Are our families better than free ones?

Michael Loistl /

I regularly receive enquiry emails, asking for specific functionality, visual representation, etc. before someone would make a decision to purchase our families. However, yesterday I received an email that somehow stood out to me as it reminded me why I started Revit-Content in the first place, and thought it might be helpful for others in a similar situation to share the question and my answer publicly on our blog.

Here the content of the email received...

Our small office is starting up on Revit; Autocad will still be used.

Could you explain why & how your families are better than the hundreds that are available for free?

Are your architects US-based and the libraries are catered to US product types and typical dimensions? This may not be a relevant question, but I am asking as a novice.

To better understand what we do and why, I want to start with a short story about my own journey...

I was growing up in the building industry biased to become an architect. I worked in all areas from technician to super vision and project management for more than 20 years, but was always more passionate about everything involving computers rather than architecture itself.

It started in college when my class was the first to use AutoCAD for their graduation and continued with the development of various AutoLISP programs to generate doors and windows for small to large scale AutoCAD projects in the years to come. I used AutoCAD from the early days in school, assisted our teacher(s) in CAD classes and taught my own classes after school to architects and engineers in adult education programs.

For the first 20 years I was working in an architectural practice with up to 30 staff, using AutoCAD with all those AutoLISP components that I developed early on.

That all changed when I moved to the UK in 2008, where I started all over again. This time I was on my own, which required me to rethink my strategy of getting work done, and as a result I switched from AutoCAD to Revit, which helped me to get more output with less resources.

Once I got the hang of Revit, I was however facing other challenges that slowed me down like constant search for families, inconsistent visual representation or the fact that I just couldn't find exactly what I needed.

I had to focus my limited time to getting work done rather than constantly searching and most of the time just ending up with some compromises.

That lead me to the creation of my own families which started out simple but grew over time into a selection of highly parametric and therefor versatile families which I could use no matter what project or requirements came up.

When reading through forums, tutorials, etc. I read lots of stories on how other Revit users would struggle with essentially the exactly same challenges, which lead me to Revit-Content, a website dedicated to professional & versatile Revit families backed with personal support.

... and now with some context, back to the actual answer to the received question...

Could you explain why & how your families are better than the hundreds that are available for free?

There are literally thousands of free and paid Revit families available across the internet and if our families are better for you depends very much on your requirements. They are definitely better for what we created them for, like being versatile, visually consistent, localizable, and well supported.

Modeling any project requires a number of different types of doors, windows, etc., and in my opinion you either create your own families or you need to have families at hand that are versatile enough to have your requirements covered with someone at the other end to help you out and improve the families to work better with your requirements.

It's a balance between simplicity like most families you find online that are doing one setup with some flexibility in size, requiring you to find different families for different setups, and complexity like most of our families that are more parametric and therefore covering more setups with one and the same family.

Our All-in-One families are definitely too complex in certain areas, which is great for certain use cases like surveyors that deal with existing buildings and a large number of our customers falls into that category.

However I understand that we can achieve a better balance between simplicity and complexity which is why we are working on our new Family Collections that keep the flexibility (with a more modular approach) and provide a much reduced complexity. All purchases since beginning of 2018 receive those new Family Collections for the same family category as free upgrade.
I covered that topic in this post including some case studies.

We put serious work into the creation and the support of our Revit families, but at the end of the day they might not be right for you which is absolutely ok, and we are always happy to fully refund a purchase if we can't offer a solution, and the families aren't helping you.

Are your architects US-based and the libraries are catered to US product types and typical dimensions? This may not be a relevant question, but I am asking as a novice.

We are based in the UK, however our most customers are based in the US followed by Australia, the UK and the rest of the world.

As our families are versatile and somehow generic in that sense, you can setup any local, country and manufacturer specific types and we provide a metric and imperial version for each family. We also provide various features to address localization of symbol lines, annotation or functionality based on the feedback we receive from our customers.

I hope that this answers are helpful to you and if you have any more questions on how we and our families can help you, contact me at