15 May

Why you should switch to web based BIM content library

Issues with Revit family library management

If you are BIM Manager or Revit user, you probably ran into a problem finding (your own) content for the project. I am not talking about finding the content on the internet, that is a whole another topic, but finding something specific that you, or one of your colleagues created, you know it exists in your organization but don’t know where it is anymore, or how it was called.
Revit families are most numerous (hence the title), but other content that you might need to utilize in your BIM project sometimes can also be hard to find. For example:

  • template files, Dynamo scripts, example (model) files, brochures, data sheets, pattern files, images, workflow procedures and other types of digital information.

If you are in charge of organizing you BIM content in your organization, you know that using good folder structure (or specialized Revit add-ins) can solve half of the problem. Other half contain hard-to-solve issues, such as:

  • Only you know what you have, and can’t be sure who else also knows about it. And sometimes you can forget about some (old) content as well.
  • Content is hard to describe (no good solution to add metadata in Windows environment: images, videos, documents, descriptions, URL’s and other).
  • Difficult to search (you must know exact file name, or part of the file name).
  • Content is not available remotely.

 

The solution for managing your BIM library

The best solution I found so far is organizing your BIM content library as web based solution:

  • It is One-stop solution which can be categorized, tagged and described – all of the entered information can be easily searched which means that users can find the objects by themselves easily.
  • Revit file version (Revit backwards incompatibility issue) can be added as description or a category, so you do not need to rename your file, and have such information available at the same time.
  • Can contain different kinds of digital information (whatever file type you have).
  • Can be accessed remotely (if it’s hosted on a web server).
  • Can be accessed internally if needed (if it’s hosted on a local server only).
  • Can be protected so only particular users have access to it (via Log-in system).
  • Can be divided into parts so not everyone has access to everything.
  • Can collect statistics about file usage (number of downloads for instance).
  • Can collect user feedback via comments or similar.
  • Is read-only so only the administrators (BIM team) can change, update, add or remove content.
  • Can contain (and show) all the other information necessary for describing or enhancing an object or workflow (images, videos, documents, descriptions and other files).
  • Content can be connected so user knows that something else also might be needed, for example TAG for particular Revit family.

There are also cons regarding such system:

  • BIM team must comprehend some level of web technologies.
  • It takes more time to upload, describe and publish content with a certain level of quality.
  • Can easily become inconsistent (some files can better described (“equipped”) than the others).
  • If you run into host issues (website down) your library can be unavailable (must have backup by having local copy accessible to the team).

 

Example

Our Engipedia Warehouse part of the site serves as an example of how it can be set up. There you can see examples of free content that can be downloaded by everyone, content that is visible but locked (only available to certain users) and content that you cannot see, not even if you are logged in, if you do not have the access rights granted.

 

If you think this is solution for you, do not hesitate to contact us for consulting, we will gladly help you set up your own system.

 

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