Exporting an IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) file from an authoring tool, such as a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, while following best practices for optimal performance in other tools, involves a series of steps and considerations. This article gives a summarised guide.
We recommend to use IFC4 to achieve the best results - but at least IFC2x3 format.
Preparation and Cleanup
Before exporting, clean up the model to ensure it's free from unnecessary details or elements that could increase the file size. This includes removing or simplifying complex geometries, deleting unused elements, layers, or materials, and consolidating similar objects.
Optimisation of Elements
Optimise the elements in your model for performance. This means using simplified representations for complex objects, reducing the level of detail where high precision is unnecessary, and ensuring that the model elements are properly classified and structured.
File Size Management
Large file sizes can significantly impact performance in other tools. Compress textures, and use references instead of embedding data where possible. Consider splitting large models into smaller, manageable files if the software allows.
Ensure that all necessary attributes and metadata are correctly assigned to the elements. This includes information like material properties, element classifications, and user-defined attributes. However, avoid overloading elements with excessive metadata.
Use of Standardized Elements and Templates
Stick to industry-standard elements and templates to ensure compatibility across different software. Custom or proprietary elements may not translate well in other tools.
In the authoring tool, carefully select the IFC export settings. Choose the appropriate IFC version and schema that aligns with the requirements of the target software. Select settings that favor performance, like excluding unnecessary data types.
Quality Assurance and Validation
After exporting, validate the IFC file using specialised tools to check for errors, compliance with standards, and overall integrity of the data. This step is crucial to identify and fix any issues that might affect performance in other tools.
Collaboration and Communication
If the IFC file is part of a collaborative project, communicate with other stakeholders to understand their requirements and expectations. This helps in tailoring the export process to meet the specific needs of all involved parties.
Continuous Learning and Adaptation
Stay updated with the latest standards and best practices in IFC exporting. The field is continually evolving, and keeping abreast of new developments can significantly improve the performance of your models in other tools.
Document your export process and settings for future reference and for use by other team members. This ensures consistency and efficiency in subsequent exports.
By following these steps, you can optimise the performance of your IFC files in other tools, ensuring effective interoperability and collaboration in BIM projects.