Key Costs and Quality Steps for Building Revit Families

Posted by Daniel Hughes on May 24, 2016 1:30:00 PM

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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 constructing 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.

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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 vs. "designer-built" 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.

Revit Project Performance | Revit Family File Size vs Family Visibility Settings

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.

How to Load a Revit Family With a Revit 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.

Revit Schedules – Tags | Bradley Revit Family Parameter Testing Process

Return On Investment (ROI) Savings for Pre-built Revit Family Models

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.

Each pre-built Bradley Revit model saves on average, a trained and knowledgeable BIM Manager easily $150-$250 of labor.

Autodesk provides Autodesk Revit LT. 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: These were the first building product manufacturers (BPMs); that created their products for Revit. We used their Revit families to begin building our clients' Revit Standards libraries. They provided the basic building blocks of walls, ceilings, lighting, windows, curtain wall systems and casework.

View Article - Links to My First Building Pproduct Manufacturer Revit Family Libraries

View Complete Article: My First 5 Revit Family Manufacturer Content Websites

Author Tip #2 | The Family Harvest: At the end of every project, a Revit BIM\VDC 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 Hughes, Bradley Corporation BIM Strategist | Specifications Specialist

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Topics: bradley revit library, building information modeling, Bradley Revit-BIM FAQs, autodesk revit architecture, autodesk revit mep library, revit family standards, download free revit family library, Revit Help-Technical Support, Revit Training-Education, bim model lod, how to implement revit, revit family training, revit building product manufacturer, revit model lod


Daniel Hughes

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