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The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

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IFC is it going to be our saviour?

  • 1.  IFC is it going to be our saviour?

    Posted 11-14-2017 18:34
    For those who are working with BIM

    I am mildly familiar with IFC and how it works and in principle, it has merit as working with a 3D model instead of a 3D DWG with little to no intelligence is frustrating, especially when the engineer or outsourced designers are using different software to what I work in natively.
    Industry Foundation Class (IFC)
    I have a few questions
    1. how many have tried it?
    2. Did anyone get a positive experience?
    3. what could be better?

    I personally find it okay if you simply share a small portion of a model yet sharing even a moderate size project can be time-consuming even just to open the file.  I figured it must have been the software I was using so I tried Archicad, Revit and Sketchup and still all I had a was a laggy and a similar result.  Is anyone else getting a similar result?

    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia
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  • 2.  RE: IFC is it going to be our saviour?

    Posted 11-20-2017 13:18
    Savior is probably a bit optimistic at this point, but if more people use IFC (OpenBIM) and contribute to it's development it could be very useful.  We have not done a collaborative project using IFC but we have shared some models for testing purposes, with reasonably good results.  We use Vectorworks Architect which is built around IFC.  We have used BIM components of Vectorworks for years, and have started incorporating 3d building models into our projects, but have not had a need or have been required to share those models with outside consultants, but I don't think it will be far off.

    I don't know of anything else out there that is close to IFC as a BIM standard. Sharing a complex 3d model with lots of embedded data and graphic attributes is a hugely complex undertaking.  If you invest the time into developing an IFC workflow, I think it could work, at least for colaborating with engineering consultants.

    Vectorworks may be worth a look for you and I think it is well supported in Australia.  Search for Vectorworks IFC on YouTube to check out it's IFC functionality or check out this case study:  Arboleda Open BIM Project | Vectorworks
    Vectorworks remove preview
    Arboleda Open BIM Project | Vectorworks
    Vectorworks, Inc. 2D 3D CAD BIM software for Mac or Windows allows designers to transform the world. Project sharing makes it easy. Download or try today.
    View this on Vectorworks >

    Your post prompted me to relook at the current state of BIM interoperability.  IFC (OpenBIM) is the open standard.  I didn't find anything else competing with it.  Even Autodesk appears to be promoting it.  I guess they determined they could not dominate the world BIM market like they have in CAD.

    David Labarbera AIA
    Angelle Architects LLC
    Lafayette LA

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  • 3.  RE: IFC is it going to be our saviour?

    Posted 11-21-2017 18:04
    IFC is a very powerful file format and I regularly use it to communicate between design teams, and internally to translate information between various applications.  Personally I have watched it come into being over many years and have used it since it was first available.

    The files can become hard to manage depending on the scale of your project and in some applications become dysfunctional if the files are too large and CPU and RAM isn't up to the task.

    There are a few good techniques for best practices that help when converting files to IFC to be explored by various team members:
    1. Solibri IFC optimizer is very helpful for both reduction and optimzation of the file size as well as fixing problems with the IFC model: Solibri IFC Optimizer - Solibri
    Solibri remove preview
    Solibri IFC Optimizer - Solibri
    Download Solibri IFC Optimzer to speed up IFC file handling. This simple software allows you to reduce large IFC file sizes for viewing or distributing. Files open faster and easier. Want to do more with your IFC files? Download Solibri IFC Optimizer Welcome to Solibri. This site uses cookies.
    View this on Solibri >

    2.  Archicad Connection Add-On for Revit is a great tool for importing and exporting IFC's from Revit whether or not you are going to Archicad.  You can translate out of Revit and go to anything that imports IFC files and vice versa.  Interoperability
    Graphisoft remove preview
    ARCHICAD Connection Add-In for Autodesk Revit applications About “Improved IFC Import” imports IFC models to Revit using extra features that improve the interpretation of architectural models “Export to ARCHICAD” exports Revit model elements
    View this on Graphisoft >

    On my projects I request IFC files from my design and fabrication teams as a means of setting up a level bi-directional file format.  This helps anyone who wants to view information from any discipline without having proprietary viewing technology to see it.  For example

    Teklabimsight remove preview
    Combine models, check for clashes and share information using the same easy-to-use BIM environment - for free.
    View this on Teklabimsight >

     or their native authoring software.

    Willard Williams AIA NCARB
    VDC Coordinator
    Hoffman Construction
    Seattle WA

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  • 4.  RE: IFC is it going to be our saviour?

    Posted 11-27-2017 13:06
    Thanks for your input, I will take a look at the links you sent. I noticed that the new  Sketchup 18 Pro also has improved IFC. I will take a look at all of your suggestions and report my findings, and I look forward to the day where we can all communicate seamlessly, regardless of the software we choose.

    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia

    Submit for Innovation Awards