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How to open an IFC file, view and edit its properties

Here’s how to open an IFC file, view its properties and edit it in just 4 steps

If you’re facing the very common problem of needing to open an IFC file but don’t know where to start, well here’s an easy to use tool! In this article we’ll be taking a look at how to open IFC files, view them in 3D, edit their geometry and properties in a very simple and intuitive manner using an IFC editor.

Together with some very neat and easy to read illustrations, we’ve also prepared a step-by-step video that shows the very straight-forward process of working with IFC files.

Opening an IFC file

These are the basic steps that lead to opening and viewing an IFC file using a free online BIM viewer:

  1. log in to usBIM with your credentials;
  2. upload the file you need to view to the usBIM cloud;
  3. select the IFC file to open;
  4. view 3D model, entities, and properties.

Editing IFC model properties

If, on the other hand, you need to make some changes to the properties of the IFC model entities, changing or adding various parameters, you can use an online IFC editor.

Here’s a typical workflow:

  1. log in to usBIM with your credentials;
  2. upload the file you need to view to the usBIM cloud;
  3. select the IFC file to open;
  4. choose usBIM.editor from the available applications;
  5. click on Edit Properties (bottom) to edit, delete, or add new properties to the selected object;
  6. click on Edit classifications to change the classification of the selected entity;
  7. read in the properties tool box the changes made to the selected object.

Open and Edit IFC files | Graphical illustration

This illustration summarises the 5 basic steps to open and edit an IFC file as described above.

Infographics - open and edit an IFC file and its properties in 5 steps

Infographics | open and edit an IFC file and its properties in 5 steps

 

But why should we use the IFC format for editing?

As mentioned in our previous posts, the IFC format is an open data format that simplifies interoperability between different BIM authoring software. Therefore, you may be dealing with a 3D model which is packed with information, written by different software solutions, all of which can be used in different ways by different BIM-oriented applications.

This assumption brings us back to our initial question.

The main advantage of using the IFC standard format is that it helps save a tremendous amount of time because with just a few steps, we can make all the necessary changes and avoid intermediate file manipulation and data conversions.

Besides that, the fact that IFC is an Open format, we have the additional value of interoperability enabling everyone to collaborate in a simplified workflow with greater reliability of data, flexibility and freedom considering that the user is completely independent of the software developer or version that generated the file. This aspect becomes very important when accessing model datasets saved several years before and without having to deal with the risks of model alteration or data losses.

This becomes a crucial aspect that underlines the importance of always being able to access the building asset’s project information or construction process and maintenance history and can only be guaranteed when using software solutions that support this type of format.

To summarise, it allows the user to:

  • import the IFC file of the BIM model originating from any other AEC software or tool capable of exporting in such format;
  • edit the IFC file by modifying objects, deleting entities or adding properties to existing entities;
  • share the IFC file on the cloud after making changes..

If you want to read more about IFC and BIM, don’t forget to check our upcoming articles!

 

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