Author Topic: Generic Object Libraries  (Read 263 times)

David Watson

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Generic Object Libraries
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:06:31 pm »
This is a call to anyone reading, to answer this question. 

Would a standardized generic BIM object library be welcomed? 

Background:

I'm referring to a library of BIM objects that are not biased toward a specific product (most online libraries carry models constructed by a manufacturer).  Instead, a generic object library would contain models designed to be used as a design tool BEFORE a make/model has been selected.  It might only contain properies relevant for an object at such early stages, or relevant for establishing required property values regardless of manufacturer.

This would be analogous to a generic master specification which is commercially available, versus product-specific specs that are created by manufacturers specifically for their product (and generally offered for free).  There is still a very strong market for consultants to purchase data that they trust will not be biased toward one product (and encourage competition).

Someone recently pointed out that the Revit families are generic "out of the box" objects already and wondered why anyone would create or download something new or different?  The counter-argument might be that the Revit objects meet only one standard - that of Autodesk.  I don't mean to suggest that their standard is inferior, but the industry may prefer objects constructed (or populated with more generic data) from a third party source.  Also, Revit families are only useful in Revit;  a generic object library could be produced in IFC or other generic format so they could be imported/consumed by any BIM software.

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philipmreynolds

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Re: Generic Object Libraries
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 03:04:42 pm »
David,

As a government architect I believe this is a very important topic. Our requirement for fairness and the propensity of suppliers to complain to crown ministers, if they feel mistreated or left out,  has led to a variety of bidding requirements including restrictions on single/sole sourcing, generic specs and listing multiple "acceptable products". I have also worked with these requirements as a private practitioner going back almost 40 years, and I assure you this concern will not go away anytime soon. Over the years I have seen cycles of stringent standards and less stringent standards, and a variety of project delivery models that try to circumvent the need for open bidding. The various attempts to get it right have sometimes created headaches for owners, design professtionals and the construction industry alike. Getting the right balance to achieve the right quality product, in a fair procurement system, without placing an unreasonable burden on any of the participants can be quite a challenge. I am pretty certain that this will catch up to BIM, if it has not already, and objects with supplier data or other ties to a specific supplier will be challenged, whatever the delivery model.

So generic BIM objects will, I believe, be a necessity. As to whether the  generic object should be from a third party generic object library or a generic library from a BIM platform such as Revit is a valid, but different question. I suspect it will not matter too much, as long as it is truly generic. Other issues such as a need for models to be IFC, or a need to accommodate platforms other than Revit, will then enter into the discussion.

It would be interesting to know where this issue has gone in Europe or the US, where similar issues have likely come up. Good question though.

David Watson

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Re: Generic Object Libraries
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2017, 12:30:51 pm »
Philip,

Thanks for confirming that the industry needs generic objects.  My main point was that Revit generic objects are not nearly sufficient for our needs in product selection and specifications (can't speak to other uses).  A good analogy might be the templates that come with Word;  sure, they will work but they are not customized to the level of detail you might like.  You could modify the families, of course, but the more that happens, the less standardized the objects become.

As for Europe, all I can say about my experiences attending international ISO and buildingSMART conferences is that there are generic libraries and they are used (and continue to be maintained).  Although much of the hoopla lately is about building standardized product libraries - likely because there's a lot more money in it.

Mirra Lee

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Re: Generic Object Libraries
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 03:24:36 pm »
Generic objects or families are good for understanding that a piece of equipment of roughly comparable size and shape might be installed in the approximate area while designing and engineering a building system. As the models progress in sophistication and requirements more detail and data is needed especially when dealing with MEP connections routing and installations
 
  • What is the connection type? PVC, Steel, Copper, flex etc.?
    What is the voltage 120, 208, 230, ..... 600? Phase?
    What size? How many?
    Weight?
    Where is the exact location of these connection in to and out of the equipment?
    Will these connections be located on site with Trimble/RTS?

All of the above change between vendors or manufactures or final equipment selected and affect the conduit/pipe/duct route and size connected to said equipment, and coordination with each other along with any other obstacles.

Detailed equipment has richer information for our needs, workflow and coordination we tend to substitute out the generic for the "real" to be installed equipment.

Mirra

David Watson

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Re: Generic Object Libraries
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 04:35:54 pm »
Hi Mirra,

I think you hit the nail square on the head!   Generic objects are useful for a "design" model, and proprietary objects more useful for creating construciton or as-built models.  Your example clearly shows the need for both! 

The drawback to "skipping" a step and trying to use a proprietary object for design models is that the proprietary models would be far too specific, making it nearly impossible for other manufacturers to match (if the model is used as the basis for a contract).  Also, all that additional detail is irrelevant for the design purpose and greatly increases the physical size of the model.  I think design models should be limited to approximate size/orientation and required (design) properties only, until such time as we know which vendor will supply the product (normally after contract award).


« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 05:26:50 pm by David Watson »