A NEED FOR Easy, Fast Access to Revit Content

The firm’s diverse portfolio includes projects in more than 91 countries, all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Collaborating across such a wide base requires a flexible content management system, and for LEO A DALY, that choice was AVAIL.

The buying process began with a test group. “Our team consisted of Digital Practice Managers, Subject Matter Experts, and experienced Revit and AutoCAD users,” explains Kevin Busacker, Associate, LEO A DALY Digital Practice Manager. AVAIL facilitated the trial process, which laid a foundation for a smooth adoption and successful deployment. The AVAIL Pilot Program gives customers access to the full product feature set, team training, and support. In addition, all pilot work transitions seamlessly to a broader rollout later. 

Omaha Marriott Downtown, Capitol District | © LEO A DALY | Photo by Kurt Johnson

PRIORITIZING USER EXPERIENCE AND FAST ACCESS TO BIM CONTENT 

“The ease of implementation was a pleasant surprise, because it’s a very powerful product,” Kevin says. Administrators can customize roles, permissions and Channels to improve user experience. Usernames and passwords integrate with the company’s single-sign-on settings to allow uninterrupted access to content. Fast-loading thumbnails to visually preview content further enhances the user experience. 

AVAIL provides employees quick, searchable access to any type of content on our network,” declares Kevin. “Individual time savings in conjunction with other benefits compound into quicker project completion, because users can access what they need much faster. The same search that took nearly a minute in Windows Explorer took only seconds in AVAIL,” he says. 

LEO A DALY designers are skilled, highly paid professionals, whose time is best spent on work that uses their strengths. When teams find what they need, they can focus unhindered on more high-value output. The platform’s intuitive ease of use has been part of the appeal, which in turn improves adoption overall. “We’ve had good feedback from users about getting to content faster,” notes Craig Thomas, Associate and Digital Practice Manager at LEO A DALY.

DESIGN PROCESS INSIGHTS THROUGH AVAIL ANALYTICS

Using AVAIL’s robust analytics, LEO A DALY spotlights areas to improve and streamline content curation. They’ve gained strong usage tracking and reporting capabilities, and Craig finds value in insights about design workflows and how content is accessed.

“We can dive into data and metrics and understand what’s getting used and not, and by whom. AVAIL helps us figure out what’s actually going on with this huge library. We can see what we use, what we’re missing, and what’s broken,” he adds. Additionally, the AVAIL Browser for Revit — which extends the user interface to Revit — allows for simple drag-and-drop while collecting relevant process data.

Omaha Marriott Downtown, Capitol District | ©LEO A DALY | Photo by Kurt Johnson
Royal Caribbean Innovation Lab | © LEO A DALY | Photo by Robin Hill

SEARCH AND INDEXING: ORGANIZING BIM CONTENT TO BE FOUND 

One of the biggest concerns was getting designers to the correct content, and that made search the biggest attribute in a content management solution. With AVAIL, “Filters and tags allow for a quick, relational search for any file type, no matter where it resides on our network,” says Kevin. 

Indexing network content with filters for file types keeps it as lean as possible. “AVAIL Channel organization lets us index to existing network drives and folders as-is, yet display to end users as we want by specialties like market sectors, disciplines or clients,” Kevin explains. Powerful search and filter capabilities offer multiple ways to find content, such as text search, CSI division, Revit category or JSN number.

The AVAIL content management platform exposes users to other approved (maybe even better) content that designers didn’t know existed, and the cross-pollination sparks ideas and collaboration. “It fuels creativity and reinforces what we want them to see and use. We help designers get to the right content instead of guessing what to use or recreating it,” says Craig. 

APPROVED CONTENT MAINTAINS QUALITY AND COMPLIANCE 

“We knew three quarters of the Revit content resided in the ‘unapproved’ area, and we wanted to get on top of that,” notes Craig. AVAIL reinforces the use of “approved” corporate content and provides quality control to avoid going backwards and re-introducing old or outdated content into projects.

“We check quarterly to see what’s being used in the ‘unapproved’ area, and then we can move what makes sense to ‘approved’,” he explains. “Over the course of a year, if we see 90% wasn’t even touched, we can streamline and get rid of it.” AVAIL drives quality and reduces inefficiencies by directing users to work from approved BIM content libraries. This avoids inconsistencies and time wasted tracking down or recreating appropriate resources. There’s reassurance that designers get the correct content, and that’s important on many levels, including regulatory compliance. As the company adds more ADA and government work, it pays to reinforce standards.

INTEGRATING AECO PROJECTS, WORKFLOWS  AND  MANUFACTURING

AVAIL helps integrate workflow in other significant ways such as taking a Revit model and transforming it into something you can manufacture. A duct designer can import content into an application that allows them to manufacture the ductwork, or you could use the library to create a model that is prefabbed, delivered to the site and dropped in. Kevin adds, “There are all kinds of down-stream uses for these files we create and then manage through AVAIL.”

BEYOND REVIT CONTENT MANAGEMENT: LIMITLESS OPTIONS

As many AVAIL customers have found, the platform helps LEO A DALY solve problems in ways they didn’t anticipate. “One thing I didn’t think about when we were piloting was to use AVAIL to create our templates,” Craig says. “It lets us bring legends from one model to another. No other tool gives us that capability. All of a sudden, AVAIL has become a tool to help us build and maintain our Revit templates.”

“Being Revit-centric was the attraction in the beginning, as we have mostly Revit content,” explains Craig. “But having had AVAIL now and understanding how it works, we’ve actually extended it to other uses like quick reference cards for example.”

INTUITIVE WAY TO CUSTOMIZE DESIGN WORKFLOWS

The firm uses AVAIL Channels to organize and assemble any combination of content and make it available from one location. Even better, “It’s pretty intuitive to customize right from the start,” notes Kevin.

“We’re starting to expose this product to other people outside of those who are working in Revit. We’re getting the entire company aware of this to see if it appeals to their needs as well,” he explains. For example, a custom Channel only shared to Digital Practice Managers gives quick access to planning and strategy documents stored across many locations on their network, but pulled together in one Channel. Other departments like Marketing could use the same Channel model.

“We have different file types from different places, all presented together for convenience,” says Craig. “Uses for the platform and how to organize content are limitless.”