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IFC Import/Export - Revit/BricsCAD

Anyone having a step by step instruction on how to work through IFC import/export on projects where some are using Revit and other BricsCAD V16? I guess the first step should be to make sure that the Revit users have installed the latest version of Revit IFC Exporter.

BIM is rather new in most ares of the Middle East. For many the announcement by Dubai Municipality, that "BIM has to be used on certain type of projects", have created great confusion. Autodesk Dealers are using this confusion to point out that Revit = BIM, and sell Revit licenses and training the best they can.

I have a large potential client working on a project where Revit/BIM is being used. They don't want to buy new Revit licenses and rather want to invest in BricSCAD V16 Platinum, but I don't have the necessary experience to guide them through the process of using IFC import/export in this information exchange process. They have tested IFC import to BricsCAD but claim that some information in the model is missing compared to in Revit. I guess that might be due to the way the information is exported from Revit and maybe also that the latest version of Revit IFC Exporter is not installed.

Any step by step instruction or guidance related to the IFC process will be very much appreciated. 


  • Hi Per,

    Firstly the IFC format still seems to be somewhat of a notional ideal, the holy grail of a neutral file format that seamlessly transfers all information between the various BIM applications still has some way to go. i.e. You are likely to strike discrepancies when transferring in IFC format between differing BIM applications.

    Around the world a number of government bodies are making declarations that BIM must be used on future projects. However other than a statement, they do not necessarily have any understanding of what they are actually asking for. To be clear BIM is not a file format. You could create a model with BricsCAD that fulfils all the requirement of BIM within the .dwg file format. The Bricsys BIM module is one example of this, and I'm sure that you could argue that many of BricsCAD's 3rd party applications also meet this requirement. i.e. You can meet the requirements of BIM without ever using the IFC format. Many CAD vendors are taking advantage of this confusion by stating you can get full BIM compatability providing you use there products. This is disingenuous, as many interpret it to mean full interoperability, which it most certainly is not.

    In terms of specifics
    • I would approach the Dubai Municipality and seek clarification on their expectations. If they require IFC format for submissions, then I would confirm the required schema. Inspecting the header of IFC files generated in BricsCAD it would seem that BIMEXPORT is using the IFC2X3 schema.

    • For Interoperability between Revit and BricsCAD, you will most likely find it a lot better to use .dwg as the transferring format. It really comes down to the information you are expecting to receive, and what you are expected to supply in return. Revit can export to .dwg in a number of different ways, in 2D and 3D, ACIS output is also and option. I would create a document that clearly defines how files are to be transferred to you, as well as the format you will publish in. Include this document, and reference in any Tender or contract you enter into.

    • BricsCAD BIM is still in development. BIMEXPORT, and BIMIFCIMPORT aren't currently documented, and are likely subject to change. I would raise a support request with Bricsys to get some dialogue around your requirements.

    Jason Bourhill

  • Hi Jason,

    Thank you for the input. The part with Dubai Municipality has been clarified, they don't want any other information submitted than before. They have simply stated that on building of a certain size and above, BIM has to be used. No other requirements. They leave it up to developers, consultants and contractors to define the use of BIM and what information to put into the model.This is where the so-called BIM consultants/specialists come in and present Revit as the only way forward.

    The most important thing here is how do we make it easy for users of different applications (Revit/BricsCAD) to work and interact on the same project and same BIM model. The potential client I referred to is in Abu Dhabi and work on a project in Qatar, and I don't think using .dwg will meet the requirement for BIM information exchange. I do understand what you mean, maybe the contractor doesn't need to update any information on the BIM model, but only need the information you get from the .dwg file to do their part of the job. 

    I have already requested Bricsys for more information, and even a proper presentation, regarding the BIM interaction between Revit and BricsCAD. But I guess they now have gone on Christmas vacation. 

    Thanks again and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

    Per O Gogstad

  • Hi Per,

    We are witnessing similar situation in India also, where many customers and statutory bodies sing the BIM (read Revit) mantra as the cure-all for all CAD ills. And of course, this is because of years of brain-washing to make them believe that it is either Revit-BIM or nothing else.

    The truth is that a poorly designed BIM is a hundred times bigger disaster than well designed traditional CAD.

