Preparation of Data for Export

Partner offices usually do not require the fully detailed architectural model; a simplified model is sufficient. For example, structural models are simplified versions of architectural models, which contain only the load-bearing building elements such as columns, beams, slabs, walls, roofs, and the load-bearing (core) parts of composite structures. Any Building Material used as an air gap in composite/complex elements can be defined according to whether it should participate in Collision Detection: this way, only element parts having real geometry will participate in Collision Detection in ARCHICAD and in IFC model-checkers.

If an architect plans to exchange models with a structural engineer, he/she should keep these requirements in mind when carrying out their design work, to make the eventual model exchange easier.

Classification and Properties

In ARCHICAD, each construction element can be assigned one or more Classifications, in the Classification and Properties panel of its Settings dialog box. Such a classification makes certain properties and parameters available to elements for use within ARCHICAD and by other applications. Organizing elements by classification is useful for assigning relevant data, finding elements more easily, and collecting and visualizing the data.

Construction Elements in ARCHICAD can be assigned any number of national or company standard classification systems at the same time: their properties can be assigned to any construction element or zone.

Element Classifications (together with their Properties) can be shown on any output, and they appear on graphic elements as Labels and Stamps.

Interactive Element Schedule (IES) can list properties and parameters by Classification. You can search for elements by Classification, using the criteria of the Find & Select dialog box. The same Classification-based criteria are also available when defining Graphic Overrides and Collision Detection groups.


Element Classification

They also enable exchange of element‐related BIM data among stakeholders. Classification is also used to map properties when exporting to IFC: these mapping settings can be customized in the IFC Translator used for export. While each ARCHICAD element’s default classification may have a default counterpart in IFC, you can assign it a different Classification, based on any standard system, and therefore map it to a different IFC type - for example, if you have used the Slab tool to model a ceiling, or using the Wall tool to model a curved beam.

Structural Function

“Load-Bearing Element” or “Non-Load-Bearing Element”

In collaborating with partners who are using structural programs, you can export your ARCHICAD model to IFC format: the Structural Function classification (assigned in ARCHICAD) automatically adds the “load-bearing” property to structural elements in the export file. “Structural Function” lets you limit the exported IFC model to structural elements only, thereby streamlining the collaboration process. This classification is useful for listing purposes - for example, you can calculate the materials needed for all structural walls or columns, separately from materials of non-structural elements. If you have classified model elements as “Load-Bearing Element”, then you can use the Partial Structure Display “Core of Load-Bearing Elements Only” option to display those elements only.


“Interior” or “Exterior”

This classification is useful if you plan to send an IFC file to partners (e.g. energy analyzers) who are able to differentiate elements by their location in the building. When you export the ARCHICAD model to IFC format, your model elements that are classified as “Interior” or “Exterior” will carry this information to the partner’s application via IFC.

Layer System

ARCHICAD’s layer system (Layers and Layer Combinations) can help in narrowing down the parts of the model to be exported. Use layers to group elements conceptually (e.g. structural elements) and to separate them from elements not needed in the exported model (e.g. furniture). For example, you can choose filters that will export only elements located on layers set to “visible”, while you hide the layers of the elements you do not need to export.


Intelligent Layer Combinations Help the Data Exchange between Project Trades

Standard Profiles

If you exchange data with structural applications, using the IFC standard, it can be helpful to use standard elements as your steel profiled Columns or Beams. During the data exchange process, numerous structural engineering programs are able to recognize and identify such standard elements accurately and completely.