IFC – Industry Foundation Classes – is a neutral file format that makes it possible to exchange information between different CAD systems and other systems in the building and facility management sectors. The IFC format is ISO-certified and can be integrated into any existing quality assurance polices your office may have. IFC is developed in part by buildingSMART (formerly the IAI – the International Alliance for Interoperability). Today there are over 600 members in 17 chapters around the world.
GRAPHISOFT has played an active role within the buildingSMART organization since 1996 and supports the IFC standard, which enables ARCHICAD to communicate with other disciplines within the context of the building model, and to coordinate a building project entirely in 3D. The building model can also be exported back to literally hundreds of other systems that support IFC.
The list of registered IFC supporter applications (by functional category/design disciplines) is available here: http://www.buildingsmart-tech.org/implementation/implementations
BIM, or “Building Information Modeling,” is one of the biggest advances in the building industry’s working methods since the introduction of CAD software. BIM is not synonymous with 3D projects. Three-dimensional geometric representation is only one part of the digital deliverables. A project includes non-graphical information, such as calculations that are used in surveying, facility management and energy calculation. A prerequisite for a successful BIM project is that intelligent information can be exchanged between different software and even operating systems, throughout the stages of the building process. This interoperability demands a neutral file format with an open standard that supports different systems. IFC is such a system, enabling us to synchronize building models between the disciplines much more easily.
With its user-friendly interface and wide latitude for customization, ARCHICAD enables users to communicate in an efficient way, to focus on the needed elements and to locate any errors in design development via IFC data exchange. This chapter has been created to provide ARCHICAD users an insight into the IFC standard and how it works in ARCHICAD.