BIM Family Planning


By Phil Sawyer

ADP’s partnership with ICON is helping us to develop a central library of Revit families, which will greatly improve our Building Information Modelling (BIM) user experience – it’s a marriage made in heaven.

With seven studio locations in the UK and one in India, maintaining consistent BIM libraries across the practice has become increasingly challenging.   Each annual release of our BIM software AutoDesk Revit needs a new compliant library of objects, which adds to the risk of accidentally upgrading an object or not having a current object at hand.

We worked with ICON, a software company developing library and asset tools for the retail industry, to create a solution for design consultants working on multi-disciplinary construction projects.

With ICON’s Revit integration solution in place, we benefit from one central, web-based location for all our families - a pre-defined set of components that make up objects within Revit such as walls, doors, or furniture - ensuring no duplication or conflict of information.

The ICON BIM Family Library has a number of search options allowing us to quickly get to the information needed, saving time and increasing our efficiency. We can now quickly and easily drag and drop families directly from the web-based library into a Revit project; removing the need  to download families into a local folder before placing them into the software. The library has full version control and automatically sends out change notifications to all registered users. All Revit users are now kept up-to-date with approved families.

If a project is activated after being placed on hold, and the Revit family standards have changed during this time, the ICON tools highlight any out-of date families in the model. Simply dragging and dropping the current version into the project automatically updates all components of that family. 

More and more contractors are asking us to fully comply with BS1192:2007 and to have our Revit family libraries named in accordance with this standard. The ICON BIM Family Library will make this process much easier; the changes are instant and available to all users.

It is also a great development tool. For example, if a team wants to develop specialist equipment for a particular project, they can create a draft Revit family, upload it to the ICON BIM Family Library and share it across the practice. The team can add comments to the tool and fine tune the object whilst it is being held within ICON as an ‘innovation’ object. Once it is approved we can release it for general use by simply modifying its status to ‘Current’. 

Partnering with ICON is helping us greatly on our continuing BIM journey 


Phil Sawyer

Phil Sawyer

Phil joined ADP in 2008 and is the practice’s IT Director. He is
responsible for ADP’s strategic IT planning and reporting across our
seven studios.