Updated: Aug 3, 2019
With the architectural, engineering and construction industry adopting BIM at a blistering pace, quality Revit content is in high demand. Architects and engineers are requesting it from manufacturers and construction firms can't effectively coordinate their building models without it.
Are all content developers the same?
What are end users looking for in Revit content? What benchmarks should you judge a content development firm with? Here are 6 essential things to look for in your Revit content developer and the models they deliver.
With some training most people can learn how to operate software to perform specific tasks, 3D modeling is no different; however, when it comes to Revit content there are critical nuances that come along with the territory. Having production experience using Revit is fundamental to understanding how the content should function in the context of a project.
Just because someone claims to know how to model custom Revit content, does not mean they're an expert. Autodesk offers a rigorous proctored testing program where individuals demonstrate their proficiency with all areas of Revit functionality. The most capable content developers will carry the Autodesk Certified Professional accreditation.
There are many manufacturers who have BIM models on their website for download. Far too often however, end-users download the content only to find it contains static imports of 3D DWG files, Sketchup Models or some other 3D format like SAT files. Having static imports in Revit families is undesirable for a host of reasons; first and foremost being project model stability. Imports in content cause model bloat, materials can't be applied appropriately, and when they are rendered in projects they look terrible. This is one area where taking shortcuts is simply not an option.
Most products in the building industry are available in multiple sizes and often have many options. To effectively represent all those variations the parametric nature of Revit should be leveraged to maximize efficiency and minimize performance degradation. Where building products vary in size from one model to the next, the geometry should be constrained to reference planes and their dimensions parameterized to facilitate flexing of the content.
Appropriate Level of Detail
There's a such thing as too much detail when it comes to Revit content. There are some Revit families we've seen where just about every nut and bolt is modeled. Sure the model looks great and represents the product down to the micron, but drop a few of those in your project and I guarantee your production will grind to a halt. There's a delicate balance between accurate physical representation and over-modeling.
For quite a few years, content was not permitted to be hosted on the Autodesk Seek website unless it met their strict content standards. Those standards included provisions for virtually every aspect of how the content was to be developed; everything from detail level, parametric functionality, even parameter naming conventions. The most scrutinous BIM managers and custom Revit content developers adopted this standard as their own. If you're in a meeting with a content developer, ask them if they meet Autodesk Seek standards. If you get crickets, thank them and show them the door.
There is a wealth of Revit content available on the internet, unfortunately the quality of that content varies widely, even from the manufacturers. Content is no good to anyone if it is unusable. There are some great content developers in the industry and some not so great developers. Ask the tough questions, have an expert end-user review a sample, and choose wisely. At BIM Consulting Services we develop our content to the strictest of industry standards and rigorously test our models in the project environment before we release them to our clients. We have over twenty years of experience in the AEC industry and carry the Autodesk Certified Professional accreditation. Your customers need quality Revit content so they can model your products in their building designs, we're here to help.