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IFC mapping file

IFC class mapping file

IFC class mapping allows you to recognize IFC entities in your BIM authoring software without loosing any info or data. Here’s how it works and how to use it

Are you dealing with having to import an IFC model in your BIM authoring software (Edificius, Revit, Archicad, etc.) but want to be sure that the original entities are recognized correctly or detected? More in general, do you need to exchange information between authoring software by means of the IFC standard format? In this post I’ll be explaining what the  IFC class mapping file concept is all about and how it can be useful for reading and detecting IFC entities.

I’ll then show you how you how to view an IFC file without necessarily owning or using a BIM software but opening it directly with a BIM viewer online.

What is the IFC class mapping file?

IFC class mapping is basically a text file that “maps” the categories generated by any sort of authoring software so that they correspond to the same category types as defined by another 3D modelling application.

In other words, we’re talking about an information converter generated by two different software.

Let’s see a quick example to clarify the concept. Let’s suppose that we need to load an IFC file in Revit that was originally exported by Edificius or Archicad or any other BIM authoring software. To ensure data compatibility, I would definitely need to find the same entities present in the IFC file also available in the Revit native file. Therefore, I’ll definitely need an information converter based on the IFC class mapping file.

This means that I’ll need to be able to read the same entity data in the source IFC model (doors, windows, slabs and walls, etc.) also in the resulting BIM authoring file without loosing any information. So, in the case of the door object (IfcDoor), this must be recognized as a door entity in Revit too (“door” family).

With an adequate class mapping definition, the authoring software will be able to recognize the corresponding entities correctly.

IFC mapping file

Figure | IFC class mapping

IFC class mapping in Edificius

To correctly map the entities of an IFC file with the corresponding entities in Edificius (the BIM authoring for architectural design) we need to start off by creating a new IFC document.

Here’s how to proceed in just 2 simple steps:

  1. click on File>New>IFC document
  2. from the file browser dialog, select the IFC file and click Open to load it.

Edificius will automatically recognize the IFC entities generated by modelling software capable of exporting in this format.

At this point you can seamlessly manage the file with dedicated tools available in Edificius.

The animation below shows how straight-forward it is to quickly load an IFC file in Edificius in order to automatically match its entities with the corresponding Edificius entities.

Ifc class mapping

How to create a new IFC document with Edificius

IFC class mapping file in Revit

To get the same matching between the different entities of an IFC file and the corresponding entities in Revit we can use the IFC class mapping file.
To load an IFC class mapping file using Revit, here are the 4 simple steps to follow:
  1. click File>Open >IFC Options
  2. in the Import IFC Options dialog, click Load.
  3. in the Load IFC Class Mapping File dialog, navigate to an IFC class mapping file, select it, and click Open
  4. in the Import IFC Options dialog, click OK.

After loading the IFC class mapping file), you can open the IFC file from any other 3D modelling application.

If you need to export the IFC file with Revit:

  1. download the latest official additional component “IFC 2018” (year version based on the Revit version in use)
  2. export IFC from Revit
  3. click on the Export> IFC button
  4. select the IFC 2×3 Coordination View 2.0 for which the software is also certified
  5. hide the elements that you do not need to export.

Property Mapping for IFC Import – Archicad

For Archicad, to get the same the same correspondence between its entities and the entities of an IFC file, follow the simple steps below:

  1. click on File> Interoperability> IFC> IFC Translators
  2. select IFC Properties or ARCHICAD Properties
Ifc mapping file

Archicad interface | Property mapping

If you choose the predefined option, IFC Properties:

  • the software will automatically import all the IFC element related properties
  • the data is available as IFC Property sets in various parts of the software interface (such as Find and Select and Scheme settings)
  • property mapping is no longer necessary.

With the ARCHICAD Properties option:

  • the mapping table is activated in order to choose which IFC Property values are to be associated with the Archicad properties
  • each IFC property in the list (defined using the first column from the left) is mapped to an Archicad property
  • in the current project file, new Archicad properties aren’t generated
  • the IFC properties that are not listed in the mapping table, are ignored during import.

How to open an IFC file with free software

If you need to view or modify an IFC file but without having to use a BIM authoring software, you can use a free IFC viewer online that offers a series of useful tools that simplify IFC model management.

To start, just go to the usBIM page and enter your ACCA account credentials.

If you don’t have an ACCA account yet:

  • go to MyACCA page;
  • register by entering all your data;
  • enter your email and a password.

To open, view and manage an IFC file using usBIM.browser:

  • drag and drop the IFC file to a folder in the usBIM cloud;
  • click on the screen icon to open the file;
  • use the available commands to navigate the 3D model and view the entities and properties

You don’t have a model at hand, but are you curious to try out usBIM’s online browsing features?  Try now the visualization and navigation features of usBIM with our model!

Open a sample IFC file with usBIM, directly online.