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Locking (Non-editable) Families

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    Locking (Non-editable) Families

    Im sorry if this topic has been covered. I am new and this is the whole reason I joined this forum.

    I am working on Revit families. I build my models in Inventor - BIM exchange (saves as .adsk) - open them in Revit and save as .rfa

    We will soon be providing our hardware to Architects to download and use in their projects. However I do not want them to be able to download them, then be able to manipulate it to suit whichever project they want. We want them to come back to us to download the proper one again. We want this so the more they come back to us they will realize they will only want to come to us.

    Also when I am in a project and click on the hardware - "Edit Type", I am now able to edit who made it (Company) and who drew it (Employee) pretty much I can edit anything in the Value Column. Can I lock these so it cannot be Edited?

    Thank you,

    Ryan, be prepared for some, um, disagreement, with your approach. To wit...

    1: No, there is no meaningful way to lock down a family. There are ways to make it harder for people to change information, but like a locked door, those techniques really only stop those who didn't really want to change anything or have little experience in how you change things.
    2: ADSK is a horrible format, and many of us will not ever use any content that is not 100% native Revit. Yes, Autodesk probably told you BIM Exchange was a great idea. They lied. Anything but 100% native Revit content is going to instantly red flag your content with the most competent/experienced Revit users, and it is likely to make the less experienced users/offices miserable, which they will blame on your content.
    3: The way to get people to keep coming back is not to force them to, it is to make great content that is really useful, and thus it saves us as users time when we keep coming back for more. Great content makes us WANT to use it, which is much more compelling than trying to force us to.
    4: Every office has different needs, and the chances are that what any content provider makes is not ideal for everyone. Locking down content means that when you provide something that is 80% there, your customers can't get it the last 20% to what they need. This is actually much more frustrating than just not providing any content and we know we need to build it ourselves.

    Sorry to be a rainy day, but realize you stepped into a very hot topic for Revit users. If you dig around in the Families forum you will see what I mean. But, be open to what the user community really wants and needs, and you may come away with the information you need to make really useful, great content. Best of luck.

    Pragmatic Praxis


      Thank you Gordon.

      You see I am in the structural Glass Wall business (completely different than Curtain wall). There are not many glass suppliers out there that have Revit families for their glass. The ones that do, might offer Insulated Glass Units (IGU) but still keep to the standard 25mm or 1" Thickness which never happens in the real world. Our hardware connects the glass to other support glass. Building these components in Revit is ridiculous. Inventor saves hours of time modeling. Why is it that "Anything but 100% native Revit content is going to instantly red flagged"?


        Well put Gordon. :thumbsup:

        Ryan, I'd have to agree with everything Gordon just said. Native Revit all the way, no exceptions. I really don't understand the logic in locking the family to "force" someone to come back to you for a new one. All that is going to do is take more time to get the family done, and consequently, the project. I see what you are trying to do, but it won't work, in my opinion. Revit users will either go somewhere else, or just re engineer your family and make it themselves.

        Ryan: I posted before your post showed up.
        100% native content avoids bringing in stuff from other programs and keeps our projects cleaner. When you bring in a .dwg, for instance, all of the layer crap comes along with it and mucks up the project. Once it's in, it's in. So, to avoid these issues, we like only native Revit content.
        Last edited by dzatto; June 19, 2012, 02:59 PM.



          It is not so much as to force them to come back. All of hardware is Patented and we do not someone to take the model tweak it a bit then able to make it their own and sell it. We have a standard size to use for revit as stated above, no one changes the glass thickness in their Revit models. But IRL every job is custom nothing is the same. So in future use once everyone is on Revit we want our families to be ready for it.

          Both Dan and Gordon, Thank you for the information
          Last edited by R.Irwin; June 19, 2012, 03:05 PM.


            Well, that does make more sense than just any old Revit family. I wonder if you could do a parametric model, but not make it so detailed that people can replicate IRL? You know, more of a visual thing for modeling. I still think that, once they get one of your families and need another one, they will just use yours as a model and recreate it from scratch. That's what I'd do. Just for modeling purposes. I wouldn't try to recreate it IRL. Hell, you're the experts, not me. I'm just trying to get it in my model so I can finish the project. :laugh:


              Ryan, the thing is that what is patented is the actual construction material, not the representation of the family. Honestly, probably 70% of Revit using architects are going to use the OOTB storefront that is close to the same size, and deal with the particulars in the details and specification. Not because that is the best answer, but because it is the answer we have used for years in AutoCAD and hand drafting, so we continue to use it. But more and more, offices are coming around to the idea of modeling things accurately, so the ability to get real rather than diagrammatic content is becoming important. but if that content pollutes the model, slows things down with excessive detail (or fails to support renderings and presentations because of lack of detail, depending on a particular offices needs at the moment) then likely I will just look at the PDF download and build my own.
              I understand the desire to not allow the Revit family to become a way for your unique approach to the materials to be stolen, but we as Architects face the same fear. If we allow a contractor to have our model, we worry they could just go build the building again. And yeah, they could, and there are laws that we have to depend on to protect us in the (honestly very rare) occasion that one does. But mostly we have to trust the folks we work with enough to share information with them, and in turn product manufacturers need to trust us to use their content responsibly. Rather than forcing me to download a different family with every project, I would much rather see the family made of native Revit bits that are flexible, so I can take that one download and make it the exact part it needs to represent. And I have a professional responsibility to make sure I get that right.
              The one place that this is not the case is when the manufacturer is actually providing consulting services, where I am actually linking in a model from you, that describes the unique conditions of that project, rather than families that I have to use to create those conditions. At which point, you will probably find out how frustrating it is to use that inflexible content. But, you will find that while there is no technical limitation on me getting into your model and changing things, we very rarely do out of respect for each other's work. And that very project specific model is going to be exchanged in a controlled, non public way, so less worry about that info getting out to the general idea stealing public. More and more I am seeing stairs handled this way, where design build stairs are actually supplied as a linked model by the manufacturer, based on a design intent model provided by the architect. Not a bad way to work really.

              Pragmatic Praxis


                Check out WaterMark over at
                Michael "MP" Patrick (Deceased - R.I.P)


                  Just to support what both Gordon and Dan have said, if you search around on the forums, you'll find that when people (and firms) are first getting in to Revit, they go searching around for content they can use "for free". On the first few projects they use it on, they are thrilled that they can see all of this content. Then after they get a bit more experienced, they start wondering why their models are so slow, or why that piece of equipment doesn't render properly. Inevitably, it comes down to that free content. Most often it's that the manufacturer put in WAY too much detail, or didn't make their family "flex" properly. (Flex means use proper parametrics).
                  As far as the translation from Inventor is concerned, ADSK is really nothing more than a DWG file with a bit of meta-data attached.
                  DWGs are notorious in Revit for causing poor performance.

                  And finally, as far as locking, there are a few tricks you can do, but again, people probably won't like it.
                  You might want to look at CTC's Family tools here:
                  Revit Express Tools
                  They're not cheap, but they might be able to post-process you families to accomplish what you want.
                  Dave Plumb
                  BWBR Architects; St Paul, MN

                  CADsplaining: When a BIM rookie tells you how you should have done something.


                    Everyone thank you so much for your input. + Rep all around


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