Free Revit Family Downloads with UNIFI Connect

Unifi is mostly known as a robust BIM content management system for your firm’s internal library of BIM content, but did you know that we also provide Revit family downloads direct from manufacturers and other BIM content providers with Unifi Connect?

Unifi Connect Channels are how we enable 3rd parties to share their content with our users, at no cost to the end-users. Yes, that means free Revit family downloads.

Using Unifi Connect to Find 3rd Party Revit Family Downloads

One of the benefits of using Unifi Connect to find and use 3rd party Revit family downloads is the seamless integration with your firm’s internal content. You can search, browse, and load Revit families (or access any other content type) from a Channel as if it were your own library.

Search

One of the most efficient ways to find content in Unifi Connect is the search function. In the context of searching for 3rd party Revit family downloads, you’ll find the publicly shared content by searching through Channels. Don’t forget that you can always search both your internal content libraries and public Channel content by using the dropdown to the left of the search field.

Search for content by keyword or tag by typing your query into the main search text box. As of version 3.3.0, we’ve enhanced the search functionality to include the ability to specify which field of metadata that you would like to search, which gives you even more granular control over which content is returned as a search result.

Revit Family Downloads

Also rolled out with version 3.3.0, we’ve added search functionality to allow for searching for specific Revit parameters and their values. Now, users can search through manufacturer content by searching for a specific Revit parameter value. In the example below, a user is looking for all products across multiple Channels which are rated at 120v.

By searching for a specific Revit parameter value, your team will have the ability to find Revit family downloads from multiple sources based on the BIM data within the Revit families.

Revit Family DownloadsSubscribe

In order to access 3rd party content (e.g., manufacturer Revit family downloads), a company administrator at must subscribe specific user groups to have access to the Channels. Again, there is no cost for subscribing to Channels for the end-users.

To subscribe to a Channel log in to the web portal and click on the Subscriptions tab (only company administrators will have access to this tab). On the Subscriptions page, click the Subscribe button under any Channels that you would like to Subscribe your groups to.

Revit Family Downloads

On the following screen, toggle any of the user groups that you would like to have access to this channel.

Revit Family DownloadsRevit Families from Multiple Sources

Unifi Connect makes it easier to find content by using our robust search engine as well as offers a more efficient design process by making it easier to load Revit families into Revit projects. Best of all, by using Unifi Connect Channels, your team can find Revit family downloads from multiple manufacturers and BIM content providers in one central location.

Search Revit Parameters: A New UNIFI Feature

We recently released Unifi Pro 3.3.0 which includes support for Autodesk 2020 software (Revit, AutoCAD, and Civil3D), the new MicroStation add-in, improvements to the installer, the ability to search Revit parameters, bug fixes, and more. We’ve shared the full release notes, so have a look if you haven’t seen them already.

For this post, we’ll focus on enhancements to our search engine, which includes one of the most frequently requested improvements: the ability to search Revit parameters.

Granular Search Options

If you’ve already upgraded to Unifi Pro 3.3.0, you may have noticed that we’ve added the ability to select which field of metadata that you would like to search (in previous versions, Unifi Pro would search through all of these fields with no way to specify which fields you would like to search).

With this enhancement, you now have more granular control over searching through file names, family type names, model categories, material classes, and/or tags. This will help your team find the specific content they’re looking for more easily.

Revit Parameters

Search Revit Parameters

In addition to the enhancements to searching through metadata, we’ve also rolled out the ability to search by Revit parameter, which can be extremely powerful for designers who are looking for content based on a specific requirement.

Let’s look at some examples of how this can be helpful.

Find all Content Based on Voltage

One example of how searching Revit parameters can be helpful, is finding equipment based on an electrical voltage requirement. In the screenshot below, you can see that a designer is searching for assets that are rated at 120 volts, simply by using an asterisk as a wildcard and searching the Revit parameter called “Voltage” with the value of “120.000 V”.

Based on that search criteria, Unifi Pro will display any Revit families where that Revit parameter is of that value, regardless of the name family name or other metadata fields.

