In this article we discuss the importance of Content Creation standards along with methods used to implement in a company-wide office environment.

The article relates to the ANZRS content creation standard (Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards), so if you’re not sure what it is, please download it at http://www.anzrs.org

NOTE: ANZRS Version 3 has now been released. This article relates to version 2. Version 3 is more extensive regarding the checklist and we will be reviewing this and posting back here in a future article.

So how important are content creation standards? In short, the answer varies hugely depending on project, experience, reusability of content, role/discipline etc.

Overview
With the emergence of the ANZRS and the Autodesk RMCSG standard, we decided to engage with firms to discuss how they implement these standards across teams with a diverse range of Revit skills.

Can you throw a 72 page document on a novice user’s desk and say “Make sure your components comply with this!” Doubtful?

Can you throw the same document at a competent Revit user and ask the same? Probably, but then do they have the time to design buildings, deliver to project deadlines and build squeaky clean components on a daily basis? We’d like to think so but even then it’s debatable how much compliance would be achieved factoring in the user’s other work commitments.

The upshot of all this is that invariably there is a huge amount of content floating around in projects which quite often isn’t compliant to any standard.  So how do you ensure content is created in a coordinated and compliant fashion without imposing war and peace on some poor unsuspecting Revit user?

Implementation
One solution is to implement the standards in stages:  Much like the UK Government is aiming to achieve level 2 BIM (and not jumping straight for level 3, 4, 5 and beyond from the outset), a similar process could be applied to implementing content creation standards.  Get the basics right and the rest should follow.

The only exclusion from this would be content creation houses which generate content for Manufacturers or building sectors such as Healthcare. In this sense, the full standard should be implemented from the outset.

The area we’re focussing on is the design team:  Of course we need to build content in a consistent manner but imposing such strict restrictions from the outset on design team members could be suicidal.

Out of the Box Content
Its worth noting that the out-of-the-box Autodesk Revit content still is, and has been used, by every single user who has ever worked in Revit. Buildings have been created successfully and projects have been delivered. This content isn’t ANZRS standards compliant, nor is it RMCSG compliant, it is however ‘useable’, or more to the point ‘reusable’ data.  This is what we see as being the first step towards building a standards compliant content library. The most important part of this equasion is ensuring the data is scalable to increase its compliance during it’s usable life.

Partial Compliance
The great thing about the ANZRS checklist is that you can put a Yes or a No for compliance in each field.  In this sense it’s already a scalable system.  The only problem with it is that Revit user’s don’t know which items in that list take priority when building a component which is only partially compliant.

With this in mind, we’ve broken the ANZRS compliance check list into 3 stages of implementation. The stages are intended to introduce teams within design firms to the concept of consistent modelling standards phased over a period of time.  For each section we have created a condensed compliance checklist:

Stage 1 Compliance: ‘Reusable Data’
Summary: Reusable data should be free from CAD imports, flex correctly, contain the base information in order to locate the file by name or thumbnail, read the types within and load into a project for use in the appropriate category and host. This paves the way for a compliant component.

Stage 2 Compliance: ‘Optimised Data’
Summary: Optimised data includes accurately modelled reference geometry with attention to naming of planes, parameters, nested elements, additional meta data and choice of type/type catalogues. Some of the more intricate details of content creation are picked up in this stage.

Stage 3 Compliance: ‘Fully Compliant Data’
Summary: Fully compliant data contains all aspects of the ANZRS compliance check list.  Complex additions such as standards compliant shared parameters sub-object style names etc are part of this compliance.

Ultimately the level of adoption will vary between firms and can be dependent on aspects such as IT and BIM team assembly, size of company, existing protocols and standards.  This article is a guide to help you consider some of the cultural issues surrounding standards implementation as well as methods for phased adoption.