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IFC And BIM Explained


Studio Victoria

2 minutes

Data management and workflow is a crucial aspect to all industries. In this article we will be learning about IFC and how it relates to BIM by firstly explaining what BIM is and then answering the following questions: What is the IFC? and What is the IFC's connection with BIM? Keep reading to learn all about IFC and BIM to help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!


In a previous article we have already gone into great detail about Building Information Modelling (BIM) and what it is. To briefly explain, BIM is defined as a process of planning, design, implementation and maintenance of a building that uses the information model of a building containing all the information regarding its entire lifecycle. In April 2016, BIM Level 2 was made mandatory in various countries including the UK for government construction projects. The UK BIM Framework provide valuable information on BIM standards and requirements in the United Kingdom to help support you in implementing BIM.


The IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is a data format that allows inter-exchange of an information model without the loss of data or distortion. The data format is used to describe, exchange and share information. It was developed by buildingSMART to aid interoperability in the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry and to be used with BIM based projects.


Since 2013 the IFC has been registered as the official International Standard ISO16739 for Building Information Modelling used for sharing and exchanging construction and facility management data across different software applications.

The IFC supports the exchange of data between different software applications and BIM, providing guidelines to determine what information is being exchanged between applications supporting the maintaining and management of data.

Having the IFC standard improves data management resulting in reduced errors, consistent data, reducing costs and improves collaboration as it helps multiple people working on a project with different formats be able to transfer and exchange data accurately and quicker. For instance, a virtual building model could be created in Autodesk Revit and then sent over to an architecture who uses Archicad, and a technician who uses Tekla. This can become a problem if other people's applications can not read the software and therefore using a common extension, IFC, can solve this problem.

BuildingSMART provides a list of certified IFC applications which you can check out here. With this list you can check if the software used by people in your projects supports an openBIM flow and if the flow itself is compatible with this process.

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