Revit Parameters

With the ability to search through the Revit parameters, your engineers will now be able to find BIM content based on specific engineering requirements, and best of all they’ll be searching the BIM data within the objects themselves.

Search by Model Number or SKU

Another good use-case for searching by Revit parameter is searching for a specific manufacturer, model number, or SKU. In the example below, you can see that this user was able to find all Revit families where the model name is DESV and the manufacturer is Titus by searching through multiple parameters.

Revit Parameters

Prior to having the ability to search Revit parameter values, we would often recommend that admins tag BIM content with the manufacturer name and/or included manufacturer and model number information in the Revit family name or family type name.

With the new ability to search the Revit parameters themselves, you’ll no longer have that requirement.

Search By Material

The last example of how searching by Revit parameters can be useful is searching for Revit families which have a specific material applied. In the screenshot below, you can see that this user was able to find an armchair and a sofa by searching for any families which have the “Leather – Black” material applied to the “Cushion Material” Revit parameter.

Revit Parameters

Perhaps this is helpful for designers who are looking for specific Revit families that are ready for rendering or VR walk-throughs, because the search results would only include families which have this specific material applied. Again, this means that the team will no longer be required to include the term “black leather” in Revit family names, type names, or tags.

More Revit Parameter Search Options

Not only are you able to search for a Revit parameter value, you can even find content where the parameter value is not empty or empty. You can even find Revit families simply based on if the Revit parameter exists.

Revit Parameters

Go try it out!

By giving our users the ability to search by Revit parameter, we’ve enabled yet another feature that leverages BIM data on the Unifi platform and greatly improves the user experience while searching for content. If you’re already a Unifi customer, I encourage you to update Unifi Pro if you haven’t already and try out this amazing new feature. If you’re new to Unifi, you can see search Revit parameters along with dozens of others in actions with a free demo today. 

Do you have any other examples of how searching by Revit parameter can be helpful? Share your ideas in a comment below.

June 24 @ 11 am PDT: Webinar Invite

Now more than ever, the AEC industry is finding new ways for technology to help throughout the entire life cycle of a project. 

Join UNIFI Labs with our panelist Evan Geer, PE and Manager of Design Automation at Brown and Caldwell and Robert Manna, Associate at Stantec to learn how technology is progressing project delivery methods and streamlining the way we design and construct buildings.

Click here to register now.

Pro 3.3.0 & Portal 2.9.1 Release Notes

Hey UNIFI customers,

We’re excited to announce our latest software update is available now! Pro 3.3.0 updates include the ability to search Revit parameters, Autodesk 2020 support, a MicroStation add-in, and several bug fixes. As for Portal 2.9.1, you can now enjoy tag permissions and much more. Keep reading for the low down and don’t forget to update your platform to access these features now.

PRO 3.3.0 Highlights

GENERAL UPDATES:

•Added new functionality for copying text within the UNIFI desktop application, including file details and content requests.

•We’ve added new options to the right-click menu in search results, including marking files as “favorite” and copying the UNIFI URL for selected files.

•The filter icon now changes color when search filters have been applied and a button was also added to quickly clear all search filters.

•The search filters for Family Category, File Type, and Material Class are now enhanced with text search within the dropdowns.

•Within AutoCAD, we’ve moved the UNIFI buttons to a separate “UNIFI” tab.

•When a file fails to parse, we now display the error description on the file details page.

• Fields for “Requested By” and “Requested Date” now appear when reviewing content request details.

•The file category is now displayed on the file details page.

• Library Administrators can now be assigned by user group.

SEARCH ENHANCEMENTS:

Revit parameters are now searchable in UNIFI*. Specify one or more parameter names and/or values to search and find exactly what you’re looking for.

UNIFI search now supports CamelCase naming conventions in all search fields.

You can now specify which fields you want to search! File Name, Family Type Name, Family Category, Tags, and Material Class can be selected in any combination, so your search term only applies where you want to search.

