How to Standardize Your BIM Object Creation Using « Object Templates »

In the world of construction and Building Information Modeling, efficiency and standardization are key factors in successful project delivery. Architects, engineers, BIM managers, coordinators, and modelers are constantly striving to streamline their workflows and improve productivity. 

One area where significant gains can be made is in the creation of BIM objects. This is where the concept of “object templates” comes into play. Object templates serve as pre-defined starting points for the creation of BIM objects, providing a standardized and efficient approach. 

In this article, we will explore the benefits and implementation of object templates, specifically targeted at construction professionals who create BIM objects.

What is a BIM “object template”?

An “object template” is a pre-defined Onfly BIM object that serves as a starting point for our final object. In this template you can pre-define:

  • Data structure: All the requested properties for the object.
  • Variants: All the object’s references (types in Revit).
  • Data values: All the properties values for each variant.
  • Basic geometry (optional): A basic geometric could be stored to help content creators to start the creation of the object (object frame). If the RFA model file is added, the name of the RFA could also be defined.

In Onfly, an internal BIM library by BIM&CO, you can define as many templates as you need.

Use of an “Object template” in Onfly

What is the Point of Using Object Templates?

The primary objective of using object templates is to ensure consistency and standardization in the creation of BIM objects. 

By defining a set of pre-determined data structures, variants, and data values, object templates offer a framework that can be easily replicated for similar objects. This consistency not only saves time but also reduces errors and improves collaboration among team members.

Object templates act as a guide for content creators, allowing them to focus on generating the necessary geometry rather than starting from scratch each time. This enables them to work more efficiently and ensures that the final objects align with the established standards and requirements.

For Whom Are Object Templates?

Object templates are specifically designed for construction professionals who are involved in the design and creation of BIM objects. This includes architects, engineers, BIM managers, BIM modelers, as well as BIM coordinators. 

These individuals play a crucial role in the BIM process and can benefit greatly from the use of object templates.

How to Create an Object Template?

Creating an object template is a straightforward process and normally should be done by an administrator. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Click on the icon “New…” to generate a new Family file. Then select the most appropriate template according to your modelling criteria. For example, if you’re creating a furniture template, you can choose from options like “Metric Furniture.rft” or “Metric Generic Model wall based.rft.”

“New…” icon to generate a Family file

  1. Define the data structure: Specify all the required properties for the object. You can use “Add properties” or “Add sets” within the Onfly plugin. This step is optional, the data structure could also be defined in Onfly after uploading the object template.
  2. Add basic geometry: If necessary, include a basic geometric representation to aid content creators in starting the creation of the object. This can be stored within the template or referenced from an external RFA model file.
  3. Upload the object template: Once the template is complete, upload it to the chosen platform or software. This will make it accessible for content creators to generate new objects based on the template.

Generating New Objects from an Object Template

The workflow for generating new objects from an object template involves two main steps: one carried out by the administrator and the other by the content creator.

Administrator’s Role

  1. Create the object template: The administrator generates the object templates according to the defined standards. For example, they can create a furniture template that applies to all objects of this type.

Content Creator’s Role

  1. Download the object template: The content creator downloads the object template into the BIM software, using the appropriate plug-in or tool.
  2. Model the geometry and types: Using the object template as a starting point, the content creator model the necessary geometry and specifies the required types or variants.
  3. Upload the new object: Once the object is generated, the content creator can upload it to the designated platform or software as a new object. This action creates a standardized object based on the template, ready for use in the project.

In the workflow below, the administrator creates the template and the content creator downloads it, generates a new object from it and uploads it to Onfly as a new object.

Implementing Object Templates: The ROI

The return on investment (ROI) for implementing object templates can be substantial. 

The use of object templates offers several benefits to both administrators and content creators. Administrators play a vital role in ensuring that the creation of new objects aligns with established standards, thus improving consistency and enhancing overall project quality

On the other hand, content creators benefit from significant time savings as they begin their work with a preexisting template. 

Let’s delve into some of these key advantages offered by object templates :

  1. Standardization: Object templates ensure that all objects within a project adhere to predefined standards. This improves consistency and reduces rework, resulting in time and cost savings.
  2. Efficiency: By starting with a pre-defined template, content creators can quickly generate objects without having to recreate basic data structures and variants. This boosts productivity and allows team members to focus on more complex aspects of the project.
  3. Collaboration: Object templates facilitate collaboration among team members by providing a common framework. Everyone involved in the project can work from the same set of standards, enhancing coordination and reducing conflicts.
  4. Quality Control: Object templates act as a quality control mechanism by enforcing standardized properties and values. This helps to ensure that objects meet project requirements and conform to industry standards.
  5. Saving time: Content creators save valuable time by starting their work with a predefined template. They can focus on generating the geometry and adding specific details, rather than starting from scratch.

What to keep in mind 

Object templates provide construction professionals with a powerful tool to standardize and streamline the creation of BIM objects. By leveraging predefined data structures, variants, and values, these templates offer consistency, efficiency, and quality control throughout the project lifecycle. 

With the ability to customize templates and generate new objects from them, construction professionals can enhance collaboration and productivity, ultimately leading to improved project outcomes. 

Embracing object templates within the BIM workflow is a step toward achieving greater efficiency and standardization in the construction industry.

Would you like to standardise your object creation and test out object templates ? Try Onfly for free now and see how much you’ll boost the efficiency of your projects !

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