BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a model-based process that allows architects, engineers, clients, and contractors, to procure, design, build and manage buildings and infrastructure. The core of BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of an asset. The most important Autodesk tools for the creation and modification of BIM data are Autodesk Revit for buildings and Autodesk Civil 3D for large scale infrastructure.
Provided that all of those involved in the design process are working with the same software tools, collaboration is hassle free and data exchange is straight forward.
Collaboration tools for examining data quality like Revit’s interoperability tools are integrated in the authoring software, reports may be generated at any time in user defined quality. This process is called native BIM. In larger projects and complex team structures, native BIM can be a challenge, due to a variety of different authoring software tools from different vendors used for the individual design tasks. In order to work on an integrated collaboration across software platforms, Autodesk convened 12 industry leading companies to found the Industry Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) in 1996.
The main concept developed by this consortium was IFC (Industry Foundation Classes). The IAI was renamed to buildingSMART in 2005. Today, Autodesk is member of the buildingSMART Strategic Advisory Council (SAC), “designed to appeal to those leading multinational enterprises who believe that full implementation and adoption of openBIM is strategically important to the built environment sector” and who forward IFC as a common data standard for interoperability.”
In addition, Autodesk joined the Open Design Alliance (ODA) in 2020 to fast track Improvements to Interoperability. IFC is the basis for exchanging data between different applications through openBIM workflows for building design, construction, procurement, maintenance, and operation, within project teams and across software applications. According to buildingSMART, IFC “is a standardized, digital description of the built environment, including buildings and civil infrastructure. It is an open, international standard, meant to be vendor-neutral, or agnostic, and usable across a wide range of hardware devices, software platforms, and interfaces for many different use cases.”
Since 2005, IFC – version 2×3 – was adopted as an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard (ISO 16739:2005). From ISO 16730: 2017 the standard was adopted by CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation / European Committee for Standardization) and since then IFC has become a European standard, too. As collaboration is the core intent of IFC, buildingSMART developed a certification program for software-products.
Due to the complexity of BIM projects, varying requirements for project design delivery, and differing capabilities between software platforms and vendors, it is essential for AEC practitioners and project teams to understand the basic principles of openBIM workflows, which this manual will discuss. Central to this manual are on the IFC capabilities of Autodesk Revit. We also include a chapter on IFC for AutoCAD products, and look to existing and emerging openBIM standards and capabilities for infrastructure projects.
You can download this IFC guide for Revit by clicking here.