Understanding "IFC files" and "IFC models"

3D models that have been produced using 3D modelling software can be saved into IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) format. IFC is an open, non-proprietary data model that facilitates the sharing of BIM data between different software applications. IFC provides a set of definitions for all object element types encountered in the construction industry and a text-based structure for storing these definitions in a data file. These IFC files can be stored either locally or in the Elecosoft BIMCloud®, from where they can be accessed by Powerproject BIM and by other BIM-enabled software, such as Bidcon®, a BIM-enabled estimating tool.

There are a number of different versions of IFC. Powerproject BIM is able to open IFC version 2.3, 2.4 and 4 files.

When you specify that an IFC file is to be used within a project in Powerproject BIM, an IFC model object is created for the IFC file in Library Explorer and the IFC file becomes known as an IFC model. There is a one-to-one relationship between IFC files and IFC models in Library Explorer: you can only have one IFC model in Library Explorer for each IFC file. You can edit IFC models in Library Explorer to specify override colours that should be used to display different types of object in the corresponding IFC file and to specify the way in which tasks are treated when a timeline simulation is run.

When an IFC model is opened in Powerproject BIM, a project schedule can be constructed, using the elements of the IFC model - ie the objects or products that it contains - as a basis. You can use Powerproject BIM to add time and planning information to the IFC file. As a project progresses, you can update your project with revised IFC data as new revisions of an IFC file become available.

If you have a group of IFC models that are associated with each other, you can link them together using IFC group models. This may be useful if you have a separate IFC model for each discipline in a project and you want to be able to work with all of the related IFC models together at the same time. If you link a number of related IFC models together, you can open them all at the same time by opening the IFC group model and they appear at the same time, overlaid, in the IFC Model and IFC Comparison Model panes. You can also use IFC group models to add site objects, such as cranes, portacabins, security fences, scaffolding, parked cars, etc, to IFC models to give a better visual representation of how a site will appear at various stages of a project. Site objects exist as individual IFC files; you add them to an IFC model by creating an IFC group model and adding the site object to the IFC group model.

Related Topics:

Introduction to Powerproject BIM

What is BIM?

Introduction to the Elecosoft BIMCloud

Functionality in Powerproject BIM that is absent from Powerproject

Overview of building a project schedule from an IFC model

Associating IFC files with projects

Linking related IFC models using IFC group models