Modify an IFC file with an editor
Here’s a quick and easy way to modify your IFC file without going through a BIM authoring tool (Edificius, Revit, Archicad, etc.)
Do you have to make a variant to the project and you need to modify your 3D model in IFC format? Has the current state of the building changed and you need to update the model as built? To edit an IFC file, in general, you could open the model with any BIM software (Edificius, Revit, Archicad, etc.), making the modification and export it again.
However, if you do not yet have a BIM software, or you just want to quickly change the model in the IFC format without going through a BIM authoring tool, there is an even faster solution: use an advanced IFC editor for free, even online!
In this article, I’ll show you how to edit an IFC file without using a BIM software following two different operating modes:
- online, to intervene on the properties, attributes and categories of the IFC file;
- desktop, installing an IFC editor on your PC to modify properties and geometry of the 3D model.
Why should I edit an IFC file?
Before we move on to the operational phase, let’s see why, in some cases, you may need to edit an IFC file.
You may have several reasons for editing an IFC file.
Let me provide some examples.
- you may need to modify, add or delete some properties of the entities of your as-built model (for example, change the value of the casing transmittance because you have made a change or variant to the project and do not want to waste time going back to the BIM file, modifying and re-exporting it or because you no longer have the software with which you generated the 3D project model);
- need to add, move, modify or delete objects from the IFC model but without going through a BIM authoring tool
(for example, if you delete a partition deleted previously in various projects or if you change furniture’s arrangement, etc.);
- to freely manage and update information during the entire construction life cycle without necessarily having to have the same software as those who, for example, worked on the project or those who are in charge of maintenance;
- to have free access to the entire construction lifecycle’s information produced, regardless of the BIM authoring tool used to generate the model.
I remind you that in a correct openBIM process it is advisable that every change made to the project deliverables is perfectly traced and validated.
How to Edit an IFC File Online
If you need to make changes to the properties, attributes, or categories of an IFC file and don’t want to install any software on your PC, you can use the online version of an IFC editor.
This way, you don’t have to install software on your PC and you can work wherever you are and with any device connected to the internet (PC, tablet and smartphone).
To make changes to objects in the IFC file, follow these simple steps:
- access usBIM from any browser and enter email and password of your account “My ACCA”;
- create a new folder and upload the IFC file you need to edit to the usBIM cloud;
- click on the screen icon next to the file just uploaded and choose the
- select with the mouse and clic on the object to be modify;
- modify the object’s attributes by clicking on the
Propertiesicon in the top right;
Edit Attributesto change the Name and Description of the selected entity;
Edit Properties(below) to edit, delete, or add new properties to the selected object.
Edit Classificationsto change the classification of the selected entity;
- read the changes made to the selected object in the property toolbox.
How to Change Properties and Geometries of an IFC Model
If you don’t have BIM software but need to modify IFC models by operating on the geometry and properties of each individual entity, you can use the desktop version of an IFC editor. This way, you work directly on open formats and don’t have to have a specific BIM authoring tool.
Let’s take a practical example.
Suppose that the IFC to be modified is the result of the federation of three models (structural, architectural, plant) produced with different BIM authoring tools. The IFC file is the “digital twin” of an existing building that has undergone changes over time (for example the replacement of the boiler and the demolition of a partition).
Normally, to update the model and make it conform to the current situation, you should individually modify the 3 models (using 3 different BIM authoring tools!) and proceed to federation again. With usBIM.editor you can intervene directly on the federated model and modify the IFC file optimizing costs and working times. The fact that you don’t need the software with which the file was created is a great advantage.
To edit the IFC file with the desktop version of usBIM.editor, follow these simple steps:
- open usBIM.editor;
- click on “New” and choose “IFC Document”;
- select the IFC file to work on;
- from the “Drawing” section of the toolbar, select the drop-down menu and choose the “3D Lock” command;
- in the properties window, under Characteristics, on the item Model, open the BIM object library and choose the desired model (in this case, we insert a boiler with the characteristics of the existing one);
- place the object in the chosen place;
- choose the “IFC editor” environment;
- Select and delete the elements to be removed clicking the “Delete” key on the keyboard (in this case the old boiler and the partition);
- when the changes are complete, from the toolbar, click on “Export to IFC” to export the changed file.
With just a few steps, you get the IFC file with the changes you made.
Try editing the IFC file of the project you are working on and discover all the advantages of usBIM.editor.