HASSELL Scores Big with BIM Content Management

HASSELL is a leading international design practice with studios in Australia, China, South East Asia and the United Kingdom.  Architects and design professionals are brought together in virtual teams to assemble the best group for a project, regardless of physical location.  Many projects involve collaboration with other firms and consultants, adding an additional layer of coordination and complexity.  All of these factors add up to HASSELL employing a culture built on collaboration, creativity, and innovation in design thinking and delivery.  This multi-pronged culture drove HASSELL to deploy UNIFI as its single source of BIM content management for its design professionals and beyond.

The Perth Stadium – Multiple Firms, A Single Source of Collaboration

HASSELL has an impressive and exhaustive list of projects where they have put the UNIFI solution to good use – including projects involving only HASSELL employees as well as joint efforts with outside firms.  The Perth Stadium is a collaboration among HASSELL, Cox and HKS to design a 60,000 seat multi-purpose sports facility in Australia.  The stadium’s revolutionary design requires state of the art technology to ensure a free-flow of ideas and collaboration across the project team, managed by Perth Stadium builder, Multiplex, while also maintaining strict controls over the access and use of the BIM content.

A big question with any joint undertaking of this magnitude is how will all the libraries be shared?  The answer – UNIFI library sharing.  UNIFI’s library sharing feature enables project specific content to be securely shared with the globally distributed, multi-firm project team.  A Perth library held only relevant project content and was shared across the project teams at HASSELL, Cox and HKS, making it simple for the team to have a single source of approved building blocks for the Perth Stadium.

Security was another key concern with so many people involved in the project in distributed locations and firms, but HASSELL and its design partners could rest assured with UNIFI.  “The cloud is more secure than file-based solutions,” says Michael Ruehr, Revit Application Specialist for HASSELL. “We have total visibility on downloads and usage.  We were in the dark before UNIFI.”  No more Dropbox, no more email – UNIFI made it simple to share a single source of content that was approved and vetted by the design teams.  “UNIFI avoided a logistical nightmare,” says Michael.  Additionally, when people roll on (or off) the project, access is easily and securely managed through UNIFI’s administrative console.

“UNIFI allows us to work smarter,” says Julia Allen, BIM Manager in the HASSELL Melbourne studio.  Prior to UNIFI, Julia and the other BIM Managers were constantly being asked for content – whether it be a door, window or light fixture.  Julia estimates that 9 out of 10 people now easily find what they need by searching on UNIFI.  There’s an added benefit to these successful searches – less duplication of effort rebuilding content that’s already available.  “We don’t have people screaming for content because it is already in being shared across the company using UNIFI,” says Julia.  “It allows us to have a more efficient and refined library, since we aren’t letting any rogue content in.”

A Winning Formula

HASSELL’s website says, “We judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them.”  At UNIFI, we measure success by how our customers use our solution to meet their goals.  In the case of HASSELL – they’ve pulled off a hat trick using UNIFI — enhancing project collaboration, improving workplace efficiency and deploying a single source of BIM content – which secures them an honorary position on a premier cricket team in the Perth Stadium.

View the pdf of the HASSELL Success Story and read how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.

Actionable Analytics

Analytics are only as good as the actions they prompt.  As content experts, we regularly provide actionable analytics to help our customers achieve the greatest success with their content.  Take a look at what analytics are available to you on UNIFI, the only cloud-based BIM content management platform:

Search Trends

Do you want to know what content your users are searching for and then what happens when they find it?  UNIFI provides analytic reports that details the most common terms searched for, libraries used, etc. and what the ensuing actions were.  “Which searches resulted in insertions?” or “how far down in the results were insertions made from?” are just a few key questions we provide answers to.  This ultimately allows you to influence the meta-data for better search results which you can modify through UNIFI’s Rename and Batch Tag Management features.

User Activity Reports

UNIFI is completely user based which allows you to understand who your most active and least active users are.  Users office locations can also be set, allowing you to identify locations or specific users that need more attention. You can even identify who may be using “rogue” content by their lack of downloads to the system.

 

Project Insertion Reports

It’s one thing to have a single source of content, but another to understand where that content is being used.  UNIFI provides reports that indicate all content inserted and into which projects.  Additionally, you will see which revisions were inserted compared to what the current revision is.  This allows you to know which projects require updating as you make improvements or critical fixes to content. Also, which projects aren’t receiving any of your standardized content!

