IFC 4.3, the new IFC standard for exchanging openBIM models of infrastructural works

Today, it is technically possible to exchange BIM models of infrastructure works in the IFC open format. By the time the entire BIM community starts using it, ACCA is already at the forefront with full IFC 4.3 implementation, providing added value to its entire software range.

The IFC format, as well as many other standard products, is constantly evolving.

As reported by Richard Kelly, bSI Operations Director, after an extensive development process and valid testing, buildingSMART International published IFC 4.3 as a bSI production standard.

This means that IFC 4.3 has taken the ISO path and will become the new version of the ISO 16739 standard by the first quarter of 2023.

IFC 4.3

With the IFC 4.3 version, a considerable boost is given to the digitisation of infrastructures in open formats.

The related programme was created to extend the benefits of IFC to what can be defined as “horizontal resources”. That is, infrastructures that extend through the landscape like roads and railways and all their correlated features.

The whole scope of the IFC 4.3 programme includes roads, railways, ports and inland waterways, bridges and the common infrastructure elements between them. Each of the domains have many different use cases that they support with the IFC schema.

IFC 4.3 domains

The IFC 4.3 – domains

The first phase of projects under the programme focused on defining IFC entities for use cases. This included alignment reference, aggregated structures, earthworks, bridge structure, railway energy, railway signalling, railway tracks, railway telecommunications, drainage, maritime elements and even some geotechnics.

The second phase of these projects consisted of producing test instructions and providing software validation of the IFC 4.3 standard. This phase also included the identification of the three basic implementation levels: the reference view, the alignment-based reference view, and the project transfer view.

The IFC 4.3 bSI production standard incorporates infrastructure entities into the IFC scheme and by the end of 2022 will be further extended to incorporate Tunnel entities. This extension, as well as other changes, will be published as IFC 4.4.

IFC 4.3

IFC 4.3 is the result of a multi-year international process carried out by two major buildingSmart projects: IFCRail and IFCInfra.

ACCA software has been active for years in the matter of the spreading of the openBIM methodology and the use of IFC as an exchange format for infrastructure works. The company participated at the forefront in both of these projects as a software vendor, providing expertise and know-how with its unrivalled technology, implementing the new features of the standard.

ACCA is also part of several BuildingSMART Italia Working Groups, including IFC Road Italia and openBIM for Railways.

IFC viewer for infrastructures

ACCA, in addition to actively participating in the development of the new IFC 4.3 standard for infrastructures, also offered its contribution to the testing phase, by making its technology available for online viewing of IFC 4.3 files.

The viewer for the management of large and extensive linear infrastructures (such as railways, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports and waterways) is now available in the updated version of usBIM.browser.