Monday, December 12, 2011

Protect the fluffy kittens

Have you ever been frustrated when people say "ATM machine" or "department of redundancy department?" I feel your pain. Since the building industry has adopted the acronym BIM, it has generated a new phenomenon...the "BIM model." If you're reading this and thinking to yourself, 'hey, what's wrong with that?' then perhaps you mean to say 'building information model model?' Some of my friends and colleagues have suggested that saying 'BIM model' implies the verb interpretation of BIM so you get 'building information modeling model,' but I think that's a thin argument.

In an attempt to relieve some of our pain and mental anguish, some of us have taken to social media channels to clarify this sampling of techno-speak. John Tocci, Jr (@tocci2) tweeted: "Every time someone says 'BIM model' a fluffy kitten dies.' Being a big fan of dramatic statements as a vehicle to get a point across, I shared this theory during my presentation at the Washington, DC BIMForum and it seems to have gone viral. Check out the hashtag #fluffy_kittens.


The 'fluffy kitten' theory has even expanded beyond the borders of 'BIM model' into the realm of Levels of Development or LOD. Jim Bedrick now evokes the kitten theory when someone refers to an 'LOD### model.' This will be a full topic I'll discuss in a future post, but let's just say Jim gets equally upset with this as he does with 'BIM model!' Other folks such as Dan Russell from Sundt Construction prefer to apply a more positive spin to the kitten theory. Instead of 'killing kittens,' Dan says that every time someone says 'BIM model,' a coyote gets lunch!

Now, before you go out to the next BIM conference and start heckling the speaker by meowing every time he or she says...that phrase...let me explain a better solution to the problem. As an involved member of the National BIM Standard-US project committee, I have been a staunch supporter of the definition of standard terminology for industry BIM uses. Although BIM uses, workflows and information exchanges have been under specific development by buildingSMART international for quite some time, definitions were published in Penn State University's BIM Execution Planning Guidelines ( Without describing this effort in too much detail in this post, I encourage you to become familiar with these definitions.

Instead of abusing the redundant term 'BIM model,' perhaps we could start using some of the following terms:

  • Design Authoring model
  • Energy Analysis model
  • Existing Conditions model
  • 3D Coordination model:
    • Discipline Design Model
    • Aggregated Design Model
    • Trade Fabrication Model
    • Aggregated Fabrication Model

Of course, the industry is gradually starting to look at model servers to support collaboration and information exchange, so these ‘model’ terms may be short-lived. In the meantime, do the world a favor and help protect our fuzzy, little feline friends...don't say 'BIM model.'

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Performance-Based Design at NYCRUG

The next meeting of the New York City Revit Users Group will feature Matt Jezyk and Zach Kron from Autodesk. They will be speaking about advanced form finding techniques in Revit and Vasari that are connected to performance analysis work flows. If you’ve seen Zach’s blog at or his class at Autodesk University with William Lopez Campo, you’ll know you’re in for a treat!

When: Weds December 14 at 6:00 pm

Complete details can be found at, or you can register for the free webcast!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

BIM Content for Revit

This post contains a listing of known websites hosting content for Revit. We’ll try to keep this post updated as sites change or new ones are created. This information was partially compiled from Mario Guttman’s AU 2011 class “Revit Family Counseling” (visit Mario’s own site for custom Revit tools).

Manufacturer’s Content

Autodesk Seek – content aggregated by Autodesk; contains default Revit families as well as manufacturer-specific content, low to moderate quality control; content in a variety of formats, search can filter for specific formats; free, no registration required.

ARCAT – generic and manufacturer-specific content; modeled by ARCAT, high quality control; free, no registration required.

bimstore – manufacturer-specific content; modeled by bimstore, high quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.

SmartBIM – manufacturer-specific content; modeled by SmartBIM, high quality control; free, no registration required.

Sweets – manufacturer-specific content, modeled by manufacturers, quality control unknown; various formats, can’t filter by format type; free, registration required for download; much of the 3D content is in SketchUp format.

RevitComponents – manufacturer-specific and general content, mostly modeled by site author; quality control unknown; free, registration not required.

ArcXL – Revit and CAD details (2D); drafted by ArcXL, quality control unknown; free, registration required for download.

Content for Sale

Broutek – buy and download content; purchase content credit packs which range from $32 to $60 per credit; content custom made by request/payment.

PinnacleCAD – custom content creation for fee; samples available.

Yellowbryk – premade Revit content and custom content services.

RevitBay – premade Revit content.

FormFonts – subscription site with a variety of content and formats, can’t filter for specific formats

TurboSquid – variety of general content; high quality. (Hyperlink will direct to Revit content)

ArchVision RPC – wide variety of rendered entourage; high quality.

Community Content

RevitCity – downloadable user content, no quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.

RevitForum – downloadable user content, no quality control; free, registration required for downloading content.