How an FF&E Consultancy increased their efficiency by 300% with a custom database linked directly to BIM
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked what a product looks like in a client meeting. I no longer have to go searching for a catalog; now I simply use Layer to click on it in the model to see its photos and specs instantly.”Louise Cupac, Founding Principal
London-based Plus Parts is a full-service FF&E Consultancy that helps school districts and commercial building owners audit and create FF&E programs that are holistic, organized, and cost-effective. The firm, led by expert Louise Cupac, conducts numerous existing building surveys and assists clients with the detailed selection of products and systems.
The Challenge: Finding the Right Tool
Because the Plus Parts team is tasked with researching and specifying numerous FF&E options for every project, they needed an efficient way to capture and coordinate copious amounts of detailed data accurately.
Cupac had developed an Excel file as their database, but found that using the information and sharing it with her team was difficult.
In addition, the firm’s process for conducting legacy surveys—documenting a facilities existing furniture—was a time consuming endeavor which involved walking around with a clipboard, taking photographs, and entering the information into a spreadsheet. Furthermore, none of the data was easy to access after it was captured and the process of generating reports with the data was challenging and time consuming.
The Solution: A Flexible Database linked to BIM
“I spent lots of sleepless nights trolling the Internet, looking for a software solution and that’s how I found Layer,” recalls Cupac. “Once I saw what Layer could do, I couldn’t go back to the clunky, old Excel spreadsheet.”
Working with the Layer team, Plus Parts was able to create an extensive, customized database with one source of truth where project schedules, catalogs, and drawings were fully coordinated in one dashboard.
Cupac and her team used Layer’s flexible form fields to capture a wide variety of data types for each product, like its product photo, description, specification, price, and FF&E category.
They were then able to use Layer’s Revit add-in to link a Revit model and import each product’s Revit ID and where the product existed in the model. And because some of the team was not proficient in Revit, Layer’s Revit Model Viewer made it easy to view the model and its linked data right in Layer without needing to open Revit.
Another example of Layer’s unique functionality is that Cupac and her team could easily filter out the existing legacy furniture in a building and annotate it if it needed to be moved, required repair, or perhaps new upholstery to match new furniture.
“I can sort and filter specific items and see them both in list form and on the model to easily locate where everything is,” she relates. “Being able to track an item in many different views is a huge time saver.”
Cupac also loves the fact that she can easily pull up a picture of an item in a room to show to her client. “This is an absolute lifesaver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked what a product looks like in a client meeting. I no longer have to go searching for a catalog; now I simply use Layer to click on it in the model to see its photos and specs instantly.”
Custom report templates are also a differentiating feature of Layer. “I was absolutely over the moon that Layer took the time to develop this feature and create a template for me,” says Cupac.
While there are plenty of companies in the U.K. providing FF&E services, Plus Parts strives to provide its clients with a soft landing—handing over a project in a seamless and hassle-free manner. To achieve this, Cupac asserts it wouldn’t have been possible without Layer.
More efficient in managing & completing projects
More capacity to take on new projects
Access to BIM data for team members who don’t know BIM
About Plus Parts Ltd.
London-based Plus Parts is a full-service FF&E Consultancy that helps school districts and commercial building owners audit and create FF&E programs that are holistic, organized, and cost-effective.
→ Organized storage of FF&E specs with photos, data, pricing, and cut sheets
→ Accurate capture of existing FF&E conditions
→ Easy-to-access data, even for team members who don’t use BIM