It should be noted that the potential drawbacks above aren’t necessarily deal breakers, nor are they even technically ‘wrong’. Not at all. However, manufacturer’s BIM content is being created for the client as a marketing asset with the purpose of maximum user adoption. It therefore needs to be created in a way that caters to current and immediate future user preferences, not what it ‘technically possible’, if maximum adoption is desired.
IGS also acknowledges that – at the other end of the spectrum – creating 126 individual families would be an even worse strategy. Users do not want to handle this much content for reasons that should be extremely obvious. Some simple math should help demonstrate. 126 families at let’s say 600KB each x 150 products = 11.34GB of data and 18,900 families to manage / browse for just one supplier… multiplied by the number of suppliers a commercial design firm has.
For this product, and with similar products, IGS defined a ‘base variable’ and used this to break up the families. For this basin and other basins that have optional tapware, IGS used the tap style as the base variable. This meant that:
- Families were broken up according to the primary variable that users selected the product against, being the most suited tap style, and they could be previewed this way when browsing the content library
- Multiple taps didn’t need to be nested into the family, reducing file size significantly
- Users were able to browse the library more easily by viewing thumbnails that showed the different styles of tap in the preview images
- By having just one tap model included in the families (where an integrated tap was present) IGS was able to define the tapware connectors. As different taps have different types of connectors (e.g. cold only, hot and cold etc), if multiple styles of tap with varying connection types were nested in the families, these could not be defined/controlled.
Generally speaking, for products that are highly customisable, IGS sought to find a happy medium in creating the Revit families where they were parametric enough to ensure the number of families for each product and product range was minimal, but the families were not overly complex to use or manage.