Here’s how to view the IFC file of a large infrastructure project with an easy-to-use, free and powerful tool
Do you need to manage large IFC files? Are you looking for a way to visualize an infrastructure project file?
In this blog post I will be exploring usBIM.browser, the most powerful application to view and manage BIM models of great dimensions (such as bridges, railways, etc.) for free and exclusively online.
How to view the IFC file of an infrastructure
It might have happened that you have received a BIM model from one of your project members that has been generated with a BIM authoring software different from yours, or a file in IFC format and not being able to view it. IFC files are becoming more common and essential for data exchange between the various players in the construction industry.
At present, there is a large number of software packages for visualising architectural projects in IFC format that offer the possibility of managing BIM models through browsing functions.
The most advanced ones allow you to:
- view various objects contained in the model
- query parametric objects
- assign information to objects
- edit properties
- add or remove entities
- federate several models
- verify interferences
Most of these viewers, however, do not ensure management of large IFC files, such as those related to infrastructure works, but are mostly designed for small-scale architectural models.
On the other hand, if you need to visualise and manage the model of an infrastructural project, such as railways or road networks, airstrips, bridges, dams, etc., or a federation of several models and areas on a territorial scale, I absolutely recommend using usBIM.browser.
usBIM.browser is one the free usBIM applications that allow you to manage even complex 3D models with any device, at high speed and without file size limitations.
To open and view an IFC file, of any dimension, with usBIM.browser you first need to access the usBIM service as follows:
- if you have already registered on the MyACCA personal area
- access the usBIM webpage
- insert your credentials (the same email used upon registration and password)
- click on
- if you haven’t registered yet on the MyACCA personal area
After logging in usBIM:
- upload the file to view with a simple drag&drop
- click on the monitor-shaped icon (on the right-hand side of the uploaded file) to open the file.
At this point, you are ready to take advantage of the full functionality and power of usBIM.browser and browse your model.
usBIM: the software for viewing and federating large files
As mentioned earlier in this article, usBIM.browser allows you to work with large files that probably no other viewer can handle, and with maximum speed.
Browse any BIM model, generated with any BIM software, in Real-Time Rendering and Virtual Reality directly online and with any browser (even from your smartphone!) to verify all your project choices.
In addition to simply viewing a model, you can also federate different models and manage them in a single view with usBIM.federation.
This function is very useful both for checking possible interferences between models (e.g. overlaying the structural model with the installation systems model, etc.) and for reproducing a complex model created by merging several models generated from different disciplines. You also have the possibility of merging hundreds of models simultaneously at extraordinary speed.
For example, the images below show the federation of 34 different models (BIM models, textured meshes, point clouds, etc.) which, when put together, reproduce an area of about 45 km².
You can view the details of each inserted model, easily switching between large and small scale areas. For example, you can also deal with every single bolt of a house steel structure in your model and at the same time check an entire railway line.
By using any browser, you can move around in your project model in an extraordinarily realistic way, to check the effectiveness of your choices or to present it to your client. You can also attach documents and information to BIM objects to complete your project documentation.
usBIM.browser allows you to view and manage every single model as it was produced by the respective BIM authoring software.
You can open, view and browse many 2D and 3D design file formats:
- BIM: IFC, BCF, Revit (RVT and RFA), Edificius, EdiLus, etc.
- point clouds: LAS, LAZ, E57, PLY, PTS, XYZ, etc.
- GIS: geojson
- CAD: AutoCAD (DWG e DXF), DNG
- 3D: Sketchup, collada, OBJ, etc.
- others: PDF, OFFICE (docx, xslx, pptx, etc.).
In addition to displaying large files, usBIM.browser also allows you to:
- federate several IFC models in a single view
- collaborate with users connected to the project in real time
- use the Issue function to collaboratively resolve potential issues in the model
- describe with textual information what is needed to solve a problem in the IFC file directly on the model
- link project drawings, descriptions, technical specifications, and other documentation.
- locate all information on objects in the IFC model by associating links or attribute additional information by inserting the #TagBIM.