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.

Stantec: Feeling Secure About Its BIM Content

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Stantec is a global leader that provides services spanning the building lifecycle and employs nearly 22,000 people working in over 400 locations across six continents.  Stantec’s Building Group, comprised of architects and engineers who work with Revit, employs over 3,500 people across 100 geographic locations called business centers.  Despite its distributed team, Stantec encourages cross-office collaboration and sharing among its business centers.  After learning that their content management solution would no longer be supported, Stantec needed to find an alternative that would provide access to a centralized content in a secure, yet easily accessible manner.  They turned to UNIFI.

Challenge

Stantec’s former content management vendor actually recommended that they take a look at UNIFI.  David Spehar, Principal in Stantec’s Buildings Digital Practice, was tasked with the investigation.  David is a registered architect who was an early adopter of Revit, so he possessed a hands on understanding of how digital building content was used and the challenges around maintaining consistent, standard content – especially for an organization on the scale of Stantec.  David was looking for a solution that offered a centralized library of BIM content that everyone could easily access while enforcing a baseline of standardization and ensuring the highest level of security.

Solution

Stantec embarked on a multi-month pilot of UNIFI’s solution.  An extensive security audit was performed to validate data and ensure content was protected, which UNIFI passed with flying colors.  “Security is a major concern for us, as we are involved in several government projects,” says David, “UNIFI worked with us to provide the level of assurance we needed.”  Stantec started “small”, piloting the solution to 100 Revit users in order to understand how they used and access content.  With the success of the pilot, Stantec embarked upon training and communication across the Building Group to get all users on the UNIFI platform.

“With an organization of our size, we wanted a solution that minimized re-creation of the wheel,” says David, “and a file sharing, network-based solution was a non-starter.”  UNIFI’s cloud-based access provided access to a single source of content that could easily scale to meet Stantec’s needs and making it easy to find content while ensuring uniform standards.  Plus, UNIFI was flexible to accommodate the unique needs and structure of Stantec’s business centers.  A corporate library houses all approved content to be used across the Stantec organization, while each business center has its own library for content unique to that specific geographic location.  Moving forward, David’s vision is to leverage UNIFI’s analytics to understand what content is most used across all offices, and consolidate that into the corporate library and develop saved searches for easy access and use in Revit models.

Today, UNIFI is deployed across Stantec’s Buildings Group. Over 3,000 users are enjoying the benefits of a single-source, cloud based content management solution and David feels confident that Stantec’s content is safe and secure.

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

KTGY: Breaking Down Siloes by Building Content in the Cloud

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KTGY is an international full-service architecture and planning firm that combines big picture opportunities, modern sustainable practices and impeccable design standards into innovative building developments.  KTGY prides itself as a firm filled with problem solvers, who are able to translate its clients’ complex requirements into simple and elegant solutions.  When KTGY realized that they had an internal problem with BIM (Building Information Models) content being siloed across their seven different offices, they turned to UNIFI and its cloud-based solution as the answer to empowering its employees with a consistent, single source of standardized BIM content.

Challenge

KTGY builds beautiful spaces, but they were creating silos when it came to managing their BIM content.  Each of the seven KTGY offices across the globe had its own way of storing content and there was no consistency nor sharing of content among offices. This led to waste, inefficiency and created walls between offices and amongst its 120 designers.  Enter Troy Gates, KTGY’s Director of Design Technology, who was tasked with breaking down these barriers.

Troy, an early adopter of Revit himself, wanted to find a content management solution that provided a single source of truth and allowed users to easily find content without having the hassles of managing the content.  Troy wanted a content management solution that put the power into the hands of their users, while also addressing the inefficiencies inherent in the siloed approach employed at each KTGY office.

Solution

Enter UNIFI – where Troy found a cloud-based content solution that delivered a single source of content and company-wide standardization. “KTGY now looks like one company regardless of whether our Oakland, Irvine or Pune office is designing,” says Troy Gates. “All seven offices have access to content at any time with one source.”  KTGY designers are able to focus on design, rather than searching and managing content.  UNIFI’s cloud-based access and powerful search features including saved searches and favorites, empower KTGY users to easily find the content that best fits their project.

Design is a fluid process and flexibility is a must, which UNIFI enables through a robust set of permissions and libraries.  Troy and his core team set standards and approve new content that goes into a KTGY company standards library.  Troy also sets up a “free for all” library where anyone in KTGY can place content – which fosters creativity and new ideas.  The content in this library moves into the company standards library once it has been reviewed and approved.  Troy envisions that one day, the company library will hold all content, a process that is still evolving.

