Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) takes pride in its innovative culture, which taps the best technologies to deliver quality designs while saving time and money. With AVAIL in their technology stack, EUA can manage any type of content for their building information modeling (BIM).
SEARCH FOR REVIT CONTENT SOLUTION LEADS TO AVAIL
With offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Denver and Des Moines, 112-year-old EUA has more than 220 employees, including 90+ registered architects and over 45 LEED-accredited professionals. Design expertise ranges from thousand-acre master plans to adding a single medical exam room. As EUA Design Technology Manager, Tony Isenhoff ensures these designers have the right tools to deliver these projects; “Efficiency ties to profitability, and we look for new technology to make us more efficient.” That includes making it easier for BIM managers to curate massive quantities of content.
In pursuit of better processes, Tony launched EUA on its Revit content management journey several years ago. From the beginning, they saw a strong ROI by moving away from accessing their libraries via Windows File Folders. The first platform was an improvement, but the back-end management was too time-consuming and caused frustrations for the Design Technology Team.
The need for a complete solution to the BIM content problem led Tony to AVAIL which had been on his radar for some time. However, the compelling reason for EUA to change was the pending renewal of their existing content solution. Getting buy-in for AVAIL from the Director of IT wasn’t difficult. “The ROI [of a content management system] was already proven through our first generation of technology, and AVAIL was just better,” Tony notes.
BETTER WAY TO MANAGE MASSIVE VOLUMES OF BIM CONTENT
EUA’s original processes (browsing folders) forced users to spend time tracking down siloed content buried in hierarchical file folders. Frustrated employees might just choose to recreate what they needed instead, losing even more valuable design time and the ability to perform to their best potential. The next step was a software platform, which was better but still lacked efficiencies and was limited to only Revit loadable family content.
In contrast, AVAIL’s flexible design allows any type of content to be indexed where it resides, then easily searched and consumed through a visual interface. For EUA Design Technology Specialist, Jeremy Skalitzky, success with AVAIL meant efficient, high-performing staff who weren’t forced to hunt for content in network folders. “Better indexing means less time lost looking and fewer frustrations,” says Jeremy, who likes the ease of having content tools and features available inside of Revit.
CONTENT STAYS ON LOCAL NETWORK FOR EASY UPDATES
Revit content needs continual updates, so library management has to be easy for the BIM team. “We also preferred content to stay local on our network, primarily for easy modification and updating. We batch-process groups of content when changes need to be made, and that had to be easy,” explains Tony.
“With the AVAIL Browser for Revit, it’s much faster and a lot easier,” Jeremy concurs. “Before, simply opening a project file, used as a “container file” took far too long. Duplicates accumulated, and libraries became extremely messy.” Today templates are leaner and indexing is more efficient, as is updating libraries. Revit library management is a lot easier. The team is able to maintain the family library and detail library information concurrent with ensuring ease of access. “We upgrade our BIM libraries every year,” said Tony, “and this year we went right through it because of the new-found ease of working with the content.” Since implementing AVAIL he estimates they saved about 50% in library backend management time.
ORGANIZING AEC CONTENT WITH SEARCH AND INDEXING
When staff find content quickly, they can focus on producing quality work, instead of endlessly clicking through folders or duplicating content they can’t find. Powerful search and filter capabilities offer multiple ways to find Revit content. EUA has focused on using the search feature along with an extensive collection of keywords for filtering. AVAIL also searches using Revit Category or JSN Number, but EUA has not yet adopted that option. “That’s the beauty of AVAIL, we can customize the program based on our needs,” states Tony.
“Our workflow of using tags makes the BIM content very easy to find,” Tony continues. He offers the example of a search for chairs. “Hundreds may come up, but with the addition of tags like ‘education’ or ‘medical’, with a click or two you quickly filter down to chairs for a specific market.”
MANAGING CONTENT BEYOND REVIT
Work varies from office to office, but Tony expects AVAIL to be used on all kinds of AEC projects ranging from interiors and senior living to residential and healthcare. But they won’t stop there, because AVAIL lets EUA post content they didn’t even think about including before.
The revelation for Tony on expanding AVAIL within the organization started with project photos. In addition to construction photos (many marked up for educational purposes), AVAIL can support content related to:
- • Sample projects as .rvt or .pdf for new hires
- • Construction administration
- • UL listings
- • Explanations with graphics
- • Dynamo scripts
MORE USERS, MORE VALUE
For EUA, creating a work environment that elevates each employee’s potential means aligning them with technology solutions that allow them to do their best. “People feel empowered to use our technology,” says Jeremy. As a result, creativity thrives, quality improves, and a culture of responsiveness is born.
With regards to content management, the more AVAIL users there are the more value to EUA and having options for many types of content was a compelling factor in choosing AVAIL. “We can publish more than just Revit content, which is valuable and a huge time saver for people trying to find all kinds of things,” Tony explains.
“Our Implementation team has lots of good information to share but until now finding it via Windows Explorer was difficult and time-consuming. We set up a customized Implementation Channel within AVAIL that has made it easy to find and use this information,” says Jeremy: “We can put up ‘don’t do this’ notices that help avoid problems later.”
USING BIM ANALYTICS TO DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS
EUA uses AVAIL’s analytics dashboards to improve processes by seeing what users search for and what they find – or don’t. With usage counts from the WIP (work in progress) Channel, “we can focus on cleaning up and QC’ing the most used content,” explains Tony. EUA’s Design Content Manager also gets general usage data, such as which content Channels get used most. “I love that it uses Google Analytics. I’m also using Google Data Studio to view results.” AVAIL takes advantage of 20 “Custom Dimensions” set up in Google Analytics to capture important data.
Both Tony and Jeremy appreciate the collaborative relationship with the AVAIL team. “AVAIL is open to feedback and continually asks what’s working and what’s not. They have great support and attitude. I talk to the developer, and he listens to us.” With AVAIL content management, EUA will continue exploring new ideas on their journey to greater efficiency.