“UNIFI was the one true source of
content that could be accessed
from anywhere around the world
with the most advanced features
including its search functionality.”
– Holger de Groot,
Office BIM Manager, Sydney
Grimshaw is a global architecture firm with offices around the world,
employing over 500 people. The practice covers architecture,
planning and industrial design across all major sectors. Grimshaw
was a pioneer in high-tech architecture, but had come to rely on
low-tech solutions for content management, which created issues
with consistency and the capture of content.
Holger de Groot, Office BIM Manager for Grimshaw’s Sydney
studio, had seen the problem before when he was a Regional
BIM Director at another firm. He saw firsthand how an outdated
content management solution could slow down designers,
create content inconsistencies and make it extremely difficult to
conduct simple searches. When he joined Grimshaw, he found
a different approach to content management, but with similar
outcomes. Grimshaw mirrored its content libraries by replicating
the server for its four main offices – Sydney, Melbourne, London
and New York. This led to “content being stored in multiple
locations without controls so that different
sub-structures were created,” says de Groot.
Grimshaw’s content management strategy
needed to change. A clear choice emerged,
“UNIFI was the one true source of content that
could be accessed from anywhere around
the world with the most advanced features
including its search functionality,” says Holger.
In December 2016, Grimshaw started a UNIFI
pilot in its Sydney and Melbourne offices for
a single project in each office. All content on
the server was uploaded into UNIFI, so that
Grimshaw could easily change names, create
tags and clean up its content. During this
exercise, several instances of duplicate content
were found using different container files.
The pilot was so successful in Sydney that Grimshaw
decided to move “full steam ahead” with UNIFI for all
the projects in the office. Along with enjoying cloud
based access to a single source of content and no
longer having to manually update libraries, Grimshaw
could easily access manufacturing content via UNIFI
Connect. “It’s a real plus to have access to content that
gets directly integrated into our libraries,” says Holger
of UNIFI Connect.
Some of the most interesting aspects of the Grimshaw’s
content transformation were documented in a “before
and after” survey circulated to the Sydney office in
August 2016 (prior to UNIFI’s implementation), and in
May 2017, (after UNIFI had been in use for 3+ months).
• Content Quality Perception: Prior to the UNIFI
pilot, content was ranked as average or “low
quality” by 65% of respondents. Yet, when the
same designers were asked about the quality
of content in May 2017, it was “highly rated” by
over 60% of the respondents, with some calling
it “advanced”. The content was the same! What
changed was the “quality perception” due to
its presentation and content, its ease of access,
including search and previews.
• Search Time Savings: The survey also highlighted
significant time savings by using UNIFI. Once UNIFI
was deployed, designers took half the time to find
more content – translating into 2.3 hours “saved”
each week, 120 hours annually, per designer!
BIM Admins saved a lot of time as well, since
they didn’t have to focus on updating content.
UNIFI offers several other benefits. In the past, content
requests would have to be emailed along with CAD
attachments or paper printouts, then they would be
shared with various project teams for reviews and
approvals, an unnecessarily labor-intensive process.
Now, all content requests are reviewed, tracked,
tagged and managed through UNIFI, which limits
the inclusion of rogue content and streamlines the
content creation & approval process.
With UNIFI’s recent release of multi-format support,
any file format can be stored and searched on UNIFI.
In addition to a large Revit practice, Grimshaw has
many designers who use Rhino and now they can
store, access, and insert the information they need
from UNIFI into their models.
UNIFI has been receiving rave reviews within
Grimshaw’s Sydney office which is now 100% on UNIFI.
Office BIM Managers in the Practice’s other offices are
now working on a global UNIFI rollout to achieve similar
results. We’ll end this case study by using the words of
one survey respondent, which was echoed by many:
“I like that we got one true source now, allowing me
to find the content I need quickly and easy.”