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How do I create an IFC file?

How do I create an IFC file?

Here’s how to create an IFC file quickly and easily with a 3D/BIM building design software

If you’re working in BIM, you’ve probably ended up needing to create an IFC file to exchange with other project stakeholders. Want to find out more about how to create a correct IFC file?

In this technical insight, we’ll be answering this very common question by showing you the complete workflow using a 3D building design software.

How to create an IFC file with a BIM software

To create an IFC file, you’ll need to start off by creating the 3D model of your project with a BIM authoring software such as Edificius and then export it as an IFC file format using the software’s specific model export tools.

Let’s see the process in detail.

First of all, you’ll need to get hold of the BIM authoring software so, you can start off by downloading the Edificius free trial here.

Then create the IFC file in these 5 simple steps:

  • generate the 3D model with the BIM authoring software
  • choose the File option from the menu toolbar
  • click on Export>IFC format
  • define the relevant export settings
  • click OK to export the IFC file.

Likewise, you can follow the same procedure when needing to export an IFC file with a:

You’re now ready to collaborate with your team members and transfer model geometries and project information.

The generated file can be opened with any BIM authoring software but you can also view it online and verify all object properties using a simple IFC Viewer online, anywhere and using any sort of browser enabled device (such as a pc, tablet or smartphone).

Needless to say, to exchange models and information or collaborate with other professionals, design firms and construction companies, you often find it necessary to use an open, non-proprietary file format so that everyone can access, view and manage the project content regardless of the software used to crete those files.

By definition, that is what an IFC file is: an open, non-proprietary file format designed by buildingSMART International to support interoperability workflows between construction professionals and registered as an official international standard ISO 16739:2013.

IFC 4 file export

Among the various settings to select when exporting an IFC file, it is also possible to choose between the IFC 2×3 version and the IFC 4 version.

If you want to learn more about this topic, we recommend you having a look at the insight: “IFC Coordination View“.

To summarise, version 4 of the IFC schema has several new features compared to the previous IFC 2×3 (2×3 means, version 2 – revision 3). Some of the most relevant ones are:

  • inclusion of new classes, with a consequent increase in information
  • identification of 2 new MVDs  (Model View Definition):
    • Reference View
    • Design Transfer View.

The Reference View is defined by buildingSMART as a view representing simplified model geometries and relationships. This view was created  to enable coordination between various disciplines of a project, such as architectural, structural and plant engineering.

The difference between this MVD and the Coordination View 2.0 depends on the IFC schema version we refer to (IFC 4 schema and IFC 2×3 schema) and, therefore, a semantically rich building data content.

IFC logo

IFC 4 logo

The Design Transfer View is basically a view that has the function of representing geometries and relationships of building elements and environments in more detail than the Reference View. This allows you to have a model with much more information, transferable from one tool to another and also suitable for editing.