Utilizing Seek Standards for Creating Revit Families

A very important aspect of the productive utilization of design software is quality and consistent content; both from manufacturers and individual users.  I wrote an article for my blog in 2009 discussing whether manufacturers’ content is usable, but I believe that manufacturers are now making great strides in providing very usable content.  A great source for that improved content and consistent standards is through Autodesk Seek at http://seek.autodesk.com, which is directed toward the AEC industry.

Some time ago, Autodesk created their Autodesk Seek site to be used as a central location for Autodesk product users to go and download manufacturers’ information.  That information includes files such as 2D drawings, specifications, product descriptions, and 3D models.  Files that can be downloaded may include Revit families (.rfa) and Revit parameter text files, AutoCAD blocks (.dwg), DWF files, PDF files, Microsoft Word document specifications, DXF files, Microstation (.dgn), and even Sketchup (.skp).  Unlike some other websites that allow anyone to just upload anything, Autodesk controls what information gets uploaded to the site.   Autodesk has included direct access to Seek from directly within the following software packages to make is easier for users to access the information:

  • Revit Architecture
  • Revit MEP
  • Revit Structure
  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • AutoCAD MEP

Currently, Autodesk has product libraries for AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, and Generic information.  Note that not all manufacturers’ information is developed for all of the listed libraries.  Also, not all of the various file formats are created for all of the various components listed in the libraries.

Guidelines for developing consistent Revit families:

Autodesk has implemented a program for manufacturers to develop Revit content to meet specific standards to promote consistency between the content provided on Seek.  Information about those guidelines can be found at the following location:
http://seek.autodesk.com/revit.htm

The following zip file can be downloaded, which contains the actual guidelines and a great deal of reference materials:
Revit Model Content Style Guide

I believe that creators of families for an individual company’s usage should also create their families per Seek standards.  If Revit family creators utilize the Autodesk Seek standards for all families that they create, then there will be consistency between their families and any families that a user downloads from Seek.  I am a firm believer in consistency for making one’s life easier.  This consistent information is also very important for implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and obtaining data from consistent parameters.

The Seek guidelines are quite extensive and give Revit family recommendations for items such as:

  • Proper family template
  • Family representations
  • Recommended family file sizes
  • Level of detail
  • Element visibility
  • MEP Connectors
  • Family naming conventions
  • Type naming conventions
  • Type catalogs
  • Parameter naming conventions
  • Material naming conventions
  • Categories and subcategories
  • Preview images
  • Shared parameters
  • Reference planes
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