Friday, November 19, 2010

Content, Content, who's got the content?

Okay, so I've been here a month, and one of the first tasks I've taken on is getting as much relevant Revit content as possible as it pertains to MEP and what we do...and man, it's been interesting. In my Revit MEP Tips class, I talk (briefly) about leveraging the Internet to go out and find what you need. I found a few things:

1 - Manufacturers for the most part are still lagging behind, especially in the industrial and process equipment sectors. Most of what I found was either a) overmodeled or b) non-existent. There are some manufacturers that are really ahead of the game - I've talked about them in the past (i.e. Victaulic, nicely done - Bell and Gossett - awesome, but got to consolidate a little).

There are two aggregators I want to give a shout out to - CADWorks, where my buddy Bernie Duncan (formerly with Autodesk) landed. He's got the piping library I need - so we're moving forward towards purchasing his product. He's also got a really nice library control front-end, so it'll be interesting to see how and if we implement this across the board. Check it out - - they'll have a booth at AU this year.

Another one that we used to sell (or tried to) is the SmartBIM library ( Lots of good content, some of the more random pieces - I really like the space portion, where you can download whole rooms. I have hard time justifying paying an annual subscription for this unless they're actually helping us produce content that can't be found anywhere else - but they at least have the foundational pieces I'd be interested in using.

As always, you can find tons on Seek ( but it needs to have its categories expanded. The quick look is a bit too generic, and the front end is starting to get dated. Better search capabilities and results would really be helpful.

2 - I went ahead and made a few families for our water treatment team as a way to prove concept (added a mud valve from scratch, used some ACAD MEP parts to temporarily get me a representative part for Revit, and made a UV Unit with just connection points and engineering parameters). Each one of these types required a different approach, so keeping it simple is the best practice.

We also created an industrial equipment family template. We use this to define owner provided equipment, where we need to see a model of their content, but the connection points may be a receptacle, a nozzle, or a drain that we engineer and provide. In this case, make sure the template includes what the load data, fluid requirements and air requirements are - and then create an equipment schedule to replace your spreadsheet. It's always good to have this in one place.

3 - Organization - if I can offer one good piece of advice - separate what you download and create from the out-of-the-box content. If you edit a OOTB part, then don't put it back in the default folder - put it in a custom folder. There's some debate whether you start a new folder completely separate from the default content, or create custom folders under the default content structure. What you don't want - if you're a full service firm - is duplicated content. Take the MEP items out of the architectural folder - have the architects use your content, so you can take advantage of the copy/monitor functionality for these fixtures. And I stay away from anything MEP that is wall, ceiling, floor, roof based - and even sometimes face-based. Any non-hosted object can still be constrained to another - for example, a non-hosted light to a ceiling grid - so I'm moving away from using any hosted that has to be shared or edited by others. The KISS axiom applies...

Next up - tackling process projects - and getting old dawgs to learn a few new tricks....see you at AU!

thanks - David B.

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