Revit Family Creation Services – An overview

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Revit Family creation services is an integral part of the BIM solutions and Services. Revit Families are the “Building Blocks” of any 3D Model created in the pre-construction BIM stage. These components represent smaller elements such as Windows, Doors, Walls, furniture etc. that needs to be placed within the models to represent specific 3D geometry of a building. BIM Family creation services are availed by Architectural companies, Manufacturers, product design companies etc. BIM Modelers can download or buy Revit Families for their respective models if they do not want to spend time creating it. Also in such cases Revit family creation can be outsourced to BIM companies in India who are experts in providing such services.

Let us talk about the types of Revit families that can be developed by a BIM Content specialist and later we will talk about COBie too. There are three types of BIM Content that can be developed System Families, Loadable Families, and In-Place families. System families are commonly used in BIM projects alongside loadable families. In place families are generally not parametric and are used to create non standards or typical components that are applicable only to one particular project or model.

System Families

 System families are simple in nature and constitute the basic Revit family creation aspect. These elements are usually amassed or assembled while constructing or installing them. System families are also in built in Revit software which you do not have to load each time you open a new project. You do not have to create and save them separately as they are already available within the software. The system families constitutes of typical components that are a common feature in any model discipline and cannot be modified.

Some of common system families include Walls, roofs and floors in an Architectural Model, Ducts in MEP or Beam / Columns in structural models. These families do not have to be changed or customized hence we can use them for any project environments. System families cannot be created and used across different templates or other projects, you can always use the copy and paste feature to seamlessly transfer some families between projects where needed.

Loadable Families

Revit Family creation services include loadable families that can be created stand alone and utilized for multiple projects. These families can be saved externally and opened in different models based on the requirements. Loadable families can be parametric in nature and can be assigned parameters that are flexible based on the needs

Components that can be used in any building or a product that needs to be manufactured for installation. Such Revit families usually are manufactured for installation in a building or a product design that needs to be ordered for installation. The components can include windows, ceilings, case-work, furniture, door insulation etc.

Some intricate MEP components also can be developed through BIM family creation. Bigger equipment’s like Heater and chiller equipment’s, Electrical transformers, Boilers, Diffusers, Faucets, Plumbing Equipment’s etc. can be also created as loadable families. These Revit Families can also be given asset codes, manufacturer numbers etc.  Within the family so that we can order the same brand or type for installation within a building. These elements can be customized with specific logos, copyright titles etc. that can give complete information about the component and how it can be ordered during onsite construction.

The parametric features of the loadable families’ makes it one of the most sought after services within the BIM fraternity. Revit family creation services have been widely availed and in high volumes in countries like UK since BIM is mandatory in these countries.

The major difference between system and loadable families are that they can be utilized for any project if they are parametric in nature. The file extension for Revit family is .RFA and these files can be created as external entities and independent model components. Later these can be loaded on any model and adapt to the project environment as required. Manufacturers or designers can upload these families on website for Architects and Engineers to download, create catalogs for users to choose from and use in respective models.  BIM Family creation services have made it easier for manufacturers, construction companies etc. to work on production of several Architectural, structural or MEP elements that needs to be installed in buildings.

In-Place Families

Revit family creation services also consists of In-place families which is a family that can be used only in a particular project. This type of family cannot be used in any other project. It can only be used in the model that we have created it. The geometry is not adaptable to other project environment.  You can create an in place element with a single family. The process is the same and can be created with the same set of tools.

Revit Family creation Services – COBIE Feature

COBie stands for Construction Operations Building Information Exchange and is a data format that helps in representing the Asset data for any particular building apart from its geometrical representation. This feature came into existence and has taken the Revit family creation process a step further. BIM families creation usually consist of 3d geometry, dimensions and the annotations while COBIE offers structured and detailed asset information that can improve utilization of assets, facility management and renovation of an existing building.  It also helps the owner at a later stage in managing the assets and facility overall large scale building structure especially Government or public buildings.

This process becomes important when the building is handed over to the facility manager after the building is constructed.  As we discussed that the advent of COBie has integrated the manual asset tracking process with the 3d geometry through BIM which has given the facility management a new direction altogether after the construction is completed. There are some general principles with which this feature functions.

  • Segregation of Data: The information that needs to be entered needs to be bifurcated or classified based the requirements. These information should be familiar and easy to understand for the owners and the facility managers at a later stage.  This is one of the most important aspect of COBie. BIM Family creation services in UK mostly include COBie in their requirements
  • Integrated BIM Modelling with Data: COBie can be integrated with BIM Modelling Services, Revit Family Creation and other construction tools to make it a wholesome data model which can be used in all phases post construction. Facility management becomes very effective when we have the entire set of building data available in a single spread sheet.
  • User-friendly presentation of information: There are multiple delivery formats that the user can choose from. However excel sheet or spread sheet is most widely used. These information can be integrated with Revit families to deliver the information for a specific component or a family.

COBie is very much helpful in amalgamating three main stages of a building construction project such as Design, Build and Operate. All the building related information are available in the 3D BIM Model.  The 3D BIM Model also consists of Revit families for product types or any typical components that needs to be manufactured, overall site and building, space and floor spacing etc. All the building information is amalgamated with each other in a structured manner and extracted in a sheet so that the owner or the facility manager can use it for efficiently manage the building.  .

BIM family creation services are extremely critical and needs to be built with extreme attentiveness. Engineers or Revit content specialist should focus in the geometry, material application and rendering parameters to these families. Errors in creating Revit families can result in long term losses, wrong ordering of components or equipment’s delaying construction and increased construction costs.


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