One of the favorite things I love about my job is that I get to collaborate with and learn from so many of the best and brightest BIM minds in the world. We work with hundreds of firms and no two have the same needs. When it comes time to assist our customers with options as to how they can best leverage Unifi for their Revit content management needs, the first item on the list for discussion is a Unifi library strategy.
How do UNIFI Libraries work?
A little background first on what Libraries are and how they work. Libraries are like buckets where you can store content. Any user with rights to a library, will be able to browse or search that libraries content and insert it into their Revit projects. Libraries can have their own admins called “Library Admins” who can approve/reject content uploaded to a particular library and can also fulfill content requests to a particular library.
You can have an unlimited number of libraries in Unifi, but simplicity should be a goal. Less is more. Keeping your library strategy simple will not only make it easier for your users, but also for your BIM managers.
How to create a great Library Strategy
1. Single Office or Multi Office? Domestic or International?
Depending on the size of your firm you will have different problems to solve around content consistency and standards. A domestic firm will most likely only have to worry about content in Imperial units (or metric if outside the US). A international sized firm will have content in both formats and thus their library strategy will have to accommodate these 2 types of content.
Keeping your Imperial and Metric content in separate libraries will reduce the amount of potentially redundant content that your users will have to weed through. Another factor to consider for international firms is Regional Libraries. Lets say you have global offices, your London office may need its own regional library for content that adheres to local jurisdiction parameter standards.
Having firmware shared libraries and regional libraries can help separate content for local parameter or code specific reasons.
2. Separate Libraries for Details, Families, & Systems
When searching or browsing for specific element types in Unifi, try having separate libraries for quick and easy filtering. It is good practice to have all your details in a Detail Library, your system families is a System Library etc. This library strategy is a more structured approach that will provide quick access to element types.
Having a library per element type will automatically reduce the amount of content results your users will browse or search through. The less total results, the faster your designers find exactly what they are looking for.
3. Experiment with Company Saved Searches
Company saved searches are a powerful way to provide quick and easy access to particular sets of content for your design teams. This feature is just as important as libraries for your library strategy. Several of our customers choose to have a minimal amount of libraries because they use Company Saved Searches extensively. Company Saved Searches can be setup by Library or Company admins, and are instantly available to all users. Need to have a quick way to find all “2 hr rated shaft walls” or want to see all “water cooled screw chillers”, saved searches will hide the complexity of advanced queries from the users as a single click gets access to the content in seconds!
4. Speed is Key!
The entire purpose of the Unifi application is to get your designers to the right piece of content as quickly as possible so that they can get back to higher level design functions. Your firms workflows are unique and therefore there will be no standard library strategy that will work perfect for every company.
This is exactly why we developed Unifi to be a flexible configurable platform. Software should be adaptable to meet your needs and workflows, not the other way around.
You may find that with time your design teams needs will change and morph. Having the flexibility of Unifi will help BIM managers to effectively fine tune their content libraries with minimal effort. See what works best for your teams and continue to revisit your library strategy every couple months to find areas that can be optimized.
I hope this post helps give you some ideas to contemplate as you create your UNIFI library strategy! If you want to pick our brains for ideas on setting up your libraries please reach out to us. We would be happy to talk to you!