Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data model
The buildingSMART data model
At buildingSMART, we have developed a common data schema that makes it possible to hold and exchange data between different proprietary software applications. The data schema comprises information covering the many disciplines that contribute to a building throughout its lifecycle: from conception, through design, construction and operation to refurbishment or demolition.
Industry Foundation Classes, IFC, are the main buildingSMART data model standard. The IFC format is registered by ISO as ISO/PAS 16739 and is in the process of becoming an official International Standard ISO/IS 16739.
‘Open’ is the key to the real value of our buildingSMART standard. IFC can be used to exchange and share BIM data between applications developed by different software vendors without the software having to support numerous native formats. As an open format, IFC does not belong to a single software vendor; it is neutral and independent of a particular vendor’s plans for software development.
For this reason, we say that our organisation – buildingSMART – is ‘the home of open BIM’.
Every implementation of an IFC exchange should follow what is known as an ‘exchange requirement’. This requirement specifies the information that needs to be present in an exchange or sharing of data at a certain stage in a project. It is important to be specific about the information needed. The exchange requirement prevents woolliness and uncertainty.
How can designers and other software users be sure that the software in use is compliant with the open IFC standard and truly interoperable? At buildingSMART we run a certification scheme that tests software products to check that they meet the IFC standard and clarifies the scope of their interoperability. The scheme was revamped in 2010 to make it more stringent and indicates precisely what parts of the product work interoperably.
Visit http://buildingsmart-tech.org for more information.