide” something .  It’s because Company A is not uniformly enforcing their email retention policy.  In Company B’s case it is a copy but not worth the paper it’s printed on in court.  Both firms have exposure.  If they read this article they know they have risks.  What’s important at Company B is that they don’t have that GC’s attorney ask for the original email.  The tactic of scaring them away with the paper and calling upon their ethics is a good method, but be prepared if the GC has a tech savvy lawyer. 

If you want to keep emails, you should use an email archiving system.  If you don’t, then you need to educate all your employees that it means no copy in any form  – paper or electronic.  The E-Policy Handbook by Nancy Flynn has a great rule for you all to consider…” A destructive retention policy that calls for the purging of email on a regular intervals may render you the only party in the courtroom who is unable to produce copies of your own email.  That’s a position you never want to be in!”

End Embarrassing Email Errors August 17, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, email.
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4 comments

I just received an email referring to an attachment that was nowhere to be found.  I have to admit I’ve been guilty of this faux pas myself and this is just one of the issues I’d like to address in my blog today. 

Missing attachments can be user error or a setting issue.  Mine have always been the former and now I know I’ll never have it happen again.  No more email oops messages for me, just use The Forgotten Attachment Detector or the missing attachment PowerToy .  Both are plug-ins designed for Outlook 2007.  You’ll need your system administrator to allow you to install either of these but if there are no incompatibilities your IT guy and the entire staff will thank you.  These plug-ins look for a few words that would suggest you meant to have an attachment and voila, it will stop you from sending the email without attaching something.  

Gmail also has a Forgotten Attachment Detector but it isn’t automatically enabled…you have to enable it in Labs. 

Gmail Forgotten Attachment

Login to Gmail, Click on Settings then find Labs and scroll down till you find Forgotten Attachment Detector by Jonathan K.  That’s what I call “Attachments for Dummies”. 

Another reason that people encounter the missing attachment has to do with incompatibility.  Only Microsoft uses the winmail.dat file when sending in Rich Text Format (RTF).  By simply changing a setting you can eliminate this problem.  To avoid using RTF  format in Outlook select Tools -> Options -> Mail Format and make sure you select HTML or Plain Text.  Note that different Outlook versions will determine where this setting can be changed.

My pet peeve on email has to do with send.  I find many people are in a rush and forget to check spelling, proof read or add the appropriate cc’s to emails before they press send.  I have looked for a solution and most of it actually resides within Microsoft.  Here’s a how to “Delay Sending Email”  for you to set-up on your own computer so if you have an “oh s&#*” moment you can catch it before it’s left your outbox.  You’ll also want to turn on the automatic spell checker, so review these set-ups accordingly… auto spell check on all email before sending(Outlook 2003) , auto spell check for Outlook 2007 or auto spell check for Outlook 2010.

If you have any other tools or suggestions to make emailing less embarassing, please share your comments.  Let’s make email a better experience for all of us!