Content Insertion Report

Content Insert Report:  This report allows admins to see what projects need content updates and perform damage control when bad content has been inserted into projects.

Content Usage Reports

The average UNIFI customer stores roughly 5,000 elements in the cloud and only about 25% of those have been used.  Are you wasting time maintaining content that isn’t ever used?  With UNIFI, you will understand what content is not used in addition to which content is used the most.

Not all content that isn’t used is bad.  It may just appear bad to your designers or not appear at all!  With UNIFI analytics, you can understand what content hasn’t been appearing in search results or if content is consistently showing up in results but isn’t being used.  This allows you to adjust your meta-data (influence search), preview images, naming, etc.  In some cases, you will also recognize truly irrelevant content and purge out of your library.

Content Quality Analysis Reports

All UNIFI content is stored in the cloud – which allows constant monitoring of key quality aspects – even while you sleep! Our cloud is capable of understanding and reporting parameter, category, imported CAD, etc. information.  This information can then be measured against your own standards.  Understand if you have unused Shared Parameters or how many shared parameters of any given name you have in your library that don’t match the shared parameter from your SP file.

 

Content Quality Audit

Content Quality Report: Details which categories contain imported CAD geometry – never a good thing!

Content Requests

Designers can easily make requests for new content AND changes to existing content directly within UNIFI.  Over time, the reports of these requests will allow you to know what categories of content you have the greatest need for.  Additionally, who your most proactive users are.

Content Ratings

You are busy and need to focus your efforts.  Content ratings in UNIFI allow your users an easy means to provide feedback to your content.  Monitoring the applied ratings helps you know where to spend your time when making improvements to content or creating new content.

Security

Ever wonder how much of your content is walking out the door as employees leave your organization?  UNIFI tracks not only who inserts into projects but batch downloads to local drives as well.  Reports on these downloads allow you to know who and how much content is being downloaded so you can identify individuals wanting to abscond with content.  Additionally, every element stored in UNIFI is embedded with an invisible watermark.  We can help you identify your content if you discover it in the public domain. We know that your content libraries are a significant investment and UNIFI allows you to protect that.

We’ve listed out the top 8 actionable analytics using UNIFI…there are many more and we invite you to add yours to this list in the comments section below.

Learn more about UNIFI Insights here.

And, if you’re not using UNIFI, sign up for a free trial today!

Multi-format Support is Coming!

Yes, it is true! Multi-format support will be coming soon – we’re expecting it to arrive in Q2. What does this mean to you? If you can save an item as a file, then it can be stored, searched and found on UNIFI.  That means UNIFI can be your single source for all your digital content – whether it be AutoCAD, Bentley, Civil 3D, SketchUp and more. Here’s a sample of the design platforms and content types that we will be supporting.

Stay tuned for more details!

Release Notes

V2.2 Release Notes

The UNIFI Team is more than ecstatic to release 2.2! This was a jam-packed version filled with over 120 new features and bug fixes. Here are some of the big ticket items:

New Features/Enhancements:

  • UNIFI Connect – We are very excited to introduce a brand new product, UNIFI Connect, which is included as part of the UNIFI platform at no charge. UNIFI Connect provides access to high quality manufacturer content leveraging the proven workflow of the UNIFI platform. Manufacturers host their content in UNIFI as channels and UNIFI users subscribe to them making the content available to the entire organization for search and insert into models. Click here to listen to the webinar and read more about Connect on our website.
  • Office Locations – Company admins can now create Office Locations in our UNIFI Portal and set users to those locations.
  • Schedules in Batch Tag Manager – Schedules are now visible in the Batch Tag Manager in the UNIFI Portal.
  • Structural Icons in Saved Search – We’ve added a set of structural icons in our Saved Search in the UNIFI Client.

  • Batch User Import – Company admins now have the ability to specify security groups when batch importing users from excel/csv in the UNIFI Client.