AUTODESK 2020 SUPPORT:

We now support Revit and AutoCad 2020!

With the addition of Revit 2020, we are removing support for Revit 2014. Revit families saved in Revit versions 2014 and older can still be uploaded to UNIFI and will automatically be upgraded to all supported Revit versions to be inserted into Revit projects.

MICROSTATION ADD-IN:

UNIFI now integrates with MicroStation V8i SELECTSeries 4. You now have the ability to insert cells directly into MicroStation documents and export cells and documents to be stored in UNIFI.

UNIFI PRO INSTALLER ENHANCEMENTS:

There is now a single installer for all installation types. Admins can deploy the installer and set options via the command line. UNIFI Support will be providing documentation to all customers using the current Admin installer. We now provide options within the installer that allow users to select which add-ins they would like to install. With a standard install, UNIFI will automatically check for updates and only update the installed add-ins. When UNIFI is trying to update and the user has design applications open, the user will now have the option to close the design applications and proceed with the update or leave the design applications open and continue with the currently installed version of UNIFI.

COMING SOON-CONTENT MANAGEMENT API PACKAGE:

The Content Management API Package will be launching in July, stay tuned!

BUG FIXES:

Our goal is to keep you happy and confident in our product! We’ve fixed the following bugs:

•Fixed an issue where content upload notification emails would sometimes contain an empty list.

•Upload notification emails will no longer be sent when the upload is done by an admin and automatically approved.

•Categories that are initially completed at upload and then updated after the file parse is complete are now removed from the search filter dropdown.

•Revit materials updated to 2019 format can now be exported and stored in UNIFI.

•Unsaved Revit projects will now display the project name in the UNIFI active project dropdown rather than “No Open Project” or empty parentheses.

•UNIFI will now reconnect to all open sessions of Revit after the user logs out of UNIFI and logs back in.

•Drafting Views and Schedules now export properly from BIM360 projects and non-English Revit sessions.

•Revit materials that have been updated from multiple Revit versions will now display in browse based on the connected Revit version.

•AutoCAD dynamic blocks inserted from UNIFI no longer cause AutoCAD to crash.

•Fixed an issue where some AutoCAD elements were missing from the block when inserted from UNIFI.

Revit fill patterns now insert into non-English Revit sessions.

•Insert counts are now accurate in search results and file details.

Fixed an issue where Revit filled regions were not searchable after upload.

•Fixed an issue where rejecting  a batch of files uploaded by a standard user and then re-uploading the same files as an admin would make the files unsearchable.

2.9.1 Web Portal

GENERAL UPDATES:

•All users can now view the Notifications tab in portal and content request emails now contain a hyperlink to the request in portal.

•The file category is now displayed in file details when reviewing content requests.

TAG PERMISSIONS:

We’ve updated tag permissions so that company admins now have the ability to control whether standard users can add or remove tags from UNIFI files. Admins will find a new settings tab in the UNIFI Web Portal to do this and if the setting is changed while users are logged into UNIFI, it will not take effect until those users logout of UNIFI and then log back in.

API KEY:

In preparation for our upcoming Content Management API package, we’re adding a section to the settings tab that will allow Company Admins to view API Keys that have been generated for their company.  Stay tuned for more details!

BUG FIXES:

•Unsubscribing from channels now works properly.

•Insert counts are now accurate in file details when reviewing content requests.

Wrap up:

Thanks for being a valued UNIFI customer and taking the time to get the scoop on our latest update. We hope you find the updates and fixes in this release useful!

Please stay tuned for updates on our Content Management API, coming next month.Until then, please remember that your feedback is very important to us and we’re always looking for ways to improve our platform. If you have suggestions for future updates or changes, please click here to learn how to submit your recommendations directly in the UNIFI platform.

