The Bradley BIM Team maintained time and cost records for building the Bradley Revit Family Library from the summer of 2009 to December 2011.
When I survey the Revit family modeling costs, relative to the processes we used to build Bradley’s 1000 Revit Families; it reveals the “real value” in cost savings for each pre-built Bradley Revit Family Model.
Each pre-built, Bradley Revit model, can typically save a trained and knowledgeable BIM Manager between $150-$250 of labor costs.
Whoa! How did you arrive at that dollar value?
I arrive at this value, by combining these 2 assumptions with our 7 standard steps (below) for properly creating a Revit family model. In fact, these are the initial steps I teach every professional; that needs to properly create Revit family models.
Assumption #1: I set my BIM Manager costs at $75 / hour; realizing the manager has real costs for hourly wage, software, equipment and benefits. The manager should have a billable rate (cost) for creating project Revit families (project billing cost) AND company standard Revit family library (billed back as overhead to reduce future project costs). I identify these costs as an organization’s BIM Assets.
Assumption #2: My BIM Manager is properly trained and has the savings of pre-built, company standard Revit Family templates. These templates are embedded with their established Revit family graphic & data standards. So these start up costs and annual maintenance of company BIM standards & templates; are NOT factored into my real costs. In reality, these costs would be amortized into the annual costs for the BIM Manager.
So the cost-savings value is conservative and assumes a very qualified BIM Manager is managing the company Revit model building process. This provides the ideal conditions for weighing the value of using pre-built manufacturer’s Revit family models.
7 Steps for Constructing a Manufacturer’s Product Revit Family
01) Collect Product Data: A BIM Manager will download Tech Data Sheets with each product’s dimensional drawing information and parameters (PDF) to begin Revit modeling of a manufacturer’s products. This includes product material images, so the product can be shaded and rendered.
- Sometimes a manufacturer will have CAD files available to use as tracing templates for modeling the manufacturer’s product. Many times, they do not have CAD files for dimensionally, accurate product profiles and shapes. The BIM Manager will then have to create models with less accurate means.
02) Component Templates: A design firm creates Revit Family Templates for multiple product categories for their ongoing Revit family model building. Templates are used as “starting points” to create and maintain consistent new Revit families.
03) Visibility Settings: Optimizing these settings is THE KEY to the performance of your Revit project. 2D plan, front and left views are optimized by turning off the 3D components’ visibility in these 2D orthographic views. Masking regions and symbolic lines are used to represent the product in the orthographic views. Each of these 2D entities in each of these 3 views are assigned a Coarse, Medium & Fine visibility setting.
04) Parameters: Once the product is Revit modeled and assigned 2D entities, a BIM Manager adds the instance parameters and type-based parameters\share paramenters for tagging and scheduling. (Uniformat Assembly Code, Omniclass, MasterFormat \ Keynote, Material, Manufacturer URL, material, MEP settings, etc)
05) Family Types: Next, family types or family type catalogs are created to add efficiency to the new Revit model. If a product has 5-7 simple variations ; I recommend building the family types into the Revit family file. If a product has more than 7 variations; I suggest creating a Revit Family Catalog.
06) Purge & Optimize: CAD files imported into Revit Family files, that were used for tracing; need to be deleted in all views. CAD files’ layer definitions will contaminate the project file’s subcategories and need to be purged. Purge line patterns definitions to prevent them being added to the project and it helps minimize the family file size.
07) Quality Control: Quality control now dictates the model and ALL family types are loaded into a project, flexed, dimensioned, swapped, scheduled, tagged, shaded and rendered. In addition, EVERY view (plan, front, left) is checked against the view settings of Coarse, Medium & Fine visibility setting. If anything fails, its back to the Revit Family Editor for revision….and the QC process begins again.
Each pre-built Bradley Revit model saves on average, a trained and knowledgeable BIM Manager easily $150-$250 of labor.
Return On Investment (ROI)
When we consider the time required to complete the 7 steps I’ve summarized; the estimated Revit modeling labor savings of $150-250 is very conservative. Quality, pre-built manufacturer Revit models can be a key component to help new Revit professionals to minimize their initial costs and jump start their Revit investment.
Autodesk is now offering Autodesk Revit LT 2013. Reliable, pre-built Revit families become a valuable tool for the sole practitioner and smaller projects; that may not require the capabilities of a full version of Autodesk Revit.
Author Tip #1: Here is one of my favorite manufacturer’s Revit libraries; that I’ve recommended to Revit professionals that I’ve trained to start their company Revit Library.
- USGDesignStudio: USG Revit Wall Families with STC and Fire Rating parameters.
Author Tip #2 | The Family Harvest: At the end of every project, a BIM Manager should be harvesting the Revit families used in a completed Revit project. These families are copied either to the corporate standards folder AND/OR to their project-type templates & folders.
Daniel Hughes, Bradley Corporation BIM Strategist
Daniel has personally provided individual BIM Manager | Revit Standards Training to more than 100 Revit professionals; as they assumed the BIM Management role for their organization. More than 700 professionals have received various levels of Daniel’s Revit training, implementation and consulting services.
Since 2002, he has created more than 130 Strategic Process Reviews \ Implementation Plans to serve as his clients’ road maps for transitioning from a CAD to a Revit-BIM processes environment. Each road map delivered fiscally, responsible options that were unique to each organization’s implementation of new Revit technology and BIM processes. His 15 years as a corporate owner and 8 years working in design firms; provided a high level of credibility for each client’s individual Revit road map.