Bug Fixes:

Our team continues to squish those pesky bugs. Here are some notable mentions:

  • Library Admin Filter [UP-181] – The library admin filter is now correctly filtering the users list in the UNIFI Portal. Thanks Tammy for pointing this out to us!
  • User Details Delete Button [UP-404] – We made the delete button on the user’s detail page of the UNIFI Portal actually delete the specified user.
  • Accents on letters mess w/SSO [ULA-215] – Fixed an interesting issue where having accents in your username caused issues when logging into SSO.
  • Double clicking when inserting [UC-517] – For all the fast clickers out there, we found an issue where if double clicking to insert a file from the file details page would can an error. We’re happy to have resolved that issue!
  • Downloading type catalogs from Browse/Search [UC-500] – We are now including the txt file when downloading a type catalog from browse or search.

As always, if you have questions – please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to delivering many new exciting features in upcoming releases, including….drumroll please….Multi-format Support in Q2!

Attn UNIFI Customers: 5 FREE Licenses to Share with Your External Partners

In today’s connected world, no organization is an island! The design-build-operate framework requires you to work with various firms across the building lifecycle and share information, including BIM content.  That’s why we are offering existing UNIFI customers a unique opportunity to promote collaboration and enhance productivity – 5 free UNIFI partner licenses that you can share with your partners across the building lifecycle.

Already, many of your fellow UNIFI users are sharing access to their libraries with their external partners to make collaborating more efficient than ever – whether it be two firms working together on a joint project, an AEC firm working with an owner/operator who want to speak the same “BIM” language, or a dedicated channel between an AEC and manufacturer to get custom BIM content. Are you ready to join them and put your 5 free UNIFI partner licenses to work?

As you identify which of your external partners you’d like to share UNIFI with, here are some questions you may be asking:

1. Who qualifies for a free partner license?

Any external partner you collaborate with during your design projects. Internal team members at your design firm do not qualify (even if they are based in a separate office!) as you can already invite them to set up a UNIFI account and start accessing your libraries!

Think about AECs who you collaborate with during the design process. Or perhaps the owner/operator you are delivering the final BIM model to. Some of our clients have even established a shared library with their favorite manufacturers so that receiving/requesting new content is easier than ever before.

2. How many free licenses do I get?

You get up to five licenses to share with your favorite partners, but you don’t have to give them all out at once. Feel free to shoot just one or two our way to start with!  You can give one license to each partner, and since we provide you with an open license – multiple people can access that one license (just not at the same time).

3. This sounds great! How can I get my partners signed up?

It’s easy – just contact us at sales@unifilabs.com with their names and email addresses or click the “share your licenses now” button and fill out the form.  We’ll take care of setting up their accounts and help you enable sharing of content libraries. If you’re interested, we’ll also schedule a quick 30 minute UNIFI traning session with you and your partners to help them get started!

UNIFI Connect – Stantec/Furniture Mfgr. Case Study Reveals Clear Value & Strong ROI

Boy, are we excited about UNIFI Connect – which connects high quality manufacturer BIM content directly into the libraries of our user base of industry leading AECOs – and we know you’ll be too, once you see the results of a study we just wrapped up.  The results demonstrate a clear value to manufacturers in short period of time – just take a look:

 

The Study

A top tier furniture manufacturer’s BIM content library was shared with Stantec, a global leader in the building industry, using UNIFI Connect. Over the course of three months, data was collected on searches and downloads of the furniture library by Stantec designers. The results are compelling: UNIFI Connect delivers significant and measurable value.  

Results

  • The furniture manufacturer’s library of content was used by Stantec in 35 different projects
  • 5,565 product searches included the manufacturer’s content
  • 138 total product model insertions led to $229,000 of specifications

You may have noted that the total specification figure is pretty conservative, as we are only displaying a single use of the product. In reality this number could be significantly higher based upon repeated usage of the product.

This study covered 3 months of use by a single customer. Now just imagine that the content was extended across the entire UNIFI customer base on an annual basis….those number would really start to increase!  By placing your content on UNIFI Connect, those impressive numbers can be your reality…contact us today and get your content on Connect – call us at 702.527.6460, email us at sales@unifilabs.com or fill out the form at the bottom of the UNIFI Connect page.

 

SMMA – A Single-Source Focus on BIM Content

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Since 1955, SMMA has balanced architecture, engineering, interiors, and site design, to afford clients the agility of a single source of creative and technical expertise. Guided by a shared pursuit of design excellence and social responsibility, SMMA holds itself to the highest standards across all of its practice areas. As the firm grew, it found itself in need of a robust, innovative asset-management system, to keep its multidisciplinary BIM content organized and easily accessible. UNIFI was the answer.

