By Suzanne Painter-Supplee, LEED AP+ID&C, MHS, CFSP
At least 150 foodservice equipment manufacturers have made Revit content for their products available to commercial kitchen designers and design/build dealers since 2011. That’s also when Revit standards were developed by the FCSI/NAFEM Revit Task Force which were updated in December, 2015. The advantage of those standards is to provide uniformity in how content is created so that a design doesn’t look like a patchwork quilt.
Your Revit Library Today & What Is Involved in Upgrading
So if you’ve only distributed it and otherwise just sat on it, you are missing out. While it isn’t common for a manufacturer to be trained in Revit or even have a license, there is an advantage to having someone in your organization know how to use it. Below you will find ideas to get alterative use out of your library INSIDE your organization for sales and marketing, and they are all do-able in-house.
As pointed out in previous articles, all content created in 2011-12 needs to be upgraded, but the money paid out to do so in the first place drew a Botox-worthy scowl from Finance departments industry-wide.
While you won’t be starting from scratch, now is a good time to examine it by getting a third party to evaluate it, screenshot issues and provide a roadmap to get errors corrected, files upgraded including adjusting materials to coincide with the latest Revit standards for foodservice to make them uniform with other products likely to make it into a project, and investigate making content render-ready. If you will use content for sales/marketing, what elements can you add that are specific to your brand/models? Is there something special about your control panel that makes it identifiable? What choices can you add for in-family configuration? You also want to make sure utilities schedule COMPLETELY and correctly.
So while you may have ORIGINALLY spent anywhere from $50-$200 for EACH family, you won’t be charged that today, particularly if existing geometry can be reused.. Besides, aren’t their new products to introduce with NAFEM just 6 months away?
Here’s what you can do to make that library ‘multi-task’ enough to justify the cost of upgrading it beyond making it easier for your CUSTOMERS to use.
Virtual Walk Through of Your NAFEM/Trade Show Booth
NAFEM is 3 days and there are 500 manufacturers. Even if attending all three days, your customers can realistically spend meaningful time with fewer than 75. How do YOU, as a manufacturer, ensure that you are among those getting a visit? The answer: a virtual walk-through of your booth, made in Revit and accessible to designers before the event, to make your booth and products a “must see”. Product details for download can also be included. Putting your products into a Revit project, showing how they schedule in projects also proves the worth of your library and why you should be specified. Tell the story, sell your product, while at the same time providing access to your newer products to those who could not attend the show.
Alternative Configurations for your Product, Even Market Segment-Specific
Every day, reps come across customers who want your product configured very specifically and wants to see it. If you don’t have any installed nearby or anywhere, a Revit drawing configured properly can save the sale. Example: a flight-type dishwasher with a longer load end or prewash. A serving or chef’s counter, even storage shelving. Why not create a starting point that can be modified?
Custom spec sheets can be made for use when the project goes out for bid making it easier for consultants and owners to hold specs. Those sheets can be set up in advance so when you need them, it is a matter of dragging and dropping what you want in them.
Prior Approval Requests for Bid Jobs/Holding your own Specs
Most consultants & architects have a procedure for approving alternates. What better and faster way than to put specified, including “pick 3” and your products into a project side by side, schedule them, dimension them, prove that they will or won’t work with surrounding products. Then, using a third party add-in, print off the spec sheets which will automatically be pulled, and numbered for you. Not only is it a spot check to make sure your products will work in the job, have comparable utilities, rather than pour over spec sheets, it makes it easy for a consultant to review because the essentials are right in front of him. Just doing the exercise yourself can keep you from submitting your products when they won’t work. Many consultants cannot charge to review alternates so the faster you can make the process for them, the better.
Also helpful, put the ‘pick 3’s’ side by side. Dealers need to understand that often, pre-approved products are by brand and they are still expected to meet/exceed the written specs.
Competitive Comparisons and Choices
Most reps want them if for no other reason than to learn, but often, an end user will expect to know differences among products and brands. What a better way to start is via a Revit drawing showing these products side by side. You can even show the SAME product but configured in a number of ways. Before/after scenarios are also easily done using Revit.
Update, Enhance Existing Content
• Older content might not schedule or may not have been constructed properly. Revit is also case & space-sensitive. As a result, duplicate elements can show up.
• You’ve added/discontinued or changed products.
• FCSI/NAFEM Revit Task Force has designed a material library & you need to incorporate it.
• Older content can “break” in newer versions of Revit. (This happens when Revit attempts to upgrade the Revit file, and that file was built using criteria not contained in later versions.) When content breaks, it cannot enter the project, so a designer has to drop everything and call the rep or factory.
• New foodservice-friendly features including a universal materials library and the ability to “cut with void” which means a drop-in or control panel will ‘cut’ the counter as it enters the project.
• Add missing information. Commonly missing: refrigerant charge, filtered water parameters/temperatures, drain water discharge temperatures, clearances.
• Add color and material CHOICES.
• Check out Steven Shell’s AU presentation for more tips on using GREAT content! http://blog.bradleycorp.com/bradleybim//2013/08/28/5-revit-presentation-tips-steven-shell-architect-csrw-class/
Next Up: Preventing Design/Installation Disasters; Using Revit content for sales/marketing tools; The ‘Art’ of the Competitive Comparison