Saturday, 10 March 2012

Digital Fabrication - BIM - Interoperability (and place for IFC)

In my previous post I talked about how to take Inventor part into Revit family using .ADSK file format.

Let's look at the bigger picture of interoperability between the two, Inventor & Revit.

As I discussed in my previous post, ADSK is better than SAT and DWG in a way that it brings material information and some identity parameters. But how different this is from IFC file format? IFC does do this and much more than ADSK (at this moment of time!). So why invent a new file format, ADSK? Maybe AutoDeSK has answer for this. The AEC industry has been suffering a lot due to interoperability issue so why add one more file format to already complex Interoperability issue. There may be some 'technical' reason to invent ADSK file format but while other high end parametric tools such as Digital Project can export IFC files and exchange with Revit (or other BIM tools) successfully then it is difficult to fathom why ADSK? Inventor cannot even export IFC files, somebody please correct me if I am wrong. Please see image below for the possible export options from Inventor.

We are working on a project where the entire facade was modelled in Digital Project and exported as IFC and imported straight into Revit. The result is amazing. It not only brings very clean 3D geometry but also brings in material information, with no compromise to file performance. The same IFC file imports fine in Navisworks and TeklaBIMSight. Wow! you can see the BIM jigsaw puzzle pieces coming together. Next, I wish we can import IFC files into Revit family environment so that components created by manufacturers in their BIM tools can be "shrinkwrap-exported" and brought straight into family file. As tools such as Inventor, Catia, Pro E etc are widely used in manufacturing industry adopting open standard file format such as IFC for information exchange makes more sense.

Conclusion: While the other organisations such as BuildingSmart, IAI, Tekla etc are working towards open standard file format, Autodesk could help the AEC industry/community by adopting open standard file format such as IFC as their preferred file format for information exchange rather than inventing new proprietary file formats.


  1. Nice post, right on the money.

    I'm working on a revit addon to import IFC models and generate/utilize native revit families and objects.

    There's still some issues to overcome, particularly for non vertical wall etc, but it's certainly a powerful opportunity.

    Feel free to get in touch if you want to test or learn more.

  2. Good work. Your article really help me on my paper presentation. keep on doing the good job. Thanks for sharing such beneficial information with us.

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