IFC format definition

The IFC format (Industry Foundation Classes) is an object-oriented file format, serving as a standard for the exchange and sharing of information between software in the building sector.

This format makes it possible to describe the objects of a BIM model (walls, windows, spaces, posts, etc.), their characteristics and relationships. The IFC offers a standardized structure and hierarchy of geometric and informative data, allowing users of the model to have a quick understanding of it.

Thus, the IFC format has naturally emerged as a reference format for the common digital model of a project, and aims to ensure the interoperability of BIM business software.

The use of the IFC format in a BIM project

Within the same project, the various actors (architects, project owners, design offices, etc.) will design and operate the digital model in specific business software.

For their uses, the actors of the project will be able to refer to the common IFC model of the project. This being the original model of the project, which can be used for business analyses (clash detection, cost estimation, various simulations, etc.).

Once the IFC model is defined, it is not supposed to be modified by the actors who use it on a specific project. If he/she wishes to modify it, he must translate it into another working format, before re-exporting it to IFC and making a modification request.

Of course, the IFC model of the building will have several versions over time, throughout the life cycle of the building. The BIM manager will be responsible for keeping it up to date.

The advantages of the IFC format

The IFC format is the format that will facilitate collaboration between project stakeholders. It makes it possible to exchange information via a standard format. The studies and operations of the model will then be more reliable and more productive, generating an optimization of costs and study times!

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