Little Uses Kinship to Work Smarter and Faster in Revit
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting (or Little, for short) is a transdisciplinary design firm with six offices across the US. The firm has approximately 250 Revit users, with over 200 using it daily as part of their roles.
Identifying the need
Prior to Kinship, Little had Revit content spread across different templates, container files and shared network drives. It was challenging for people to find the Revit families they needed and check family details before loading them into models. It was also time-consuming to detect corrupt families, investigate crashes and keep the Revit environment running smoothly.
When the leadership team became aware of these challenges, the firm hired its first dedicated BIM Manager. Claude Ourada, who joined Little as BIM Manager in 2020, recognized the opportunities that a dedicated Revit content management and analytics tool would offer the company. Having heard about Kinship when working at a previous firm, he set up a small trial to compare it with three other solutions. After deciding that Kinship would be the best fit, the company progressed to a pilot period before rolling Kinship out company-wide in February 2021.
The right content at the right time
Kinship's content search within Revit makes it easy to quickly find and load content with minimal disruption to people’s usual design workflows. This has enabled Little to streamline Revit templates by reducing the amount of content that’s needed in them. “Kinship helps us manage all of our content with one interface that makes different types of content quick to find and use,” comments Claude Ourada, BIM Manager at Little. Compared to previous ways of working, the speed of Kinship saves the team a significant amount of time in finding what they need as they work in Revit. The benefits of this are felt throughout the business with Kinship freeing up more time for Revit users to focus on other higher-value tasks.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of projects were put on pause. Little took advantage of additional staff capacity to get help with expanding its library to cover more of the company’s needs. Kinship made it easy for staff to submit their suggested content in a central location where the BIM Manager could easily review, update and approve it for wider use across the firm.
“Once we decided on Kinship, we didn't really need to worry anymore about the technology. We just had to worry about the content,” says Dan Knowles, Chief Technology Officer at Little.
With team members across the US working together on a variety of projects, Little makes use of Kinship’s Lists and Collections features to organize content for distinct purposes. The company uses Lists to group its library content for specific studios, as well as for some other internal categories. It uses Collections for client and manufacturer content. This helps people moving between projects quickly get access to the specific content that they need.
“Kinship is fresh, intuitive and easy to use.”
Claude Ourada, BIM Manager at Little
Built-in analytics keep projects and Revit running smoothly
Kinship’s analytics features help Little’s administrators assess Revit performance, investigate crashes and monitor family and model health. “Unlike the other tools we looked at, Kinship combines both content management and analytics, all in one fixed price,” says Ourada.
When it comes to Revit crashes in particular, Kinship’s family health checks and Revit journal reports make the source of issues much easier to identify, investigate and resolve, helping to keep the team’s Revit environment running smoothly. "There's been two or three occasions where I've dealt with crashes and seen in Kinship, hey, this family's corrupt. Let's get rid of it right now,” says Ourada.
“Crashing issues start with looking at the health of families, and with Kinship that data is readily available.”
Claude Ourada, BIM Manager
And while Revit journal files are usually a nightmare to track down and read, Kinship’s enhanced journal reporting makes it easy to access them after a crash, narrow down what was going on and identify potential errors. “When Kinship takes a snapshot of the journal file, it's highlighting key things in different colors to represent this is a file, this is an error, etc., which has helped a lot,” explains Ourada.
Project analytics make it easy for Little to see model history to establish what has been changed, when and by whom. This has proven useful when team members have opened a Revit model to discover that content they had previously placed was unexpectedly or mistakenly modified or removed. Kinship provides a quick and easy way for Little to investigate and resolve situations
Kinship also shows which Revit versions team members are using and which models are in which versions. When Little upgraded its Revit version to 2022, admins could see a graph in Kinship to monitor how many projects and models were using the new version and ensure adoption was progressing as expected.
SQL for custom analytics
Little uses Kinship’s SQL data access to visualize data through custom analytics in Microsoft Power BI, primarily to check Kinship and Revit usage over time. “It is useful to be able to see statistics on usage so we can check how Revit and Kinship are being used,” comments Knowles. The firm uses these statistics to demonstrate the value of its tools to management, to learn from top users and to identify users who may need training or assistance.
The SQL data in Power BI also provides an easy way to see where Revit families come from and how they are used. "One of the things we're starting to look at with Power BI is where families are sourced," says Knowles. "If they're still being sourced from places other than our library, we want to know why”. This data helps the BIM and technology leadership team arrange training and implement best practices across the firm.
Kinship has become a critical tool
“Working with the Kinship team has been great. They make every effort to ensure we get the most out of the product and offer prompt support. They engage us in discussions on new features and the direction of the product, always willing to listen to new ideas,” says Ourada.
“I've worked with a lot of vendors in my 35 years in the industry, and it’s very rare that you get a vendor that feels like a true partnership.”
Claude Ourada, BIM Manager
Little now offers dedicated training to new team members specifically on how to use Kinship. “Kinship is definitely a part of our onboarding process,” says Ourada. “So, when a new Revit user starts, I set up an hour of training with them and the majority of that time is spent talking about Kinship. It’s a critical tool our new users need.”
Little is a national design firm recognized for crafting exceptional solutions that elevate client performance in the community, retail, workplace and healthcare industries. With nearly 400 professionals across the U.S., the firm combines expertise in traditional architectural services (architecture, engineering, interior architecture) with proficiency in additional architectural consulting services (planning, sustainability, site design, brand consulting, digital visualization and smart building technologies). For more information, visit www.littleonline.com.