I am used to work in cinema 4d. In cinema it is possible to make a copy of the import (with the din3d tag) and update that copy.
This is easy to use in large projects: I make an export of each house in the project. I materialize one house, make a copy of it and updat this copy with another model of house. Like this i have serperate housemodels with correct materials.
I am new to Max but is this also possible in Max? What is the workflow to do this?