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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!

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!

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.

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.

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.