    BIM is a fashion statement today. If you are not in it, you are considered an old hat. But BIM is for real and a game changer - only if you are willing to invest in understanding it. Even the most well-known BIM today is not without problems. I have heard this from the big companies themselves who admit the problems when it comes to sharing data exported with RVT files to other CAD systems. And that is precisely why someone is in a great overdrive to migrate everyone to using RVT BIM.

    When someone like Dubai Municipality says "All data must be in BIM format", it is clearly a diktat doing the talking.

    BricsCAD BIM may not yet be there to shake up the market leaders but is surely heading in the direction to offer an open-enough platform and a industry-standard neutral file format .dwg that you can always be confident of using with your perpetual license software.

    As for IFC, agreed, it is the most neutral format but is more of a schema that offers data definition and content for a specific line of BIM workflow. I would not imagine it being possible to completely define an entire 3d building (with all its works) using IFC alone.

    The question to ask Dubai Municipality is this. What is it they want in a BIM submission?

    If you can explain how the BricsCAD .dwg BIM data contains materials and compositions, dynamic live sectioning, intelligent model regeneration and an option to export data in IFC when necessary, to me, that is as much BIM as any other BIM can be.

    Best Regards
    Rakesh Rao
    Smarter .dwg CAD

  • Hi Per,

    This is an important topic, if you require any technical assistance please feel free to get in touch. Like Rakesh we are seeing a similar situation evolving in Australasia.

    Jason Bourhill

  • Hi Rakesh,
    I never claimed that Dubai Municipality says "All data must be in BIM format". They have only stated that project above a certain size "should use BIM" and they don't require the model to be presented them. I think keeping everything very open like this with no specific requirements is part of the confusion. 
    This is not a matter of telling but what the .dwg file made on BricsCAD contain of BIM data, but how do we work together with BIM on a project where you have both Revit, BricsCAD and other applications supposed work seamlessly together.
    I have just spoken with the IT Manager of the engineering company testing out BricsCAD on Revit BIM and suggested .dwg file export from Revit to be used with BricsCAD. At the same time I asked what type of information they were requited to feed into the project BIM model, if any. He told me that they have been asked only to update the BIM model at the end of the project. For that purpose they had been asked to buy Naviworks from Autodesk. 
    When it comes to BIM introduction and knowledge, I have tried to find some simple instructions and information on the internet that I can share with people. I found the two attached documents from Natspec in Australia to be rather useful -
    It is also interesting reading in the NBS National BIM Report 2015 from UK. They have worked with BIM for many years and have tons of experience.

    Per O Gogstad


  • Hi Per,
    The Open BIM Alliance has been formed, partly in response to the mischief being put about that "BIM=Revit". 
    Our company Sofoco has joined OBA and we hope that Bricsys will also join.

    Revit has serious issues communicating with any non-Revit system.  It is a poor tool for importing 3D solid geometry from AutoCAD DWG files, let alone other formats.  So a Revit user has to do a lot of work to collaborate with other systems.  As Rakesh says, this is probably the reason for the big push to get everybody using Revit.  Even if the whole project team could buy Revit, one can't use Revit to design roads or carparks or furniture or to do steelwork shop detailing.  You can do these things in BricsCAD.

    Autodesk has NavisWorks as a tool for bringing different model formats together.  But of course NavisWorks cannot be used to edit these files.

    On the other hand, Revit can export ACIS solids to a DWG file which is easily opened and edited by BricsCAD.  BricsCAD and DWG files can be used like Navisworks to view and often to edit other consultants data.

    It is probably wise of Dubai not to define exactly what they want.  I would interpret their direction as a push for the industry to move in this direction and to start learning what the issues are.

  • IFC is a open format which is allways readable and 'descipes' all object information. For this open and readable character it will loose speed and is will become slow. Importig will take some time.  IFC should be considered like a 'moving box' to get stored information out of fileformat 'A', into to fileformat 'B' I like to think all CAD is CAD, either Revit, Tekla, AutoCAD, alls i CAD. To view IFC there are many tools. The beauty of IFC is that you do not have to depend on one developer. AutoCAD Civil3D can read eand export IFC as well. But this is programmed for use of road and meter models. It would be nice to have IFC import / export available as addon for AutoCAD and BricsCAD. What i miss in IFC is 'the drawing part', paperspace!

    Just my thought of IFC and BIM i like to share with you.

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