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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Family Jewels - Creating Quality BIM Content

Sometimes, they just don't make it easy on you. I don't know how I stumbled across this one, but there's yet another BIM blog that started in April. It's about Revit content and it's from Autodesk. I'll keep you posted on anything interesting that pops up so you don't have to scour the internet daily like I do. Enjoy this one.
It's called Family Jewels- Creating Quality BIM Content and has 5 authors.


A few weeks ago I went to help a friend with their Revit MEP design and found the closet support/toilet carrier I downloaded from the manufacturer, came in on it's side and was WAY over detailed. You could have made the casting from that family. So I thought forget it - I'll try this other manufacturer, and when I did, that family came in hosted, had the wrong connectors, and was also WAY over detailed. So I decided to call up that manufacturer and asked how they were creating their content, and they said they were having it made for them. When I asked how many seats of Revit MEP they had, they said none. So I asked if they QA'd their actual products before they went out the door, and of course they did. So then I told them you should start considering doing the same QA for their BIM content, because when you think about it, whoever is creating your content for you, knows as much about plumbing as you yourselves do about making Revit families.
The point is a lot of manufacturers out there just aren't getting it. They hire out their BIM content creation, and then just throw it online when they get it back without even checking it first. So that was the moment I decided maybe a blog dedicated to Revit content creation would help. If you're a manufacturer and you do not provide design content that you produce with as much care as you take for your regular products, you still won't, or will no longer get spec'd, even if you have the preferred product. Why? Simply because time = money, and users just don't have the time to create the content for you. I have had at least three designers tell me on separate occasions they are flat spec'g the first manufacturer to provide the Revit families of the products they need. That's right - flat specifying based on content availability. And you, manufacturers, your content has the potential to be your best foot forward - your first contact with lots of designers. If your content is sub-standard and has to be rebuilt, or in some cases is useless (wrong family template), what do you think they will think of your actual products?
So here are some basic do's and don'ts for manufacturers. First the do's:

  1. Before you start, do ask your user base what they need or want from your content - particularly the "I" in BIM - the Information you're going to put in the content. Keep the information about the content as rich as the designer, the contractor, the owner, the maintenance people, etc. will all need.
  2. Ask for help. You have the SEEK website and team there to help you at http://seek.autodesk.com/. And they can put you touch with developers who know how to create content, and know when to ask you the right questions about your products as they develop it for you.
  3. Do use all the support you'll find in the Manufacturer portal on the SEEK website: Manufacturers, make Autodesk Seek your online marketing source!
  4. Once there, make use of the Revit Model Content Style Guide.
  5. And if you decide you want your content professionally developed for you, the SEEK team will be happy to point you to the best developers out there via their Partner Program.You'll get it right the first time!
And the dont's:
  1. Never make the content any more detailed than is ABSOLUTELY necessary. This is the most violated rule. The desire is to make your content look compelling, when to a Revit user, the more simple the content geometry - the more compelling it is. For instance, just use detail lines to represent the trap on your wall mounted toilet - DON'T actually model a toilet trap. When it comes to geometry - KISS.
  2. Never post your content for public consumption without first testing it in a Revit model. If you have a circle of trust among your user base, let them test drive it for you. You'd never sell your actual products without QA'ing them - don't treat your content with any less attention to detail.
If you have other do's & don'ts you want the manufacturers to be aware of, then respond to this posting with positive, professional criticism. But don't just post it here - make sure you copy your vendor and/or that manufacturer too so they can be edified and take action.

Source: Family Jewels - Creating Quality BIM Content


Christopher Hubbard May 12, 2010 at 10:31 AM  


A couple of things along this line. First I agree that much of the content manufacturers are providing is bad for many or all of the reasons you mentioned.

Second I wanted to point out that insurance providers are warning some designers that using and trusting BIM content that was created by a non-licensed person may leave you exposed to libaility with no coverage.

We are suggesting that the manufacturers not rely on Bob's drafting and BIM service (Based in India) to produce BIM content that some may trust meets codes, has proper flow and resistance data. If we put a transformer in and trusted the voltage and power drop, the electrition installed said transformer and there was a fire, who is on the hook?

Also the Seek style guide does not meet the national bim standard and therefore many seek objects will not be able to be used with any entity (GOV'T) that requires compliance with the NBIMS. I recommend that manufactures look to OmniClass and IFC for guides to creating BIM content and not limit themselves to Revit because that is really short sighted.

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