Top 3 Reasons You Need a BIM Content Management System

Put simply, a BIM Content management system (CMS) helps teams organize their digital assets while improving a conventional user experience. These platforms are critical for any team that seeks to share content across multiple people, whether internal within their organization or an external client, partner, or consultant. CMS’s are common throughout nearly every industry and can help teams of all functions and sizes. A good CMS is easy to spot, as it will improve a team’s processes to the point where they simply cannot function without it.

Without further ado, let’s look into the reasons the most efficient AECO firms heavily rely on a BIM CMS.

#1 BIM Content Management Systems Provide an Improved Designer Experience.
As a designer, the easier it is to get an idea “down on paper,” the better. This is why the right tools are critical for architects and engineers to be successful in their work. In a perfect world, design firms provide their team a set of standardized digital assets to work with, especially when designing in a building information model (BIM) environment. These individual pieces of BIM content are the building blocks in which a designer needs to do their job effectively and efficiently.

Simply providing this content is not enough to improve the designer experience, though. This content needs to be easy to find and implement at the project level. This is where many antiquated processes fall short in the world of BIM. Without a BIM CMS in place, several Revit workflows fall short as there is no out-of-the-box management system.

Did you know that through conventional Revit workflows it takes a designer up to 16 minutes to find and load a single Revit family to use in their projects? With UNIFI, it takes only a few seconds, saving the average designer 40-80 hours annually.

#2 Standards are More Important Than Ever
From a tech perspective, the AEC design space was historically only concerned with graphical CAD standards such as symbols, line types, and fonts. Today, we have a new (and infinitely more technical) type of standard that design firms are focusing their energy on – data standards. It goes without saying that data is what sets BIM apart from CAD, but I digress.

In terms of Revit, a data standard is nothing more than the shared parameters which hold the information about an asset or project. This information can be as simple as the manufacturer’s name of an asset or as complex as the engineering data of a piece of equipment. In either case, shared parameters in Revit can become a beast if not properly tamed.

By design, the underlying GUID of shared parameters in Revit makes it nearly impossible to modify them once loaded into a project. This is both a blessing and a curse, and it is the very reason why it is imperative to provide a solid data standard along with the Revit families. If the building blocks (i.e., Revit Families) don’t share common shared parameters, they will not be compatible with each other.

In Revit, poor shared parameter management is extremely difficult to correct and must be controlled throughout the life of any BIM program.

#3 Design More, Manage Files Less
In architecture and engineering, document control is an important part of a designer’s role. This brings along it’s own set of challenges including folder structures, naming conventions, versioning, permissions, and more. BIM content is often treated like the other forms of documents at a design firm; which means they are stored in folders within folders, on network drives or perhaps even stored locally on each individual’s local drive. As with any file repository, content within can become unruly as time passes.

When treating BIM content like other files in folders, a design firm inherently implements a manual content management process which forces the team to find ways to manually organize, control permissions, and track versioning of files. While this manual process only seems tedious at first, the lack of a BIM CMS can result in a loss in efficiency due to designers spending more time searching for the right Revit families. Worst case scenario, non-standard shared parameters make it into your firm’s ecosystem and take custom scripting to clean up.

The Leading BIM Content Management System

UNIFI Pro has helped design firms save about $3,373.70 per user, annually on average simply through an improved designer experience. By making it easier for designers to find their firm’s standard assets, their work technically becomes easier and they can focus on designing their space. Click here to watch one of our testimonial videos.

BIM Managers at design firms also see several benefits in implementing UNIFI. Our platform provides tools such as Project Analytics and the Shared Parameter Manager to help maintain data standards and provide more streamlined document control of BIM content and other assets.

Interested in learning more about how we can help with the aforementioned BIM content management challenges? Contact us today and we’ll walk you through about how UNIFI’s suite of tools can help.

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