It's been a long time since I seriously looked at Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) as a way of sharing design information. Since then both the standard itself and applications that use it have been through several generations of development.
From the IFC Wiki;
- The IFC represents a data model structure for sharing construction and facility management data across various applications used in the building domain.
- The IFC data model is an object-oriented data model based on class definitions representing the things (elements, processes, shapes, etc.) that are used by software applications during a construction or facility management project.
- The IFC data model focusses on those classes that are needed to share information (rather then processing it in a particular proprietory software).
- The IFC data model is a neutral and open specification that is not controlled by a singular vendor or group of vendors.
Except you can't trust the information in an IFC. It works, but only for some, mostly simple, objects/geometry which means it doesn't work at all. Below is my test Building Information Model. It's a pretty simple collection of floors, rooms, walls, doors roof, curtain wall objects. The only "complication" is the curtain wall hosted on a tapered mass.
- Below is the information resulting from an export to IFC, import from IFC.
- Spot the difference? Not just visual changes but missing objects and mis-represented geometry.
- What if you quoted on, certified, or worse built based on the IFC information?