The UNIFI platform delivers unique operational efficiencies beyond traditional content management.  UNIFI analytics provide Troy with a data rich understanding of what content is being used, what isn’t and helps shape how KTGY manages BIM content into the future. On-boarding new architects is a breeze, no more hunting for content – so they can immediately start designing.

KTGY doesn’t just architect buildings, their designers also help shape the UNIFI product.  Inside UNIFI there is an Ideas Portal where any user can submit a request for a new product feature.  Many of KTGY’s submissions have been incorporated into UNIFI.  Additionally, Troy is a member of UNIFI’s Advisory Board, where he provides valuable insights into the future direction of the solution that further the utility of UNIFI for KTGY and the industry as a whole.  UNIFI views KTGY as not only a customer, but a valued partner.  And, we are delighted that KTGY has achieved remarkable success with UNIFI’s cloud-based content management solution.  As Troy states, “The name of the product, UNIFI, describes what KTGY was able to do – we now have a single source of content.  Truth in advertising!”

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

CHS Healthcare: Intuitive Healthcare Revit Content

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CHS (Ceiling Hoist Solutions) is an industry leading supplier of portable and fixed patient lifting systems into the healthcare sector. After a sporadic introduction to the world of BIM and Revit content creation, CHS is now enjoying the benefits of engaging UNIFI as their provider of Revit content and strategic BIM services.  CHS initially engaged with UNIFI BIM Solutions which was acquired by UNIFI in 2016.

Project Background

Prior to working with UNIFI, CHS had engaged another Revit content creator to develop a Revit content library for their fixed ceiling hoist range. However, upon launching this initial library, CHS were advised by their Architecture clients that their Revit families did not meet their needs. In turn, CHS were advised by their clients to work with UNIFI as the industry’s leading Revit content creator, capable of creating a new, high quality Revit content library that would be utilized by commercial Architecture firms.

Challenges

The CHS product range of ceiling hoists is made up of numerous components, including rails, hoists, hangers and droppers. The rail components in this product range in particular are highly customizable so that bespoke systems can be created for any kind of room layout in a healthcare environment. The main challenge from a Revit content creation standpoint was to create a simple solution for a complex product range. Specifically, UNIFI needed to develop a Revit content library that could adequately detail and document the complete range of system configurations available, whilst ensuring users were able to utilize and manipulate the content in a project environment with relative simplicity.

Solution

To ensure the CHS Revit library specifically catered to the needs and wants of their clients, Healthcare Architecture BIM specialists across the industry were consulted in the development of the Revit family library. The subsequent content library developed for this product range is highly parametric and extremely intuitive. This intuitiveness provides users the ability to efficiently create documentation for highly customized ceiling hoist systems on the fly, without having to spend considerable time understanding the complexities of the system itself. By implementing a number of constraints and conditional statements into the content, users can create documentation (2D, 3D and schedules) for complete ceiling hoist systems combining hoists, droppers and rails. This is simply undertaken by adjusting intuitive family parameters and/or choosing predefined products from a sample Revit project/product library.

Outcome

To date, the feedback given to CHS from Architecture professionals on the quality and usability of the CHS Revit content library has been exceptional. Architects are finding the library a great asset to their practice when specifying ceiling hoist systems for Hospitals and Aged Care projects in particular. Owing to the quality of the library, CHS has been invited by the Architect and managing contractor of a major hospital development project to assist with populating a project model with their ceiling hoist systems throughout the Revit project. UNIFI has been happy to provide this service on behalf of CHS to the contractor.

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

GBD

GBD Architects:  Designing Buildings that Work Hard, While Making It Easy to Find BIM Data

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GBD Architects has earned a national reputation as a leader in sustainable design, blending architecture, urban design, space planning and interior design.  GBD Architects (GBD) create buildings that work hard and solve real human problems.  Yet, GBD had a problem with how its architects were able to access the design information necessary to create these buildings.

One Big Sandbox of Files

Prior to UNIFI, GBD stored its building information in folders within folders, and users needed to rely on file names to find content which ranged from home grown content to manufacturer objects.  Naming conventions varied depending upon who added information to the folder, which made it incredibly difficult for the users to find the right information and its intended use.  Since the solution was server-based, users could only log on from the office, limiting mobility.  Chris Ridder, GBD’s BIM Manager, said that all of the content ended being in “one big sandbox of files stored on the server.”

