Content… More than just Family Values


When most people think about BIM content, the first thing that comes to mind is the “BIM Object”, or “Families” in the Autodesk vernacular. Content stretches so much further than that; materials, building assemblies, complete building systems, and even macros, plugins and Dynamo.

If BIM is a digital prototype of a project, and the project is never recreated, then it is academic and self-serving; but if instead of a prototype it’s an owner’s manual, the model becomes the baseline for decades of facility management rather than dying a slow, corrupting death in digital storage. Limiting BIM project to objects not only a short-sale of your deliverables, but the capabilities of BIM as a whole.

What we provide as deliverables today is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is possible. When we enhance our projects’ skeletons with anatomically correct assemblies and systems, render ready materials, and tools to make them get up and dance, we can provide real world projects made with real world products. Sure this may seem like a lot of work today; but let’s skate to where the puck is going to be. Simplified content distribution, enhanced content offerings, configuration plugins and Dynamo can dissipate that effort so that it becomes as easy as drag and drop.

Enhanced materials give owners more robust depictions of color match and project feel. When we put the precise tile on the floor match it with the perfect wall color and cap it off with the exact crown molding profile, the owner sees what they’re getting, knows how much of it there is, and can match or replace it easily without having to hunt through reams of paper to do it.

Accurate building systems and assemblies can quantify and qualify the components that make them up as well as show how the system works as a whole. By including each real world product found in a wall, or component in the HVAC system, it builds upon the information within any given material or family and puts it in context. When complete assemblies made with real world products are available, it takes the guesswork out of things like dew point calculations, fire resistance and loads.

Arguably the biggest pain point to adding these types of content into the project is that the software is not conducive to creating and managing them. This is where tools like Dynamo and Plugins come in. You wouldn’t use ONLY the apps that come with your iPad or tablet would you; why miss out on the additional functionality of well-built productivity apps or Dynamo algorithms?

Now I am not saying that all of this is possible today, but when we get the right people in the room discussing how to get from Point A to Point B, new ideas are born bringing us that much closer to a reality where our toolboxes are full and the final deliverable is a complete digital replica of a building. Whether you intend to be at RTC or not, plan to join us at BCS 2015 in Washington D.C. to discuss how content can affect the future of project delivery, voice your opinions of the state of content today and share your knowledge with the world.

– Robert Weygant

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