I am greatly concerned about the general industry trend where firms are simply adding too much clutter/data/detail/ additional functionality to their families and models without enough rigorous thought about exactly why they feel the need to do this.
Objects and projects are becoming overly complicated to interact with. A family with 50 or even 100 parameters is becoming the norm and parametric functionality is assumed as an almost automatic requirement. Almost every dimension can be scheduled in projects and the detailing levels of Revit families just seem to keep increasing. I think that this approach is a really bad idea. The more complex we make Revit/BIM objects or projects – the more conscious and subconscious decisions are required just to interact and navigate through the model environment.
Here are some thoughts on possibly rethinking how we evaluate why and how we choose to build company systems and Revit content:
TIP #1 – How is our Revit/ BIM content impacting project workflows?
Before following the BIM industry frenzy of adding more and more detail into projects, schedules and component libraries maybe ask this question:
- Why are we adding more complex families to our libraries and what proportion of the drafting team does this impact?
- If it solves a problem for one team member that does detailing but creates a headache for the remaining 20 people on the team then it might not be the best solution and perhaps 2D detailing in combination with simpler Revit families should be considered instead.
TIP #2 – Beware of creating unnecessarily complicated Revit content
Bear in mind:
- The more data your families hold, the more data drafting teams will have to manage, maintain and update.
- The more complicated your families are (in model, detail or data form) – the more advanced the drafters will need to be in using Revit in order to be able to interact with or edit your content. These families will also be more likely to break as well when drafters try to edit them.
- If you have a high staff turnover (this requires honest reflection) then consider building a Revit/BIM strategy that caters for inexperienced to intermediate Revit users instead of needing advanced Revit users. Basic to intermediate Revit users are cheaper and easier to replace than trying to find ‘Revit guns’ for every project.
- You will also need a highly skilled content creator to manage your library if it is very complicated to edit and maintain. Such specialized skills might be harder to find.
TIP #3 – Avoid creating Revit content that is designed to step over training issues within your firm.
It can be very tempting to create families that do some of the more complicated tasks automatically for the drafters simply in the aim to reduce risks and improve accuracy. To some degree this can be smart and in other ways it can also result in families that are possibly too detailed and cumbersome to work with because they are doing so much.
- Try not to absolve drafting teams from all accountability. Sometimes making a few conscious decisions along the way can be helpful prompts to assist drafting teams to make informed design decisions.
- Whilst highly detailed Revit families can be used to overcome shortcomings in staff knowledge I would suggest that firms instead invest in (1) a well-considered and thoroughly audited details library and (2) technical drafting training for their staff instead.
“Just because we CAN doesn’t mean we SHOULD…”
Hope that this has been useful food for thought.