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!

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.

Wilkhahn: A Chair Positioned at the Head of the BIM Table 

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Designers from around the globe seek out Wilkhahn’s premium quality office chairs and furniture due to their reputation for excellent, innovative design and quality construction. Wilkhahn saw creating a high quality Revit content library as being a key component of the service they offer their specification clients and was adamant that their Revit library reflected the quality of their brand and the products themselves. UNIFI created the Wilkhahn Revit content library which rolled out through their worldwide distribution network. Wilkhahn initially engaged with IGS BIM Solutions which was acquired by UNIFI in 2016.

Challenge

With the aesthetic aspect of Wilkhahn’s products being a major focus for both the supplier and the client, like most manufacturers undertaking their first BIM library project, there was a high priority in the mind of the client that the 3D component of the Revit families accurately reflected and accentuated the design integrity of the products in a visual sense.

A large number of the products included geometry that was highly organic. There were very few straight lines and angles, especially in the range of office chairs. Modelling this kind of geometry in Revit is challenging, especially when creating manufacturer’s content where a major consideration is to keep the file size to a minimum and performance in a project environment is extremely important in the eyes of most commercial project designers and model / BIM managers.

Solution

As is often the case when working with manufacturers developing Revit content for the first time, the UNIFI team had a number of discussions with Wilkhahn surrounding how and why Revit content is used by designers. Specifically, there was considerable time spent explaining the trade-off between modelling products to a high Level of Detail / Development (LOD) that accurately reflects the ‘real life’ aesthetics of the product and produces great renders vs Revit families that are a little less detailed but perform more efficiently in a project environment. The final Revit library created by UNIFI was done to a higher LOD to meet the needs of Wilkhahn’s primary clientele – mostly high-end interior designers and architects designing workspaces – who put a high priority on being able to utilize the 3D geometry in Revit to create aesthetically accurate renders as part of their design process.

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

SSOE: It’s All About Value — More Bang for Your Click

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As a Top 10 Engineering & Architecture firm, SSOE Group has been delivering a full range of project delivery solutions across 20+ locations worldwide for over 60 years.  SSOE leverages advanced technology and integrated teams to deliver high value results across its projects – saving time, trouble, and money for its clients.  When SSOE found that its BIM content management strategy wasn’t keeping pace with the needs of the firm, they turned to UNIFI – and found a partner who shared their vision of embracing technology and collaboration to drive value.

At a Breaking Point

Before engaging with UNIFI, SSOE had an extensive BIM content library with thousands of pieces of content to the serve the needs of its vast and diverse client base.  Initially, all of their BIM content was stored in a single network location. As use of BIM grew across SSOE’s nearly 30 locations, they realized this solution would become inefficient and difficult to maintain.  Accessing content was becoming slow at times, fixing broken content was difficult and propagating content changes across models presented numerous hurdles.  Roan Isaku, a BIM Specialist at SSOE and an architect himself, worked in the Revit team within SSOE and understood that “SSOE’s growth and pervasive utilization of BIM had brought them to a point with their BIM content that they needed a new solution”.

More Bang for Your Click

Leveraging SSOE’s own core values of agility and innovation, Roan turned to a like-minded solution – UNIFI Content Management – which offered “more bang for your click” in managing and utilizing content. UNIFI’s cloud-based solution fit the needs of SSOE’s distributed workforce of nearly 300 Revit users by enabling rapid access to a single source of content from anywhere, anytime. Intuitive workflows fostered sharing and collaboration among designers, while also streamlining content reviews and changes. Now, Roan and the other BIM Admins are able to review and approve content from wherever they are – in the office on a desktop or in the field on a mobile phone – making it easy to distribute the most up-to-date content in real-time.  “UNIFI embodies efficiency,” says Roan, “we are able to do more with less.  Or, in UNIFI’s case – do more per click.”

Moving the designers to UNIFI was a planned and deliberate process.  As Roan describes it, “Some of our users were reluctant to move away from a solution they knew – the server – to try Unifi.”  SSOE’s advantage was their dedicated BIM coordinators and culture of learning and development. By partnering closely with UNIFI’s customer success team, several impactful training sessions were conducted. They focused on introducing UNIFI’s capabilities within SSOE’s unique project workflows. Thanks to those customized training sessions, UNIFI has now become the primary content management solution for Revit users allowing for more efficient project delivery and improved collaboration between offices and disciplines. The “old” network server has become SSOE’s backup for content.

“UNIFI has become second nature for accessing content at SSOE. It provides maximum effect with minimum resources,” says Roan, and helps SSOE fulfill its model of delivering value and ultimately making their clients successful.

View the pdf of the SSOE success story and read more about how other UNIFI customers are achieving success in our Success Stories area.

 

 

Britex:  BIM Content that Drives Business Value

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Britex is Australia’s premier manufacturer of commercial stainless steel plumbing products and architectural fittings. With a sales and marketing strategy firmly focused on commercial project specification – by Architects, Interior Designers and Hydraulic Engineers – Britex was one of the first Australian manufacturers to invest in a long-term BIM strategy. With UNIFI as their provider of BIM content creation and strategic BIM services, Britex is considered one of the true market leaders among all BIM-enabled Australian manufacturers. Britex initially engaged with IGS BIM Solutions which was acquired by UNIFI in 2016.

Britex had begun developing an extensive library of Revit families for their products at the request of several major Architecture clients. However, like many of UNIFI’s product manufacturer clients, Britex initially engaged not one, but several content creators prior to working with UNIFI, all of whom who were unable to provide content that Britex’s Architecture clients saw value in utilizing.

To ensure the Revit content created for Britex was utilized by the broadest possible user base, UNIFI focused on creating content that provided maximum value to each discipline of designer. In the simplest possible terms this meant addressing key criteria for each category of Revit content user including Architects, Engineers and Designers.

  • Architects: Families capable of producing high quality documentation (e.g. 2D drawings, schedules etc) and included ample, well-structured product data.
  • Interior Designers: 3D geometry sufficient to create basic renders and accurately depict the major aesthetic elements of the products
  • Hydraulic Engineers: Families include defined water connectors and sanitary outlets

It would be fair to say the Britex Revit library has been an enormous success for Britex. Being an early adopter in its category, Britex was able to benefit greatly from being first to market with quality, fit-for-purpose Revit families for their products. Britex was able to provide a great service to these designers who were now looking for quality Revit content, especially free Revit content from product suppliers, to help them in their new design and documentation processes. The end result: specification volumes, and in turn sales figures, increased significantly following the launch of the Britex Revit library developed by UNIFI.

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