BIM Content in the AEC Industry

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has seemed to take the AEC industry by storm over the last decade or so. McGraw-Hill has been tracking BIM adoption since 2007 and found back then that only about 28% of companies in the AEC industry were BIM users, by 2009 that number had jumped to 49%. ​​

Over the next few years the industry saw explosive growth in BIM adoption and it had grown to 71%. An interesting detail is that in 2012 for the first time ever, more contractors were leveraging BIM than architects.

In the United States today, Autodesk Revit is the gold standard for BIM software, it is the most widely implemented building modeling application hands down. Outside the US, Revit is still widely used but other applications such as ArchiCAD are commonly used.

So with such prevalent adoption of Revit across our industry you'd naturally assume that 3D models for the building products we use would be readily available. Unfortunately depending on which sector of the design industry you work in you'll find the availability of quality Revit content varies dramatically.

To understand why this is the case you have to look at the evolution of Revit. Revit originally was a parametric design software geared towards architects, so naturally the architectural toolset is the most robust. In 2002 Autodesk bought Revit for the tune of $133 million which allowed for further development and

improvement of the software. While some structural flavored tools began to materialize in Revit a full structurally flavored version of Revit wasn't officially released until 2005.

Some four years after Autodesk purchased Revit, a MEP version was released named Revit Systems but it took several years for the product to be considered a viable design tool by engineers. This was largely because the MEP content provided with the software consisted of placeholder styled objects and left designers clamoring for dimensionally accurate models for the equipment they were using.

Since the Release of Revit systems in 2006, MEP engineers and designers have been requesting Revit content from their equipment manufacturers. Some of the more forward thinking manufacturers either hired content development firms to model the content for them or added Revit capable designers to their staff.

So what do manufacturers stand to gain from providing Revit content to their customers? First and foremost they inherently become the basis of design. When two equal manufacturers are compared side-by-side; one providing the convenience of Revit content to their customers, the other not, it's obvious who will win the day. Some other less apparent benefits are being able to provide hyperlinks in the content to their product cut sheet, performance data and website. Parameters can be easily included containing manufacturer name and model numbers. When end users drop the content in their project models equipment schedules are auto-populated with their data.

Why aren't more manufacturers providing Revit content to their customers? Well depending on the manufacturer this effort could represent a significant cost, when they have such a wide product offering where do they even start? Who can they trust to tell them what engineers and designers need in their Revit content?

It's important to know not every content developer is the same. Unfortunately many manufacturers have hired developers that don't know the first thing about using Revit in a design production setting. They either show every nut and bolt on a manufactured piece of equipment (Over-Modeling) or they use static imports from other software platforms used in the manufacturing design process. This results in bloated unstable projects models and most designers won't use the content for fear of their project models crashing.

BIM Consulting Services takes a different approach when it comes to Revit content development. We employ the strictest standards resulting in highly accurate, light weight, stable content. We partner closely with our manufacturers and advise them on what should be included in the models for the AEC community and what should be left out. In times when models get complicated we help position their customers for success by developing custom end-user tutorial videos they can host on their own website. We've found the personal attention we devote to our clients have won their repeat business. If you're a manufacturer in need of BIM content for your customers, we'd welcome the opportunity to win your business. Drop by our factory and take a look at some of our latest work.

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