Friday, December 6, 2019
Kowabunga Studios

Custom or off the Shelf Revit Content?

Revit has been a powerful tool and one that has been adopted almost unanimously across the Architecture and Engineering profession. An impressive feat for any company to garner that much of the industry. Yet it also causes some complacency on the part of Autodesk and the Revit team. What Revit has shown us is a powerful platform. The power of creating smart families that schedule automatically and the ability to link everything within your project. However there is a lot left to be desired.

A good analogy for this is the early days of social media, leading back to Myspace where you could configure your own page and everything that came along with that. Some people were great and had all these really cool pages. Mine was bland and whatever I could scrap together from pieces I found on the internet.  This is the state of Revit today and every companies capabilities. There is no standard for families and every company has something different.

If you aren’t of the social media generation or have no idea what that analogy means, that’s quite alright, here is another. For all the coffee drinkers out there how about this. Before Starbucks was prevalent across every city in the US and now most of the world we had Folgers or Maxwell House, I know, dark times. You had a couple choices with them; dark, medium and decaf. Very simple choices and everyone was on the same page, same playing ground. Then Starbucks appeared on the scene. Now you have those same choices in their house blends, but then there is this massive board with a LOT of choices. What is a person to do?


After looking at the board you just go with the plain house coffee. Not even thinking about making it your own way. After you order your medium (grande) house coffee you hear the person behind you order like a seasoned pro. Venti with an extra shot, skinny vanilla, Frappuccino. Mind blown. Also, no, that is not my Starbucks order. Grande Dark roast pour over with coconut milk, since you were just dying to know.

Now you’re thinking how the hell does this relate to Revit? Let’s get into it. Revit has out of the box content to get you started. Think of this as your house coffee, good and tasty, but not suited to you and your workflow. Then you start modifying and creating new content and pulling content from vendors. This would be ordering from the big board and exploring more options.

Get adventurous and start making your families and schedules talk. Wo, wo, wo, hold your horses. Don’t like that, what about combining your MEP model into one? Crazy talk. How about putting electrical connectors on your mechanical equipment and multiple departments touching each others equipment and devices. Did I hear mutiny?

Here is the deal, we are all working towards the same goal. The reaction that you might have just had to these comments or thoughts is frankly outrageous. We should all be working together to have a successful project and design.

Taking a step back because I know I lost you and went to the secret menu and we aren’t quite ready for that. Putting our toes in the water goes something like this, make simple adjustments to your Revit families with each project and each unique instance that you need something. Then save those families out to a file folder that is backed up because you don’t want to lose this content. Next setup a template file, you know the one you start every project with that hasn’t been updated as it should. Since updating this and keeping it updated with the newest and best content will only improve efficiency going forward.

Revit is a fantastic platform with a lot of capabilities. You can either be the wizard from the Myspace days that has these beautiful pages or the bland one. Sometimes wizardry gets you far in your quest. Other times it cuts your feet off only to be bandaged and put back together. Bland is good because it doesn’t break, but it doesn’t improve your workflow or productivity.

Time in these cases just isn’t our friend. We never seem to have the time to go back and make these changes. Yet, we all need to take the time to improve the thing that we do every day. Many Architects and Engineers are too swamped and move onto the next project, not always looking for that continual process improvement.

This is my plea to you, to take the time to improve your content. Integrate it into your workflow. Make families link to schedules. Add the right content and reuse it. If you don’t know where to start or just don’t have the time, email us kowabungastudios@gmail.com to help you improve your Revit content and take a deeper look at your workflow. If you have this, great! Stay tuned for more content that will help you improve your own content.

-Kowabunga Dudes!




Related posts

Revit Automation


Winning Architectural Work


Managing Up


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Receive a Weekly Digest

of Engineering, Revit and Architecture News

Your information will be kept safe.

%d bloggers like this: