Industry Foundation Classes

So, I’m sure most of us know by now what IFC are, if not, this post may be for you! I just wanted to make a small post to anyone who was still in the dark. IFC or Industry Foundation Classes are a data modeling standard which are complete and fully stable, open and international standards for exchanging BIM data. buildingSMART developed the idea and the certification process. 

In basic terms, this means that IFC can be used to exchange and share BIM data between applications developed by different software vendors without the software having to support numerous native formats. As an example, your .IFC model which you created in Revit, can be opened and edited in ArchiCAD by your Architect and the same applies for your structural engineer using Tekla. This interoperability further promotes and makes the process of collaboration easier between different parties on a building project.

“We say that our organisation – buildingSMART – is ‘the home of open BIM’. Every implementation of an IFC exchange should follow what is known as an ‘exchange requirement’. This requirement specifies the information that needs to be present in an exchange or sharing of data at a certain stage in a project. It is important to be specific about the information needed. The exchange requirement prevents woolliness and uncertainty.

How can designers and other software users be sure that the software in use is compliant with the open IFC standard and truly interoperable? At buildingSMART we run a certification scheme that tests software products to check that they meet the IFC standard and clarifies the scope of their interoperability. The scheme was revamped in 2010 to make it more stringent and indicates precisely what parts of the product work interoperably.”

This IFC certification 2.0 process – more information about this can be found here.

Importance to user, supported software and other specific enquiries can be found here.

There are also case studies which have been released by buildingSMART using their technology. These can be found here. 

As I have posted about on a previous blog, The NBS are creating a ‘national BIM library’. This is a library which can be used by everyone in the construction industry, with pre-made families and objects. All of these objects will be available in the IFC format. The NBS plan to have their library as “the primary source of standard and proprietary BIM objects.” With the upcoming release of the library at Ecobuild this month, I can imagine the use of IFC files and ceritifcation process becoming a standard practice in all AEC firms.

Please visit the buildingSMART website here for more information about Industry Foundation Classes

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About Ben Malone

Information Manager for BIM.Technologies in London

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