A Standard to Find Hidden Content
SMMA has focused on advancing novel BIM-utilization methods since adopting the technology in 2004. Over time, the firm developed customized solutions to consolidate its BIM content library, but many applications did not possess the crucial features required by its Design Technology Group. “Content was hidden in folders, and we lacked standards across the library,” says Thomas Merchel, SMMA Design Technologist. Out of necessity, the firm created a detailed content-container system, which limited future growth and made onboarding new team members very difficult. Thomas knew another solution was necessary for the improvement and standardization of content. That’s when SMMA discovered UNIFI.

Source Control Translates into Clean Content
SMMA became a UNIFI customer early on, and quickly incorporated the platform into its BIM workflow. UNIFI afforded the firm the ability to centralize and display content via a clean, user-friendly experience. With the use of UNIFI, SMMA was able to launch its reference detail library on the cloud, allowing for single-source, firm-wide access to valuable and complex details, and significantly reducing the construction-documentation process. “We now have a central, sterile source of information, with no leakage of content,” says Thomas. “Updates are pushed out on the fly, in real time, ensuring that our teams have confidence in accessing and utilizing the most current content.”

The efficiencies that SMMA has gained by using UNIFI have allowed it to be more responsive and nimble as a design firm. “The capability to utilize the cloud to efficiently load content directly into our documentation software is emblematic of the culture of innovation that SMMA has built,” says Thomas Merchel. UNIFI’s robust management console, which includes permissions and approvals, further streamlines access to content and ensures end-user confidence in its quality. SMMA’s two-pronged commitment to design excellence and social responsibility is now complemented by a singular focus on superior content management with UNIFI.

View the pdf of the SMMA Success Story and read how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.

Interior Success

Interior Architects:  Transforming Building Information into Business Intelligence

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Interior Architects designs more than a pretty space, they translate their client’s goals, brand and culture into powerful environments built around people, process, technology and business drivers.  Interior Architects (IA) clients are tech-savvy and data driven, and include some of the leading firms in the technology, retail and commercial sectors who have operations (and interior spaces) located across the globe.

Design with Silos of Information

Prior to UNIFI, IA organized its interior data into folders that were replicated across servers in each office, worldwide.  This system proved to be unwieldy, with update and access issues constantly impacting the shared network folders.  It was slowing the speed of IA’s high performance staff, who needed rapid & dependable access to design assets.

IA Becomes The Steward of Data for Its Clients

With UNIFI, IA found more than just a solution to their content management needs, they found a partner who could help them fulfill their mission of leveraging technology to create and optimize interior spaces.  The core elements of UNIFI’s cloud-based solution satisfied IA’s need to contain content as a single point of truth.  Designers now have always-on, anywhere access to content so they could get what they need, when they need it.  The common interface of the UNIFI solution streamlines workflows across IA’s offices, so “IA is no longer a set of tribal offices, now everyone has access to the same content worldwide.”

IA boasts thousands of unique design assets and growing.  These assets include high quality furniture content, lighting models, cabinetry, system families, detail libraries, manufacturer specific models, and more.  IA utilizes UNIFI’s content-on-demand service which frees up the IA team to focus the optimal design spaces rather than creating objects. Now, the UNIFI team creates customer objects based upon IA’s specifications saving time and ensuring data consistency globally.

IA feels that anyone can design an interior space, but being a steward of the data is what differentiates them from their competitors.  UNIFI automates the organization of content, which drives efficiency and allows for better analytics.  Through its use of UNIFI, IA gains unique insights into how and where objects are used throughout its projects. IA analyzes the data from UNIFI and works with their clients to drive efficiency and business value, transforming their role in the building process.  It’s true, IA designs beautiful interiors…but, there’s a lot of technology and intellectual know-how built into supporting that space.

View the pdf of the Interior Architects Success Story and read how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.

Solar Panels

Harvey’s Plumbing and Heating: How a Content Management Solution Accelerates the Mission to Save the Planet

 

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Harvey’s Plumbing and Heating’s slogan is “saving the planet one job at a time”.  That’s an ambitious goal for the Montana-based firm who provides a variety of eco-friendly mechanical and plumbing services to businesses across the state.  In order to achieve this mission, Harvey’s has a library of over 26,000 unique design assets ranging from complex prefabricated assemblies to basic generic objects.  Harvey’s employees have the skills to do the jobs, but they struggled with how to organize, access and manage their overflowing treasure trove of data.

