Revit Family Creation for Building Product Manufacturers!!!
The availability of Revit content specific to their requirements is one of the biggest concerns of firms who adopt Revit as a platform. Even though Autodesk’s Revit Web Library (Content Distribution Center) and out-of-the-box libraries contain several families (some manufacturer specific), they are not sufficient for the variety of building systems, casework, furniture and equipment, which is essential to represent graphically and informatively in building projects.
The Revit Family Editor provides a vehicle to create custom or manufacturer specific content. But engineers, architects and planners do not always have the essential skills or time to create this content on their own. As Revit is adopted worldwide, more and more content is available on the web from various resources or from other users who share content they have created. These sites like Revit City, USG Design Studio and BIM World make thousands of families available for download. Even though several contents are already created and available, there is still demand from the AEC community for manufacturers to start supplying their own products in a Revit format.
Revit Families are created in the Revit Family Editor. Here the geometry is modeled or imported and the identity and engineering data are assigned. Revit Families have a file extension .rfa. Manufacturers have many options when deciding to create Revit Family Content. They may already possess their products modeled in 3d formats using Solid Works, Inventor, Pro/Engineer, etc. They do not have to remodel every product from scratch but would like to reuse these models. But this option may not always the best depending on the complexity of these models and the ability to export them out of the native application as a simpler model.
Let us look at the pros and cons of various methods here.
Option 1: Revit Family Creation from Scratch
- Parametric geometry control for flexing model and adding formulas
- 3D modeling can be kept simple that minimize boating of projects
- MEP smart connections can be added to faces easily
- Understanding of parametric and modeling in Revit are required
- Duplication of effort if products are already modeled in another application
Option 2: Revit Family Creation from an Imported Sat file
- Simple export import workflow
- Leverage existing models
- Multiple materials are not able to be assigned to various pieces of the model.
- There is no parametric dimension control for various sizes.
Option 3: Revit Family Creation from Imported DWG file
- Leverage existing models and there is no remodeling.
- Able to assign various pieces of the model to different material in Revit
- Native model may have modeling unnecessary for architectural content and it may slow performance.
AutoCAD becomes an essential intermediate workflow step between Revit and native application.