*By adding the Revit parameter search functionality, we’ve increased the amount of data that you are able to search across by approximately 100x. Due to this increase, some customers experienced difficulty viewing search results and updated data for a limited period of time.  We immediately took action and the search functionality is now working properly.  If any of your searches seem to be reflecting outdated information, we assure you that no data has been lost and our data engineering team is hard at work on getting the search index up to date with all the changes that have occurred since late in the week of 6/10/2019.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team if you have any questions or are experiencing any issues.

How to Learn Revit for Free

How to Learn Revit for Free!

Revit is a game changing building design and documentation software that allows you to leverage BIM across all phases and disciplines in the building life cycle. If you take the time to implement and learn Revit, you’ll enjoy endless benefits individually and professionally including the ability to create intelligent 3D building models that can be used across all disciplines in the building design process and a competitive edge by producing quality projects that makes your work stand out.

As evidenced by the aforementioned, the benefits of Revit are vast and taking the time to learn Revit will definitely yield a worthwhile ROI on both your time and money. However, just like you can expect with any powerful software, you’ll need to take the time to learn Revit in order to successfully implement and incorporate it in your workflows. A simple Google search will show you that there are many options to learn Revit, most of which come with a hefty price tag and even bigger time commitment.Learn Revit

In order to help you learn Revit quickly and for free, we created a crash course Revit tutorial where you can learn Revit basics including defining a Revit model, Revit Families, Parameters, Views, Schedules, and Sheets. Whether you’re starting your transition into BIM (by choice or because it’s typically the requirement these days), looking for a refresher to learn Revit basics, are moving away from AutoCAD and already have a solid foundation in creating construction documentation, or are just starting in your role as a BIM manager, our learn Revit video will equip you with the knowledge you need to get started set you on the path to become a Revit power user.

Are you ready to begin to begin to learn Revit for free? You’re in the right place! Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll email you the comprehensive learn Revit video, created by UNIFI’s very own BIM expert, directly to your inbox for free.

We hope you enjoy and wish you the best of luck as you learn Revit and enjoy it’s endless capabilities.  

 

BIM Data: How Can it be Leveraged to Benefit Project Managers?

BIM Data

As building information modeling (BIM) continues to evolve, BIM data is produced and consumed in many ways, using many different applications and processes. There really is no limit to how BIM data can be consumed throughout the building lifecycle from design through construction and even during post-occupancy. With recent improvements to technology in the AEC space, it is becoming more and more common to see practices that leverage data such as computational design, point clouds, and artificial intelligence. With all of these new use-cases for data, it is up to us as an industry to continue to find new ways to manipulate and analyze that data.

In this post, I’ll share a few examples of how BIM data is commonly used as well as a few ideas on how we can start to look at more progressive ways to leverage this valuable information.

Common Uses for BIM Data in the Design Phase

BIM Data

There are quite a few ways that BIM data is both created and consumed during the design phase of a project. For example, during the design phase, an engineer can use data to better understand the requirements for the spaces and rooms in a building by reading some basic architectural room data such as location, area, and occupancy type. An architect can design a more efficient building using data gathered from the geographic location of the building or historic weather data. Contractors can even begin to use BIM data during the design phase to help ensure the project stays on budget during these critical stages of a building.

BIM Data Helps with Accurate Documentation

BIM Data

But regardless of who’s consuming this design data, I think we can all agree that one of the most common advantages in using BIM data is to help us generate accurate drawings and documentation efficiently. As I’m sure you’re all aware, drawings are still the contract documents on most projects, so in today’s projects this set of drawings is often considered more valuable than the models.

However, before BIM, drawings within a single drawing set have been often decoupled from one another because much of the drafting and design was handled manually, which has the risk of expensive errors, especially due to the iterative nature of the design phases of a project. Not only was the information across multiple drawings in the same discipline at risk of being uncoordinated, but coordinating information across multiple disciplines was even harder to maintain.  

Today, by using building information modeling, we can use a single data set to generate a significant amount of our set of drawings. For example, both floor plans and schedules can be produced from BIM data, so a drawing set has a much higher chance of being fully coordinated, even through the several iterations in the design phase, because as the floor plans are revised, the schedules are updated automatically to reflect any of those changes.

