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    How does your firm handle family requests?

    I've just heard grumblings that we don't create families fast enough in our office.
    How does your firm handle requests?
    We've tried several approaches over the years, and non have been very successful.
    We've tried having one person responsible - that worked OK but he became a bottleneck (overloaded), and when layoffs hit in 2009, that person was looked on as not being "profitable"
    We've tried doling out specific categories to different people. That varied with the interest of the person, and also always came in second in priority to "getting the job out the door"
    We've tried having a "Family Request Form" on our intranet. If that form got filled out at all, it was things like "I need a bench" - no detail.

    We're just trying to find the happy medium between being responsive and not getting overwhelmed.
    At the same time, this has to come out of a budget somewhere, but Project Managers pushed back when we tried to change the Family Creation time to their budgets.

    Any have a successful process out there?
    Dave Plumb
    BWBR Architects; St Paul, MN

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

    #2
    Having a BIM Manager or specialist helps...but when there is a project issue those families get put on the back burner. So sometimes a family gets forgotten, especially if it complicated.

    You can hire an outside source if you want, that doesn't have project obligations. I'm available. :beer:
    Michael "MP" Patrick (Deceased - R.I.P)

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      #3
      Originally posted by MPwuzhere View Post
      Having a BIM Manager or specialist helps...
      That's me!
      Dave Plumb
      BWBR Architects; St Paul, MN

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

      Comment


        #4
        Many firms fail to grasp the unfortunate fact that the overhead required to properly create families that expedite your workflow can be truly astounding. Some just don't like that reality.

        I have seen experiments with the following strategies:

        - Creation centralization (one person or a team in a single location). Strong content standards, slow creation, users are unaware of how to build families, family construction requests are often a mess.

        - Amortize library creation over multiple projects (centralized or user-created). Project overhead cost is increased, library creation and maintenance is slow, standards and family versions are harder to control, easier for "hot potato" families to propagate from project to project (no one wants to fix them).

        - Restrict content usage to OOTB content (yes, really). Projects bear increased documentation workaround workload to compensate for family shortcomings. You may see "rogue" custom families creeping into projects as user frustration levels grow.

        In our small office, I don't really have a choice but to let the projects carry the costs of content creation - there's nowhere else to put it. Sometimes, I'm able to finish a family before deadline, but often I have to leave it partially working and do some workaround to get the drawings out.

        This is what I've arrived at:
        - Families created or modified for a specific project get saved to that project's family folder, NOT the library.
        - Unfinished families get prefaced with a '#' before saving (to the project's family folder).
        - Upon project completion, go thru the project's family folder and do some cleanup, add to the library if possible.
        Chris Ellersick

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          #5
          Ours is a 25-person firm that has been using Revit for 2+ years. I came to Revit with v2009 and am implementing all aspects of BIM to the office.

          Users ask me for a family for their project; I ask them 20 questions and schedule the time in to create them as soon as I can. Projects rule so this does take priority over general system development - which is dragging on.

          Where the item is a general object that probably should be in the library anyway, that gets put under my BIM Management time. Where the family is peculiar to the project it gets charged to the project.

          Only I add families to the library. Project or user modified families stored within the project folder.

          Few users are interested in learning family creation techniques.

          I think the system is working fairly well.

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            #6
            I "just" make them for fun.

            3_2.jpg

            :hide:

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              #7
              Yeah it can be difficult to manage. Ideally family creation should be done to a consistent standard and saved in a library for re-use, but in practice things get made/changed on a project basis or incremental improvements are made that make version management an issue.

              Personally I have been making MEP families for more than 5 years now and have developed a modular approach to building them. (I always use my own families not ootb or external content). So I have a standard template with all the functionality that is possibly needed (2D symbols, text, basic parametric forms, pipe/duct connectors, rotation, offsets etc. A suitable weapon for every target....) and a whole range of standard parameters, which is total overkill but its easier to simplify later than add stuff when you need it.
              This template is what I develop and add new improvements to, before splitting it out into different categories. Each category has versions that include standard calculations / systems etc.

              The category templates can then be modified by other users to create specific families. My approach is to make the main family as just a parametric framework in which the geometry is loaded in as sub-components, and as much as possible can be set in Edit Type. This means that almost any (simple) family can be made by users just by selecting and sizing the standard sub-components (Cube, cylinder, space reservation, connector points etc...).
              If users want to use more complex or downloaded 3D models, they can also load them into the standard template and parametrically adjust position etc.

              This is still not easy to learn but lowers the learning curve for users who dont have experience with the editor and means that when they encounter a family in a project it will usually have the same setup and parameter layout that they are used too.
              It also helps that for MEP components a simple box is often all that is needed, so long as it has the right information, connectors and works with calculations.

              EDIT - (I should add that this is the plan... Actually getting people to use the system properly is a struggle and the people who can make and maintain content get limited time to do so, while the company is happy to buy expensive licenses for external libraries...)
              Last edited by josephpeel; February 8, 2017, 11:16 AM.
              "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Albert Camus - "The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may ​do well under the new." Nicolo Machiavelli -"Things that are too complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple." Mikhail Kalashnikov

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                #8
                Ideally I think the best solution for normal users would be a 'Family builder' add-in. That lets users select the category and all the functions that they want and then constructs the template family using a similar Template + Modules approach. Rather than like the many content libraries that just crap out a non parametric fixed size family from and SQL database that you cant do anything with in revit.

                The API for the family editor is a bit limited and tricky to use though.....
                "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Albert Camus - "The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may ​do well under the new." Nicolo Machiavelli -"Things that are too complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple." Mikhail Kalashnikov

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by DaveP View Post
                  That's me!
                  And me too!

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                    #10
                    Family creation is a part of revit just like having a good template and a shared parameter file is part of it they all work off of each other. Where i work now there are 3 of us that create families and that is it, we all sit in the same area no one else is aloud to make families. All family creation time gets billed to the project it is for.

                    We do have a family template that we start with and that has shared parameters that drive all our schedules. And yes if you are using revit you should be using shared parameters to create your schedules.

                    We also have alot of families that we use alot in the template to begin with u should't be making a ton of families for every project if you are there probably things missing from you template
                    Last edited by Darius; February 16, 2017, 12:23 PM.

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