UNIFI Eliminates the Guesswork

Moving GBD’s information into UNIFI was seamless.  Chris Ridder assigned a naming convention to the files used across the company, then batch uploaded the 10,000 design files into UNIFI.  Immediately, GBD was up and running with its building content located in a single, UNIFIed source.  Setting up UNIFI was a breeze and it freed up IT resources within GBD to focus on other high value activities.

With UNIFI, GBD architects and designers can easily and quickly access proven content to create thoughtful designs.  UNIFI eliminates the guesswork and endless searches of trying to find the right BIM data.  UNIFI features including saved searches, tags and favorites streamline the search and insertion task, so that a process that used to take several minutes is now done in seconds.   Thanks to the cloud, GBD architects and designers are able to access design information from anywhere – in the office, at a site or at home.  This further enhances their productivity and taps into their creativity where and when they are most inspired.

Chris Ridder is a well-respected BIM expert and over the past 8 years, he’s evaluated and implemented several other BIM content products.  He says that “UNIFI is the best.  It provides the easiest access to content and makes searches better.”  UNIFI allows Chris to provide the best BIM management to the GBD architects and designers he serves, so that they can focus on the hard work of designing buildings rather than searching for information.

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

Neighborhood

A Real Estate Management Firm Invests in Innovation & Content Creation…Realizes the Return through a High Quality, Well-Integrated Building Lifecycle

The Problem: Reinventing the Wheel

UNIFI has a customer that has built cities, literally.  The diversified real estate firm constructs, owns and operates a portfolio of properties that span residential, commercial and master-planned communities. Many of their buildings share the same design elements, or “building blocks”, that are rearranged in different ways for each project.  Yet, there was little to no knowledge sharing between projects, meaning the wheel was reinvented for each new project which became highly inefficient.

This firm saw an opportunity to invest in data-consistent content across all of its buildings.  They needed a library of these building blocks that could be leveraged across multiple projects & easily accessed by various partners throughout the building lifecycle – including architects, designers, engineers, contractors and facility managers.  This would not only ensure that everyone was working from the same set of information, but also streamline the building process and help maintain the high level of quality expected from every project.

The Solution: Create the Objects Once, Store in the Cloud and Use Repeatedly

The firm reached out to UNIFI to create custom building information models (BIM) unique to their buildings and house this information in UNIFI’s cloud-based content management solution.  First, UNIFI created the objects with custom parameters to meet their design, construction and maintenance standards.  Then, the building content was placed into UNIFI’s cloud-based structured library to ensure proper organization, data consistency and access throughout the construction and operation lifecycles of the building.  By working with UNIFI, the organization is now able have concurrent projects use the same content, as well as reuse that very content for future properties, enabling them to realize significant benefits, including:

  • Data Consistency: Onboard everyone with the same set of information – one library and use the content as building blocks across all projects.
    • Single source of content for multiple projects easily accessible in the field or the office via the cloud.
    • Naming conventions are standard across the building lifecycle recognizing significant time efficiencies for all stakeholders involved.
    • Parameter data consistency providing valuable information that can be mined and analyzed across a portfolio of projects.
  • Content Creation: UNIFI’s dedicated team creates unique BIM content based upon the firm’s unique specifications.
    • By leveraging UNIFI’s content services, the firm can efficiently meet the cyclical demand for content without having to staff a team of their own.
    • A common content format for building objects yields high time saving and quality returns across the building lifecycle.
    • Building content parameters are customized to “match” the firm’s standards for design, construction, operation and maintenance of assets.
  • Improved Efficiency: UNIFI streamlines the building process by making the model work together and thereby realize significant efficiencies.  Now, all areas of the firm – construction, property management and ownership groups – speak the same language thanks to standard content.
    • Design Efficiency: Easily re-use the same building blocks across multiple projects. Financial Efficiency:  Reduce the risk of budget overages by using specific, well-defined content in plans.
    • Construction Efficiency: Raise coordination with field personnel by embedded geospatial points in content that can be leveraged by GPS powered total point stations during construction.
    • Operational Efficiency: Files pushed out to field technicians are delivered in a format that allows them to maintain and service buildings.

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

How Do You Define SUCCESS?

Success is a relative term.  Broadly speaking, it means that a goal has been achieved or a milestone has been met. But, when you get down to the details – the definition is really specific to the individual, or in UNIFI’s case, unique to the goals and workflows of the organizations & end users of our content management software and creation services.  Architects design structures, manufacturers build products – but how each individual approaches their craft is unique.  The same applies to how our varied group of customers define success by using UNIFI.