Engineering Calculations

BIM Data

In addition to the concept of floor plans and schedules being generated from BIM data, another common use for BIM data is engineering calculations.

Thinking back to my first job in this industry as a fire alarm designer, years and years ago, I remember having to print hardcopy floor plans only to physically highlight every single symbol to count the fire alarm devices on each circuit. I also had to measure the wire runs of each circuit. I used these numbers to calculate the voltage drop per circuit. The good news is I eventually translated that to structured data I used an Excel spreadsheet to handle all of the formulas for the calculations, but there was still a lot of risk for error.

Using BIM data, you can mitigate much of that risk because you can create a “virtual circuit” (for lack of a better term), meaning you can now have your panel schedules calculate your electrical loads for you. In addition, these calculations will automatically update as you iterate your design throughout design and construction phases.

BIM Data for Project Managers

BIM Data

I like to refer to the critical team members on project who are somewhat disconnected from BIM workflows as “Non-BIM stakeholders” (e.g., senior engineers, project managers, or project executives). Due to the rapid pace that technology is changing, they’re becoming further and further removed from design and construction processes that influence their projects within a BIM model. Here at Unifi, we consider this issue, Dark BIM. These crucial players are surrounded by data-rich models, but they’re stuck without a guiding light. They have no visibility into the models and often rely on their more tech-savvy team members to validate the data within these models.

Project managers are a great example of some of the non-BIM stakeholders in a project. They are most likely less interested in BIM data that helps with design and construction workflows because they are more focused on the progress and success of their projects. However, that doesn’t mean that BIM data can’t be useful for them.

With the right tools, there is an opportunity to leverage BIM data for such things as identifying changes to engineers’ designs. And because many firms can be on the hook for multiple disciplines, a change to one discipline’s design can impact several other members of their team. This exposes new risk of uncoordinated drawings. Again, since the drawings are the contract documents, these issues can end up being extremely costly, and even worse, tarnish a firm’s reputation.

Considering the fact that drawings are typically generated from BIM Data these days, it really makes more sense for a PM to monitor the model data for changes, rather than drawings; BIM data is live and  a set of drawings is staticIn other words, the moment drawings are exported from a model, they are decoupled from the live model and can are typically immediately outdated.

UNIFI Project Analytics for Project Managers

The good news is, Project Analytics can help project managers because it gives them visibility of model data without having to open the model. Although typically viewed as a tool to help BIM managers, it can also give project managers new light when trying to keep an eye on changes to models, which again, reflects on their team’s drawings and ultimately affects coordination of a multi-disciplinary project.

Project Analytics: Compare Changes

BIM Data

In Project Analytics, we have a feature that allows these non-BIM stakeholders to review changes to models. In the image above, you can see that an air handling unit was swapped out for a larger unit, which ultimately can affect all MEP disciplines. For example, the electrical load could have increased resulting in a need for a larger panel. The piping for the drain could have increased in size or shifted in location which would affect spatial coordination in the ceiling space below.

These types of changes are conventionally difficult to track without the ability to compare changes of model elements, but with the help of our Project Analytics solution, we’re giving PMs the ability to see those types of changes whenever the models are synchronized, meaning it is truly live Revit model data.

This an example of how Unifi can help project managers transition from a workflow reviewing unstructured data on drawingsto reviewing structured data which is produced directly from the live model.

Project Analytics: Revisions

BIM Data

Another feature of project analytics that Project Managers might be interested in, is the ability to see the contents within a live model. Again, this information is updated whenever any user syncs.

One piece of content that we surface here is the Revisions within a Revit model. Here in Project Analytics, PMs have access to the live information in the model, so they’ll at anytime be able to open their web portal and review all of the revisions and RFIs that and their current status as defined in the Revit model.

How Are You Using BIM Data?

I hope this has helped you see some of the benefits of BIM data. What are some other ways you’re using BIM data? Have your non-BIM stakeholders gotten involved with leveraging this data? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.