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IFC Rail: the project by ACCA software in Beijing

IFC Rail: the project by ACCA software in Beijing

The BIM railway modelling project that incorporates IFC Rail standards presented by ACCA software at the buildingSMART International Standards 2019 in Beijing

On the occasion of the buildingSMART International Standards 2019 in Beijing, ACCA software, in collaboration with RFI, has presented the first worldwide example of BIM railway modelling that allows the transposition of IFC Rail standards.

In practice, thanks to the BIM Authoring software Edificius, which has been integrated with linear infrastructure modelling capabilities, it is possible to generate models that comply with IFC Rail standards.

Below the analysis of the project presented in Beijing.

IfcSite and terrain modelling

The first operation when designing a railway infrastructure consists in the terrain modelling.

With Edificius you can proceed in 3 ways:

  • manually defining the terrain, through contour lines, topographic contour plans and elevation nodes;
  • generating the terrain from site surveying;
  • automatically importing the morphology from Google Maps.

The project took advantage of the possibility of importing morphology and textures directly from Google Maps, thanks to a simple selection rectangle.

IfcSite -Terrain modelling

IfcSite -Terrain modelling


After defining the Ifcsite, it is necessary to determine the IfcAlignment, that is probably the most important concept for linear structures (roads, bridges, railways).

Basically, it defines a three-dimensional curve representing the infrastructure reference system, that allows to:

  • comfortably define elements positioned along the alignment development;
  • easily generate extrusions;
  • arrange or generate parametric objects.

IfcAlignment – generation of directions

Starting from the three-dimensional curve, it is possible to parametrically generate tracks, crossbars, etc.

IFC Rail: generating the railway network

IFC Rail: Track – generating the railway network


Additional domains

At this point it is possible to insert the objects belonging to the remaining domains (provided by the standard), such as:

  • Signalling & Level crossing (signs and crossing points);
  • Energy (electrical grid);
  • Telecomunication;
  • Common Schema & Shared element.

IFC Rail: Signalling and level crossing

Model completion and IFC Rail file generation

After inserting all the objects, it is possible to generate an  IFC format file that meets all the IFC Rail requirements.

IFC Rail

IFC-Rail: the domains provided by the standard

Potential uses of the IFC Rail file

After generating the IFC Rail file, a series of potential scenarios opens up regarding how to take advantage of this model. The main uses are shown below.

Model sharing on the CDE (Common Data Environment)

The model can be uploaded on a specific collaborative platform (CDE). In this way, it will be possible to share the model with all the other actors, based on their roles and permissions set up on the platform.

IFC Rail: Uploading the model to usBIM.platform

Uploading the model to usBIM.platform


Adding information and documents to the model

Once the model is uploaded on the platform, you can add information and documents relating to each part of the model.

Documents can be uploaded directly on the platform or can you can create links to external contents.

Furthermore, all the model entities, together with the information, can always be geolocated: it is also possible to connect the same objects with external IoT systems.

Documents linked to objects on the platform - usBIM.platform

Documents linked to objects on the platform – usBIM.platform

Point cloud added to the model

It is possible to federate the IFC model with additional models, such as point clouds / textured meshes.

The figure below shows how to federate the IFC Rail model with a railway station point cloud that is obtained from photogrammetric survey (or laser scanner).

IFC Rail model federation with the point cloud

IFC Rail model federation with the point cloud

Generating photorealistic renderings, simulation and navigating in iVR

You can add texture to animated objects, such as the train carriage.

IFC Rail : Adding textures to the train carriage

Adding textures to the train carriage

Furthermore, it is possible to obtain photorealistic renderings thanks to the AIrBIM rendering engine based on artificial intelligence (Radeon Pro Render AMD).

IFC rail photorealistic renderings

Generating photorealistic renderings (AIrBIM in Edificius)

You can also take advantage of Real Time Rendering technology to generate real animations / simulations.

IFC rail: Simulation in RTBIM

Simulation in RTBIM

Finally, you can navigate the model directly in virtual reality and carry out a series of simulations, verifications and controls of the model.

IFC rail Navigating models in IVR

Navigating models in IVR

Thanks to the iVR (immersive virtual reality) technology it is possible to perform useful operations, such as:

  • verifying personally the correct sign positioning (a sort of Code Checking)
  • staff training with virtual reality
  • IFC model entities verification directly in virtual reality with the analysis of IFC Classes and IFC Properties
  • and much more.