The use of IFC models in the construction process has revolutionised the industry by improving efficiency and collaboration between stakeholders. 

These digital models allow virtually all aspects of a project to be represented, facilitating communication and early detection of problems. They have also optimised the flow of information, improved project planning and control, and maximised resource efficiency.

What is Industry Foundation Classes?

IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is a set of open data standards that allows companies like CHECKTOBUILD to exchange information efficiently.

These files contain detailed information on the design, construction and management of buildings and structures, including geometry, material properties, relationships between elements and much more.

The aim of IFCs is to improve interoperability between the different systems and software applications used in construction, which helps to improve the collaboration, efficiency and quality of construction projects. IFCs also help to reduce errors and inconsistencies in construction information, saving time and costs for those involved in the project.

The importance of IFC and BIM standards

IFC and BIM (Building Information Modelling) standards are now considered key tools in the construction and engineering industry. These standards are of great importance as they enable better collaboration, coordination and efficiency throughout the project lifecycle.

While IFC is a set of open data standards for information exchange aimed at improving collaboration, efficiency and quality of construction, BIM is a construction project management methodology that uses 3D virtual models to plan, design, construct and operate buildings and structures. This model contains detailed information on all aspects of the construction project, such as architectural design, structural engineering, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, materials and costs. 

The combination of IFC and BIM enables better integration of information from different disciplines, such as architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management. This helps ensure better coordination and greater accuracy throughout the project. By using them together, teams can collaborate more effectively, reduce errors and redundancies, and minimise delays and additional costs.

IFC uses

IFC models have changed the construction industry thanks to the many benefits they offer:

  1. Multidisciplinary collaboration: IFCs enable collaboration between different disciplines in the construction industry, such as architecture, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and plumbing (MEP), and others. Stakeholders can exchange IFC-based models and data to coordinate their designs, detect conflicts and make informed decisions.
  1. Software-to-Software Data Exchange: It provides a neutral and open format for data exchange between different software applications used in the building design, construction and management process. This allows professionals to use specialised tools of their choice and share information more efficiently without worrying about cross-platform compatibility.
  1. Building Information Management (BIM): It is a fundamental component of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) approach. The use of BIM enables the creation of accurate and detailed virtual models of a building or infrastructure, containing geometric information, attributes and relationships between elements. These IFC-based BIM models are used for visualisation, analysis, simulation and management of projects throughout their life cycle.
  1. Analysis and simulation: IFC models can be used to perform specialised analysis and simulation. For example, energy simulations can be performed to evaluate the energy performance of a building, structural simulations to evaluate the strength and stability of a structure, or airflow simulations to optimise HVAC system efficiency.
  1. Facility management: IFC-based models are also used for facility management and building maintenance. The information contained in IFC models can be used for asset tracking, maintenance scheduling, space planning and other tasks related to the management and operation of a building.

 How to create classifications in an IFC model

Classifications in an IFC model are created by assigning values to the elements of the model according to a specific classification system. The purpose of classifications in an IFC model is to organise and categorise the elements for easy identification and searching.

But how are these classifications created?:

  1. Define the classification system: The first step is to establish the classification system to be used in the IFC model. This involves determining the categories or groups into which the elements will be organised. For example, if you are working on a construction project, you can define categories such as “walls”, “floors”, “doors”, “windows”, etc.
  1. Assign classifications to the elements: Once you have established the classification system, you must assign the corresponding classifications to each element of the IFC model. This is usually done by assigning values to the element’s properties that represent its classification. For example, you can assign the value “Exterior Wall” to the “Classification” property of an element representing an exterior wall.
  1. Use classifications in queries and searches: After you assign classifications to elements, you can use them to perform specific queries and searches in the IFC model. For example, you can search for all elements classified as “Exterior Wall” or filter elements by category to perform specific analyses or data extractions.

It is important to consider that the classifications in an IFC model are not predetermined and should be defined by the users according to the needs and characteristics of the particular project or domain. In addition, the exact way of assigning classifications may vary depending on the BIM software you are using to work with the IFC model, as each software may have its own approach and methodology.