In Revit, shared parameters are unique – each shared parameter has its own Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) assigned at time of creation. This means that just like a person, parameters can have the same name but never the same identity. A shared parameter’s GUID is like its fingerprint and if this fingerprint doesn’t match, Revit will classify the data within this parameter as a separate data set even though the parameters may have the same name.
To solve this problem when sharing models among multiple firms, the data within a model must be mapped to each recipients' shared parameters in order for the data to be usable. It is as if organizations, even those sharing data on single project, are not speaking the same language.
Today’s workflow creates unnecessary labor.
In a project that consists of multiple design teams and trade partners (which is literally every project in today’s industry), sharing Revit models between teams requires extraneous work in order to map to each other’s shared parameters. Several tools exist to aid in this mapping process, but these add-ins often require a costly investment which includes time and money being spent on training staff and software licenses. Even large international firms have adopted processes as a band-aid fix to bridge the gaps of the data within received models. The result? Duplicate, disconnected data sets that are incompatible with one another. This is not a solution to the problem.
The use of “unshared parameters” has been widely accepted amongst the industry, but at what cost?
The graphic below illustrates the flow of information through the use of "unshared parameters" ultimately resulting in a divided data set.
Although disruptive, the solution is simple.
We need a standardized set of shared parameters that the entire building industry manages as a community and has adopted as a standard.
In a perfect world where all Revit models use the same shared parameters, a project will contain a single unified data set in which the architects, engineers, and building owners can access the information easily.
We must collaborate.
Most organizations will resist the adoption of a set of parameters that they did not create themselves and therefore have no control over.
In order for this set of shared parameters to be adopted, we must encourage all facets of the building industry to collaborate. Architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners must work together and agree on the standard shared parameters as a community. For this type of collaboration to be successful, we need a platform that:
- Allows anyone to add, remove, and modify the shared parameter definitions as needed
- Facilitates discussions to support the community which is managing the shared parameters
- Maintains control by requiring permissions which allow for moderators to approve and reject proposed parameters
Consider OpenRFA as an “open source” shared parameters file.
In layman’s terms, open source software supports the development of an application in which the source code is free for anyone to view, modify, and enhance. Revit shared parameters should function like open source software to allow for collaboration. By allowing these parameters to be managed by a community of contributors, we open up the possibility of mass adoption.
The image below illustrates how information should be passed through a single set of shared parameters for a unified data set.
What’s in it for me?
Once a set of standardized parameters are implemented, benefits include:
- Instant, simplified access to data in Revit models from any source.
- Individual organizations will no longer need to manage their own shared parameter file.
- The need to convert or map parameters in models from third parties would vanish.
- When exchanging models amongst any given project team, the ability to interact with the entire team’s data will be seamless.
- A building owner would easily gather valuable data to and from third party applications used for operations, maintenance, and future work.
The first step to adopting the OpenRFA parameters to download and implement the shared parameters file. Download the OpenRFA master shared parameters file and start building your BIM standards around these definitions. This will instantly create compatibility with all others who have adopted the parameters.
For those who have a fully built content library and full set of standards, OpenRFA is developing a tool which will convert your current Revit families, schedules, and projects to the OpenRFA shared parameters. Contact us if you would like assistance converting your old shared parameters to the OpenRFA shared parameters.
If you are interested in contributing to the shared parameters, register as a contributor and start proposing suggestions immediately. As a community, all changes to the shared parameters are reviewed by other experts in the industry; whether a moderator or a contributor, your peers will decide which parameters are approved.
If you're interested in becoming an OpenRFA moderator, contact us.