Finding Content Shouldn’t Be a Treasure Hunt

Prior to UNIFI, Harvey’s used a Windows-based file folder system that was clunky and hard to locate data. The folder structures were very deep which made searching for and finding information a bit like a treasure hunt.  Displaying objects was another issue.  Harvey’s needed certain views of images that weren’t available through Windows Explorer.  Access to the data was available only at the office and not in the field, which further limited productivity, plus the search process was very slow.  When a file needed to appear in two places, it created a maintenance nightmare.  Harvey’s needed a solution that structured their information in a logical, easy to search format with sophisticated display capabilities that could be accessed from anywhere.

Mission Accomplished with UNIFI – 10X Productivity Increase

Harvey’s mechanical designer, Brian Nickel, came across UNIFI and knew he found the solution to solve the company’s content management needs.  Under Brian’s leadership, Harvey’s created a single source library for its thousands of design assets and now, “search is a snap”.  Information is organized in a logical, intuitive structure, making it easy to search for any object including those already installed at a job site or reusing objects for future projects.  And, engineers are able to access the information from anywhere – in the office, field, or home – thanks to the cloud.

In the past, many of Harvey’s pre-fabricated objects didn’t display well – but in UNIFI, they do.  Using UNIFI’s display features, engineers are able to easily visualize the pre-fabricated content outside of the Revit environment and convey the design component requirements directly to the design staff.   The ability to store, visualize and retrieve Revit groups has not only accelerated the design process but also allows Harvey’s to coordinate prefabrication and installation activities.  By having these groups stored and represented as custom preview images, UNIFI solves a key problem that Harvey’s struggled with previously.

Since deploying UNIFI, Harvey’s has enjoyed a 10X productivity increase due to workflow efficiencies. “The UNIFI solution works seamlessly with Revit and doesn’t slow us down,” says Brian.  The rapid access to design assets frees up the Harvey’s team to focus on their biggest mission, doing even more jobs to save the planet.

View the pdf of the Harvey’s Success Story and read how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.

Legrand: A Manufacturer Translates BIM into a Competitive Advantage

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Even amidst the expansion of its electric and IT businesses – Legrand heard the buzz about BIM.  As a world leader in electrical wiring solutions, Legrand knew that its customers across the building industry were moving towards 3D models.  Legrand recognized that they would need more than just the traditional resources that provided product visibility for customers in today’s connected world.

Legrand needed a BIM offering to help its customers make informed product decisions, yet they weren’t ready to invest in developing the internal expertise necessary to create BIM renderings and content creation.  At first, they turned to an outside vendor who created models for other manufacturers, but Legrand experienced a myriad of issues including missed deadlines, improperly sized models and even worse, models that could not meet MEP performance compliance or Autodesk Seek quality standards.  The vendor took a cookie cutter approach to BIM creation without truly understanding Legrand’s products and customers’ needs. Legrand needed to look elsewhere and was introduced to UNIFI and its BIM content creation team.

From the initial visit with UNIFI, things were different.  “UNIFI took the time to learn about our diverse families of products to understand how customers used these products,” says Will Ayers, Specification Marketing Manager for Legrand.  “Then, they leveraged their knowledge of building design and Revit tools to effectively integrate manufacturer content that would better align with user needs.”  The result – UNIFI designed high quality BIM content that actually fits the needs of the customers, not only during the design and constructions phases of the building, but had value throughout the entire lifecycle of the building.  This new content also included custom programming that provided improvements designed to enhance model usability and save time for users. They also developed a standards schema to insure that there would model performance consistency across six Legrand business units and all their diverse product lines.

Today, Legrand uses its BIM assets as a competitive advantage and a way to forge tighter relationships with its customers. On a regular basis, Legrand hosts events to introduce their BIM content and provide training on the use their BIM content.  “Customers are blown away by what they see,” says Will Ayers, Specification Marketing Manager for Legrand.  “Our models not only fit the customer’s needs, they help us to create long lasting relationships across our diverse brands.”  By using BIM effectively, Legrand ensures that its products “fit” the model from the get go, which helps ensure that its products get specified when construction begins.

View the pdf of the Legrand Success Story and read how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.