Why IFC paramount data exchange in BIM?

Why IFC paramount data exchange in BIM?


IFC was an initiative started in 1994 to support integrated application development by buildingSMART. It is much necessary file format applicable in BIM for carrying out collaboration between many disciplines.

Let us in-depth know about it:

What is IFC?

Industry Foundation Class (IFC) is an international standard (ISO vide ISO 16729:2013) developed and maintained by Autodesk’s buildingSMART. It is a data model intended to present AEC industry related data; it is blended with a system of an open file format used to facilitate interoperability in the AEC industry. It is commonly used in Building Information Modeling based projects as a collaborative approach and open platform that is not controlled by a group or single vendors. It is a full-fledged model since its existence from 1994.

Integrating IFC has been mandatory by many countries for public works projects. IFC file formats are used for a design that includes visualization, shock detection and the construction phase. It is a data model that is used to determine both the building information and geometry throughout the life cycle of the project.

How do IFC works?

Import an IFC file into Revit or ArchiCAD software that would automatically match the file with library components. IFC file when exported gives the only subset of the BIM Model. It is a geometrical and open file format standards that are used to define architectural and construction CAD graphics data as real-world objects. It helps architects and engineers to exchange data between CAD tools, cost estimation systems and other construction applications.

IFC uses a plain text file, common computer data format. CAD Drafting Services provider can store data in a product-related binary file format that suits their systems. The developers then provide commands such as “Save as IFC” and “Imports IFC” to their CAD system’s representation of these objects.

How important is IFC for BIM?

IFC file format is used often in BIM and is a one-click solution that eases out the whole process making designs easier to send for various purposes.  It can convert files from one software to another without disrupting any data and this way it achieves a high-performance data exchange applicable in BIM Modeling Services. BIM execution plans state requirements for this exchange. BIM projects cannot be done in one software, and it needs a path for exchanging graphics & data from one software to another for which IFC files is important. IFC file format can be divided into parts without requiring the authoring software as it is simple to code information they require to analyze before importing it. It can be used for Facilities management as it can import data from multiple sources to depict the quality of source created.


IFC file format is equally important for data exchange in BIM as it gives many advantages to the companies such as to allow collaboration between various technical roles involved the construction process, allowing them to exchange information through a standard format. This way it brings higher quality, the reduction of errors, reduction of costs and saving of time, with consistent data and information flowing from design phase through to realization and maintenance. IFC applications are mandatory in the construction phase for BIM interoperability and other tools.

Written By:
Divya Dave
Divya Dave is a Senior Manager with Tesla Outsourcing Services. An engineer and management graduate, she has been working with the outsourcing industry now for more than a decade. With a passion for writing, she writes on topics that provide an insight into CAD, BIM, and 3D Visualization services for the Architectural, Structural, and MEP disciplines. Her focus is to enable architects and engineering professionals in the AEC industry to adopt the right technology so as to increase their efficiency and profitability.

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