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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Three Keys to Successful BIM Content Management

In the world of BIM, content management is an extremely hot topic. We have to deal with a lot of sub-par content, we have to collect it all together and then try to use it on real projects. We have to be able to find the content we need, and we need that content to meet certain quality rules, otherwise it becomes counter-productive to use it at all. We need our content to have an appropriate level of geometry, 2D elements, and embedded data parameters.

I could write for hours about BIM content in both practical and specific terms, but in this post I want to share just three keys to good management of BIM content.

Key 1 - Have a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual)
A good collection of BIM content doesn't happen automatically. It is something that needs an appropriate level of curation, and to that end, it needs someone who is ultimately responsible. In fact, you may have a company-wide Chief Content Manager, and then persons who handle content on a more specific basis (such as a Studio Content Curator, or a Structural Content Creator). In this way, if there is a problem with content, you know who you need to speak to in order to get that problem resolved.

Key 2 - Put Your Content Together in One Place
We should be way past having little folders with BIM content on file systems and local hard drives all over the place. There are really good tools out there to collect BIM content together and manage it. The better and more powerful versions of these tools are typically cloud-based, and the best example I have personally seen is Unifi (which I have posted about before).

Unifi provdes a secure, stable place to store all of your BIM content, and then search through it, find what you need, and immediately load it into your live projects. They have been expanding the feature set consistently since it was released, and I'm happy to announce that there is another new feature coming to Unifi, which leads me to...

Key 3 - Metadata, Metadata, Metadata!
 Have you ever been searching for hours on end through folder after folder, trying to find that particular piece of content that you know is out there somewhere? Aside from being frustrating, it is also a huge waste of valuable time. Unifi has had the ability to add useful metadata in the form of Tags for a long time...

But what if you want to batch edit tags for a lot of content all at once?

In just a few days, Unifi will release the Batch Tag Manager and enable users to manage metadata in even more powerful ways than those previously available. To quote from a Unifi insider:
Tags are heavily used by our customers... Especially when used in combination with Saved Searches, tags can be very effective at creating custom collections of components.  However, with large and growing libraries – managing these tags has been difficult for some.  We have conducted several interviews with customers about these challenges and came up with the batch tag manager...  

The Batch Tag Manager will allow you to view tags in a management interface, and then batch rename, merge or delete tags. The full feature set will be discussed in the upcoming webinar.

Here are some 'leaked' screenshots of the new features :)
Tag Management Interface

Ability to Batch Rename, Merge and Delete Tags

Merge Tags Interface

It will even allow you to see historical batch operations:
Included in the feature is the ability to see a historical list of batch operations run against the library – which will allow even more control and insight.

View Historical Operations

Learn more about these exciting new capabilities at the upcoming webinar:

Unifi is getting better and better, and they are responding actively to ideas from users all around the world in the Ideas Portal...

So the questions is, have you given Unifi a try yet?


  1. I've tried Unifi before, and have done some fairly indepth analysis of it and others, but I think CTC BIM List Server has the edge over them all.

    1. That BIM List Server looks like it would take a bit of setting up. The UNIFI solution is really simple to get up and running, no need to work with or administer server setup or software. Plus the actual functionality of BIM List Server looks weaker when compared to how much you can do with UNIFI right out of the box.

    2. They each have their pros and cons, but I guess to each their own, and looks can also be deceiving about features unless you've used it.
      BTW, CTC also have a cloud equivalent, although I have not tried it. As we know, cloud based products typically simplify things quite a bit.
      Having met the Unifi guys before and spent time evaluating it with them, I still very much like the product.

  2. Looking at BIM content, thus looking passed only Revit, i think Autodesk Vault is also coming along better. The Revit vault/family addin works pretty ok by now (though it can still use some improvements) and if you cant find it through the addin, using the vault client to search metadata is also an option.
    For your other BIM software (Inventor/Civil3D/Solibri/... and so on) it is also a solid Document management system where you can easy manage revisions of models and BIM related data.
    Beside that, you have the whole library in 1 place, including all the file history and thus can see who is responsible for that family (by history or metadata).

    1. I haven't looked at Vault for a while but it is quite powerful I'm sure. Again, it is something you typically have to set up and host on your own server isn't it. I think that the Unifi solution may start to handle more filetypes as time goes on.