If you can’t find free Revit content you aren’t looking for it. OK – that was overstated. If you can’t find Revit families you aren’t looking hard enough. If you try an easy web search, you may find nothing. For example, if you do a simple search for “free revit content” the magic of Google returns three blogs, a collaboration service and a namespace sitter – and zero websites with Revit families.
You know there are hundreds of sources for Revit families. So why can’t You find them? It is because they are hidden another level down in the search world. They are hidden in sub-categories of suppliers. These sub-categories are (1) Community Exchanges; (2) Commercial Consolidators; (3) Content Stores; (4) Content Builders and (5) Manufacturers. Well, what ARE these sub-categories? What have they got? How do they work? Read on….
Community Exchanges are places where Revit users help each other by sharing content. You can go to a Community Exchange website and download any family they have for free. You might have to register to get access. This only works because there are some generous people out there who make families and upload them to the site. Probably the best known Community Exchange for Revit content is Revit City. But it isn’t the only one. There are seven other exchanges for Revit families. We’ll get into who they are later. Of course, if you are going to use content from a Community Exchange, you need to recognize that the content was built by a variety of individuals with varying skills and experience. The families you download may be good, bad or horrible. Take a look before you load them into your project.
Commercial Consolidators are businesses that host Revit families from a number of building component manufacturers. You’ve probably heard of the “Big Two” Commercial Consolidators – ARCAT and Autodesk SEEK. What you probably don’t know is that there are 22 other companies with websites that work in the same way. The business model for Commercial Consolidators requires that the manufacturer pay for content development and for content hosting. According to some manufacturers I’ve talked to, it is not cheap. So not every manufacturer chooses to be hosted by a Commercial Consolidator. On the other side, some manufacturers push consolidators to make very representational families. They want you to recognize the unique configuration and look. This pressure may result in some beautiful, extremely detailed, but unusable Revit families. Again, you will need to evaluate the families before loading them into a project.
Content Stores are companies that create libraries of families for sale to Revit users. You may have heard of FormFonts or Little Details Count. There are more than a dozen other Content Stores and some of them offer free samples. These firms are usually started by Revit geeks like you. The quality is often excellent.
Content Builders are firms that are in the business of creating content for others. They build Revit families for Engineering or Architecture firms and for building component manufacturers. Some sub-contract for Commercial Consolidators. Some also have a Content Store. If you are thinking of going into this business, you need to know that you will have competition. There are more than 25 Content Builders now. Most of them you have never heard of. For example, the best known firms of this type include Andekan and SumexDesign.
In our case, “Manufacturer” refers to a building product manufacturer. There are over 1,200 manufacturers that provide free Revit families of their products. While many manufacturers are listed on “Commercial Consolidator” websites, fully a third host their content only on their own website. Some manufacturers have told us that to host on one of the major commercial consolidators “just costs too much.” Going forward, we will point the way to these manufacturers.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM
With all these sources of Revit families – and most of it free, what is the problem? Well, if you have been counting there are at least 400 places for you to look to find a family to fit your needs. Any of you who have tried a comprehensive search know that searching in this way can take hours. And once you’ve located a few families, you still have to figure out if they are good. There has to be a better way. Now there is a better way, BlueBryk.