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Differences IDS-IFC-r-MVD standards

Understanding the difference between IDS, IFC or MVD standards

IDS, IFC and MVD standards: what’s the difference? What are they? What are they used for? Read the article and find out now

If you work in the BIM sector you have certainly heard of IFC, MVD and IDS.

In this article, we will analyse in detail what it is about and what is the common threadthat binds them. I remind you that you can use an IDS BIM application to take full advantage of this powerful standard and work much faster.

The difference between the IDS, IFC and MVD standards

The purpose of IDS, IFC and MVD is similar: to have a common language for all operators involved in the entire lifecycle of the work to improve communication, avoid errors and facilitate collaboration.

The IDS standard works side by side with the IFC to define computer-interpretable exchange requirements for each use case. Essentially, the IDS establishes the way in which the information should be exchanged, whereas the IFC is the container of all the information to be exchanged in a totally openBIM process.

On the other hand, the MVD represents a portion of all the information contained in the IFC, filtered according to the needs established in that specific exchange.

Therefore, all three allow optimal management of information exchange in BIM projects and, more generally, in openBIM processes.

IDS validation workflow

openBIM Workflow with IFC and IDS

Let’s see in detail what they are.

What is IDS

The Information Delivery Specification (IDS) is a computer-readable document that defines the Exchange Requirements during an information exchange based on the use of a BIM model.

Essentially, it defines how objects, classifications, materials, properties and even values must be delivered and exchanged. It is often based on Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and additional classifications, materials and properties (national or company-specific agreements, stored in bSDD or elsewhere).

The IDS is a critical component that can also be used as a contract to deliver the correct information. It also tackles one of the most important aspects for the correct setting of a BIM project, that is the need for customers to have models in line with the required objectives.

The IDS standard was created to respond to the need to define and optimize the management of dynamic and complex information needs, related to any phase of the life cycle of a work and any aspect of the construction world (strategic planning, design, engineering, management and maintenance, renovation, restoration, disposal of the property, etc.).

To learn more, I recommend reading the article “IDS: what it is and what is it for”.

What is IFC

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is an open, non-proprietary file format and international standard ISO 16739 . It is used to exchange and share data between all the professionals involved in the design, construction, management and maintenance process of an asset regardless of the software and applications used.

The IFC, however, is not only an exchange format, but a schema. This means that this is an organized data structure according to precise rules: the IFC schema can be thought of as a “storage system” for organizing and transporting digital data.

For more information, see the article “IFC file: what is it and how to open it“.

What is MVD

A Model View Definition (MVD) is a subset of the overall IFC schema used to describe the exchange of data for a specific use or workflow, narrowing the scope according to the needs.

These “filtered views” are very useful because they make the data exchange process easier and prevent from sharing unnecessary or redundant information, following standardized procedures.

The MVD is a filtered view that takes a part of the information from the entire schema.


Model View Definition

Therefore, the function of the MVD does not depend on the many software solutions available on the market, but on the information that we want to share.

This responds to the specific need to transfer the necessary information to a given situation, with an easier exchange between the software.

Read the article “Model View Definition (MVD) and BIM data exchange” and learn more about this topic.