Blue Projects specializes in design, engineering, and construction management of large-scale construction projects for some of the world’s most recognizable brands in pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, consumer products, and agriculture. To achieve its aggressive growth goals, Blue Projects relies on multiple solutions from the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection and Autodesk Construction Cloud to successfully manage big-budget, end-to-end construction projects that bring together a vast number of stakeholders, workflows, and data types according to extremely demanding schedules.
Image courtesy of Blue Projects
Blue Projects is a truly global company, with 25 offices managing projects in more than 40 countries. The company’s breadth of experience includes industrial manufacturing facilities, logistics and distribution centers, residential developments, and retail centers. As a “one-stop” engineering and project management provider, Blue Projects maintains direct responsibility for every step in the lifecycle from initial concepting to commissioning and startup.
That means the company must offer a great deal of expertise all under one roof. The company’s teams include experts in building and process design, project and commercial management, construction and health and safety, touching a wide range of disciplines in architecture, civil engineering, processing, packing, utilities, and automation.
“What sets Blue Projects apart from competitors is our ability to integrate all of these services under one umbrella,” says Michal Zajac, Senior Architect and BIM Manager for Blue Projects. “From the project design to the construction of the facility to the placement of the production lines and coordination with utilities, we have the specialists to do it all.”
Image courtesy of Blue Projects
Building complex facilities for global brands is a high-stakes endeavor, one in which any delay in the project timeline could have serious financial consequences. On top of this, Blue Projects is frequently coordinating teams across multiple geographies and time zones and with a wide range of subcontractors and supply chain partners. To make all of this happen seamlessly, Blue Projects relies on a wide variety of Autodesk software solutions.
“When it comes to our project details, the digital solutions we choose play an important role in ensuring communication and collaboration is seamless and smooth,” Zajac says. “This is very important, given we are often working to meet very tight timescales.”
While the software Blue Projects relies on may change from job to job, the firm typically uses Revit building information modeling (BIM) software for building design, Inventor for packaging system design and production line layout, and ReCap Pro for capturing data from existing structures for retrofits. And then all of these files are coordinated within Navisworks Manage, which specializes in large-scale design review with clash detection and scheduling.
“For industrial design projects, we have to combine the building with the equipment that will be running inside the building,” Zajac says. “No other tool can do that but Navisworks. This is the Autodesk product we rely on more than any other. We use it to integrate all of the parts of the environment into a single Navisworks model. It is critical to our design coordination.”
Blue Projects also uses BIM Collaborate Pro (formerly BIM 360) to manage all of the related documentation for the integrated model. Data is stored in a roles-based folder structure so team members from Blue Projects, clients, and contractors can each access their own authorized documents. There is also a shared space within BIM Collaborate Pro where each team can find the latest version of files that all teams need to access during the project.
The fact that all of these Autodesk platforms run in the cloud turned out to be a bigger advantage than Blue Projects initially expected due to the impact of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m in Belgium or Poland or wherever, I can work with my colleagues on the same Revit files, using the same tools,” Zajac says. “That was a big advantage during the pandemic because it allowed us to make a smooth transition without having to involve our IT team too much, which would have been a big challenge if we had still been using local servers. We didn’t have to reorganize the way we were working. We just did what we had been doing, but from home.”
Of course, agile collaboration is essential even without the impact of the pandemic. On a typical project, the Blue Projects team is working with several dozen individual stakeholders from the client as well as other providers and partners. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how critical this is if one team is focused on the facility, a second team is deciding where to place a manufacturing line, and a third team is working on where to bring in the electrical infrastructure.
“If we were not using BIM 360, we would need thousands more hours to dedicate to manually identifying clash and issues detection to avoid the need for re-work on site,” Zajac says. “The team can do this much quicker and easier using BIM 360 [BIM Collaborate Pro], which not only saves valuable project time but also reduces project costs in the long term.”
Easy collaboration also streamlines the decision-making process, which can be a huge challenge when so many stakeholders are involved. On one recent project for a pharmaceutical company, for example, Blue Projects was involved in more than 1,500 review sessions during a nearly two-year client engagement.
“It is very critical to have an efficient decision-making process when the client has so many different people responsible for each part of the project,” Zajac says. “It is a challenge to give all of those easy access to the right data, but we were able to use BIM 360 [BIM Collaborate Pro] to provide access to the model, which was updated regularly.”
No matter what the future holds, Blue Projects will be ready to handle it. The company has set ambitious growth goals for itself and is well on the way to meeting them. The choice of Autodesk software is an important part of this vision.
“There was a time when I worked with different software as an architect, but Autodesk is the best solution for industrial projects,” Zajac says. “We worked with the team at Autodesk to connect our design authoring tools like Revit and Navisworks into BIM 360 for maximum impact. We needed to be able to track progress on any issues or design changes that BIM 360 supported. What was really fantastic is that we could link all of the data we captured in BIM 360 and visualize how it affected our model in Navisworks.”
"We worked with the team at Autodesk to connect our design authoring tools like Revit and Navisworks into BIM 360 [BIM Collaborate Pro] for maximum impact. We needed to be able to track progress on any issues or design changes that BIM 360 [BIM Collaborate Pro] supported. What was really fantastic is that we could link all of the data we captured in BIM 360 [BIM Collaborate Pro] and visualize how it affected our model in Navisworks."
—Michal Zajac, Senior Architect and BIM Manager, Blue Projects