Sure, a few common themes emerge across many of our customer success stories – including a single source of content that can be accessed from anywhere, streamlined workflow of searching and inserting content into Revit models, scalable & secure content administration, & high quality BIM content built to end user needs.  But, when you work with firms as diverse as Stantec, SSOE, KTGY, Interior Architects, Legrand, Harvey’s Plumbing – you really get a sense of how success is defined by each firm, its BIM leaders and all of its users.  For example:

  • Stantec made content security and access its #1 priority.
  • Harvey’s Plumbing, a small contracting firm with a huge content library, needed a speedy & scalable solution with anywhere access.
  • Interior Architects relied on UNIFI’s content on demand services to meet its clients’ demands.
  • KTGY wanted to have a single source of content to present a unified face across all of its offices.
  • SSOE applied its value-based culture on getting the biggest bank for its click.
  • Legrand wanted to “WOW” its customers with its manufacturer content.

One of our favorite moments of working with customers is sitting down with them after their initial rollout of UNIFI is complete, or after they’ve completed a content project and walking through the challenges each firm faced and then overcame to ultimately achieve success in their own unique way.  As you think about your own content management challenges, we encourage you to read through these case studies in our Success Story area – we bet you’ll see a bit of your own firm in them, as well as some differences.  We look forward to starting a conversation about your content needs and how UNIFI can help you achieve the same levels of success – on your terms.  

Release Notes

V2.1 Release Notes

A post-script – at the front of this release note…2.1 is now generally available as of 1/6/2017.

We are excited to announce the availability of new features in UNIFI through our 2.1 release!  The new release is being rolled out in phases, with customers who deploy manually receiving it first.  Within the next week or two, we’ll then deploy 2.1 to all users who have used the ‘Per User’ installer.

New Features/Enhancements:

  • Schedules – UNIFI now supports Quantity and Key schedules.  This capability compliments an existing support for system family types, drafting views, and of course families.  All of these are stored as individual elements – allowing rapid retrieval of specific things you need without having to open and wade through old Revit projects.  UNIFI also offers a preview of the schedule itself without having to use Revit!  Go here for more info
  • New Sort Types – Date Created and Date Modified have been added to the UNIFI Filter Menu and in the online Batch Tag Manager
  • Cloud Parsing Status – The details page for any element will now display a variety of ‘cloud parsing status’ messages – Instead of a generic ‘Pending’ label, you will now see where the file is at in the process, particularly if the file has stalled due to an issue with the file itself.
  • Fulfill Content Requests with Project Content – You can now fulfill content requests with Revit project elements (schedules, groups, etc.). This is done by having the request open in UNIFI, then using the Export option from the Revit Add-in.

*We fixed 11 minor bugs.  Other underlining improvements were made to improve performance and accuracy of your searches.

Known Issues:

  • US-780, US-794, US-767, US-599 – Several other add-ins have known issues when installed together with UNIFI.   These add ins include: Dyno, Enscape, Archicad Add-In.  We are attempting to work with the developers of these tools to correct areas of add-in conflict.
  • US-662 – One user has reported that a type catalog is appearing empty, despite it working properly without UNIFI
  • US-962 – We are investigating an issue where a user was unable to insert Curtain Wall Types whose panels utilize nested families.
  • US-566 – A user has reported that when returning to a search result, some of the entered search terms are not present any longer, particularly when using explicit tags and other terms.

We continue to work hard on yet more features that will add further value to your company!  Take a peek at our announcement of upcoming availability of Manufacturer content – directly within UNIFI.  Whether these libraries appear to your users, will of course depend on how you configure user permissions! Click here for more info!

Making the Design Process Collaborative!

By Boaz Moar, UNIFI Customer Success

A little over a week ago, Autodesk University was held at The Venetian in Las Vegas and thousands of people gathered to listen to Autodesk executive management provide their perspectives on the forces shaping the world of design and design technology and how Autodesk plans to address them.

One statement that caught my attention was made during the keynote address by Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO (@carlbass).  He stated that Autodesk is making a radical shift in their mindset about design software: “We are changing from building tools for people to building tools for teams,” he says.

That’s quite a tectonic shift for Autodesk! Autodesk is now moving from desktop to cloud-based solutions to address the needs of both individuals and teams.  Unleashing the power of the cloud to foster collaboration holds huge potential for improved productivity and enhanced quality.

This is exactly what UNIFI Labs set out to do from day one when we released our cloud-based Content Management Solution. Cloud-based content management is the cornerstone to enable effective collaboration among people and teams.

