Plan review process in Bluebeam

We have transitioned to 100% Electronic Plan Review for In-House projects. Find out how the City uses Bluebeam to do plan reviews.

We use Bluebeam to review plan sets for building permits. 

Bluebeam allows plan reviewers to navigate easily through your plan set. PDF plans are easier to submit, manage, and track than paper plans.

How we use Bluebeam

You will upload your plan sets when you apply for a building permit or submit your addenda.

After you submit, we will create a Bluebeam Project for every building permit application. The Project will have all the files and documents that you upload with your application.

We will also create a Bluebeam Session where plan reviewers will review, markup, and comment on the PDF files and documents you upload.

If you are submitting a site permit, you will need to know your 9-digit Bluebeam Project ID to upload your addenda.

Review your plans in Bluebeam with the City

We will invite you to a Bluebeam Session once we put your plans into Bluebeam. You will be able to see comments and respond to plan checker questions.

Use Bluebeam to join the Session and respond to comments. You can see and reply to our comments with a free or unlicensed version of Bluebeam.

Reply to comments

To communicate with a plan checker, reply to a comment in the Markups List. 

Inviting others to a Bluebeam Session

The permit tech or plan checker on your project can add more attendees to the Bluebeam Session.

After your first invitation to join the Bluebeam Session for your project, ask the permit tech to add anyone else who needs to be included.

Anyone who is invited to the Session will be able to see all the markup and responses.

Status items and menus in Bluebeam

Status items are pre-set. They are not added by plan checkers. 

Status menu (also called back check) items are created and added by the plan checkers before you are invited to the Session.

Session name and IDs

Session name is formatted with the project address and permit number like “1650 Mission St - 202006181234 REVIEW.” 

A Session ID is a 9-digit random code automatically assigned to the Session.


You must submit drawings and all other documents in an unrestricted, unlocked form. You cannot use Digital Signatures.

We need to customize the setup in Bluebeam for review and reconciliation before uploading the files into the Studio Session. 

Once we add the files to the Studio Session, they are locked from changes. No reviewer or other attendee can make any changes to the files.

Bluebeam keeps an audit trail. We can check to see any time any action is taken by anyone in a Session.

Stamps and signatures

Design Professional Stamps and Signatures should be added as graphic “scanned” images. You can do this in the native application (like Autocad or Word) when you create the file or in Bluebeam after the PDF is created. 

Scan a .PNG file with a transparent background to create the best stamp and signature images.

Do not use certificate-type digital signatures. This will lock the file and delay your permit approval.

If you add a graphic stamp or signature after you create the PDF, flatten the PDF to embed the images.

Site permits and addenda

We create a new Bluebeam Project for a site permit. For each submission and addenda for the site permit, we create a Session that belongs to the Project.

Data storage

While we are reviewing the permit and project, we store all the data (like plans, documents, and application information) in the Bluebeam cloud. 

All files are then permanently saved in the record repository with the Department of Building Inspection.

Non-Bluebeam process

For Apple Mac users and users without a full Bluebeam license, please follow this guide.

If you choose not to use Bluebeam, you still must upload your plan set PDFs following our formatting guidelines.

The Print Center, located in the Permit Center, can convert your paper plans to electronic. Follow these steps to submit your online scanning order and pick up at the Permit Center. A back check page must be included in each plan, which is required for us track comments.

We will create a Bluebeam session with your plans and invite you to join it. You will need to have Bluebeam installed to join the session. It can be a free trial.

You can view our comments in an unregistered Bluebeam account. 

You can make the requested changes in your preferred software and re-submit your revised plans.

We will not make comments on plans in any other software.

Last updated January 4, 2024