Is the industry ready for IFC4?

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This page shows the status of IFC certification for a given software. As you can see, the list of IFC2x3 software is pretty long, all of them are certified in MVD called Coordination View 2.0. Though, with a pinch of salt I want to point out, that from the list of numerous IFC viewers/clash detecting software, I found only Solibri, DDS-CAD and usBIM to have IFC 2×3 Import certificates. I am especially concerned that the so-called Field BIM programs that are used on tablets on a construction site don’t have the certificate. In the case of constructing from the model with incorrect model representation, this can cause a serious risk of errors on site.

The side of the IFC4 certification process looks less satisfying. There is a list of software that is certified for export, but it’s much shorter than the list for IFC2x3. And it makes plodding progress. As an example, popular Revit obtained IFC4 Reference View certification no earlier than the end of 2020 (with the release of Revit 2021). Reference View and Design Transfer are new MVDs introduced by buildingSMART for IFC4 (more about them here).

So far, the number of software certified for Design Transfer export has been full and round 0. We definitely have to wait to be able to round-trip our models between software. Unfortunately, no certification process has even started. I am actually not sure whether buildingSMART has finished the test specification.

Certification for importing IFC4 looks even worse. Only two software have obtained the certificate (Tekla and BridgeBIM). All the other popular IFC viewers and checkers are still in the certification process. This means that after we open a model in the IFC viewer, we cannot be sure whether the software has processed the data correctly. As a matter of fact, even if a designer performs a correct export to IFC4, a BIM Coordinator can find issues (for example in graphic representation) that haven’t existed in the “pure” IFC4 file.

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