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AECOM partners with DSA to revolutionise the state’s design review process

AECOM, along with Bluebeam has announced an initiative to deliver a major digital milestone in revolutionising and streamlining California’s Division of the State Architect design review process.

DSA provides design and construction oversight for K-12 schools, community colleges, and various other facilities owned and leased by the State of California. DSA also develops accessibility, structural safety, and historical building codes and standards used in various public and private buildings throughout California.

“It’s a great privilege to enable such a critical, statewide regulatory agency to serve their clients better and lead them on the path to building out their fully digital platform,” said Kelli Bernard, AECOM’s Los Angeles Metro chief executive. “DSA’s focus on digitising and standardising their design review process will generate greater efficiencies. Ultimately the goal is to save time and reduce costs while creating an improved documentation process for them and their clients.”

The ability to implement a fully digital design review process has been a key goal of DSA and will allow the agency to assist clients with building and delivering great educational facilities across California. This digitised process is intended to track response times, foster sustainability through reduced printing, mailing and travel requirements, and advance productivity for all parties involved. Historically, DSA reviews approximately 4,000 projects annually, involving construction costs of nearly US$6 billion.

“The partnership between AECOM and the DSA is expected to drive results by leveraging Bluebeam’s capabilities to improve review times, boost consistency across offices and reduce the need for mailing thousands of pages of paper submissions,” said Bluebeam Vice President Sasha Reed. “By using Bluebeam software as their platform of choice, project teams can eliminate unnecessary delays and improve the overall experience for the architectural, engineering and construction professionals working on DSA projects state-wide.”

AECOM and Bluebeam teams have worked closely with DSA staff to provide new procedures and training pertaining to the implementation of the agency’s evolutionary move toward digital plan review. This is a vital step toward helping DSA realise its goal of implementing a fully digital design review process by the end of this year. DSA has been the driving force behind this major undertaking to implement a digital review and submission system aligned with where the industry is headed in this regard and anticipates that all project submissions will be going digital by this fall.

As part of this transformational project, the AECOM team, led by Senior Manager Carolyn Stegon from the company’s Program Management/Construction Management business line, is actively working with DSA to develop the full workflow roll-out. AECOM is also working with DSA to identify a selection of soft-start projects for this new digital design review process. This new process is expected to enhance communication amongst key stakeholders and reduce overall schedule review and back-check time for architects and engineers submitting plans to DSA. By leveraging the real-time collaboration capabilities within Bluebeam software, AECOM and DSA staff will have the ability to communicate with teams across multiple entities and enable consistency across DSA offices and to improve quality while capturing and tracking feedback more accurately.