Quality content is very hard to generate and even harder to maintain. In the past, these challenges forced designers to only trust their internally generated content and save it carefully (i.e., tuck it away in file folders) on hard drives or servers. This process allowed individual designers to “secure” the quality of the content on a single machine, which created ever increasing barriers to sharing content among teams, offices and across the building lifecycle.

We’ve seen firsthand that freeing content from the shackles of file folder opens up a wealth of opportunities.  First, the cloud enables a company to set and enforce content quality standards without slowing down individual designer’s work. Second, teams can now share content with one another without fearing of losing control over its quality.  And, they are able to access the content whether they be in the office, or the field, from anywhere.

Lastly, the cloud provides users with the freedom and security to share content beyond the boundaries of their own company. Many of our customers utilize library sharing capabilities to share content with partners when the project spans designers from multiple firms as well as with their partners across the building lifecycle. This level of inter-company collaboration is very exciting and holds huge potential for benefits to the industry as a whole!

Pushing the envelope further, UNIFI announced at AU that customers will soon be able to subscribe to manufacturer libraries that have been vetted by a robust quality control system.  This offering, combined with existing features of the UNIFI platform – structured content request form and workflow, content ratings, and sophisticated usage analytics – fosters unprecedented collaboration between designers and manufacturers.

You can read more about this exciting initiative here: http://unifilabs.com/news/unifi-manufacturer-content-portal-ensures-access-quality-bim-content/

We are excited that Autodesk is embracing the power of the cloud just as we have been doing to accelerate BIM advancement and enhance collaboration across the building lifecycle.

UNIFI Accelerates BIM Advancement To Drive Business Benefit

UNIFI Strategy Library Audit Increases Value of BIM Content

While there is no panacea for building industry BIM content and libraries, UNIFI continues to lead the evolution by building out the tools and analytics that enable AECs to optimize their BIM investment.  The release of UNIFI’s new Strategic Library Audit accompanied by a robust set of usage analytics is the next step in the BIM maturity journey.  The Audit reviews your current BIM content standards & library strategy to provide a strategic roadmap for improving the overall quality & productivity of your content library.  The analytics provide unique insights into what content is used, how often, by user and by project.

AEC firms have made substantial investments in BIM and the industry still struggles with BIM process challenges and strategies for extensive, quality-controlled content libraries.  The cost of “bad” BIM content adds up quickly – whether it’s difficult to find, near impossible to place; does not document or schedule, fails to coordinate correctly or even causes project models to crash – bad content impairs project productivity and adversely impacts the bottom line.  UNIFI’s Audit accelerates BIM advancement by assessing the current state of your BIM content, identifying potential problem areas, and providing an actionable plan for improvement.  Advanced BIM organizations enjoy a wide range of benefits through consistent documentation and standards, including enhanced project efficiency and streamlined coordination with partners, and project risk mitigation.  By leveraging the power of UNIFI’s cloud, AECs gain an essential understanding of their BIM content’s quality level and are also able to access that information on-demand as libraries evolve.  AEC’s are driving their business forward by converting quality content into Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality renderings for clients, thus transforming themselves into data providers so owners & operators can better construct and manage their buildings,

“UNIFI is committed to providing our customers with tools and resources to ensure that their investments in BIM are fully realized” says Ben Fox, CTO of UNIFI Create. “Ensuring that BIM content libraries are consistent and aligned with firm-based standards not only increases the productivity of a firm, but of the industry as a whole.”

National BIM Manager for Jasmax, Melanie Tristram says “Having access to a service that interrogates significant volumes of content and generates reports identifying areas for improvement is a highly valuable prospect”.

Take the next step in the BIM evolution in partnership with the proven expertise and leadership of UNIFI. To assist AECs in optimizing for BIM maturity, UNIFI is offering a free one hour consultation to assess the quality of your BIM content library. And, as an additional incentive, any content services identified during that Audit will be given a 30% discount if you engage with our content creation team before November 30, 2016.  Contact us at info@unifilabs.com or call us at 702.527.6460.

About UNIFI

UNIFI is the essential cloud platform to create and manage Revit and digital building content. The UNIFI content creation team utilizes a unique blend of industry knowledge and proven expertise to create the highest quality BIM assets along with maximizing the investments in existing assets.  The UNIFI content management platform ensures data consistency and anywhere access to BIM content –across teams and global offices. Learn why leading architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing organizations trust UNIFI as the complete solution for their building content management needs at www.unifilabs.com or contact us at 702.527.6460.