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The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) format is a global standard for data exchange in the Building Information Modelling (BIM) workspace. IFC is both a common data model and an open file format.

The intended use of the format is to exchange and share information within different BIM applications, typically used within the building and facility engineering sector. The model contains information pertaining to the building, which may include the geometry, but is not limited to this, as it also provides data on spatial building elements such as the properties, quantities, classification, etc. BuildingSMART is responsible for developing and maintaining the IFC specification.

IFC describes a common schema to exchange all data between BIM applications. Not all data needs to be exchanged every time, data exchange is typically achieved with subsets. The subsets of the schema are called Model View Definitions (MVD). The MVD is used to define the purpose and contents of an IFC file and how it relates to the import and export settings of the BIM application. Understanding the different views are important when producing, consuming, or requiring them. The different MVD’s currently supported by the IFC schema are as follows:

Coordination View: This subset of IFC is used during the design phase of a construction project to coordinate between the architectural, structural engineering, and building services.

Structural Analysis View: The subset that allows the exchange of a structural analysis model from one structural analysis application to another.

Design Transfer View: The intent of the subset is to allow the consumer to manipulate and edit parts of the model.

Quantity Take-Off View: The subset that is used to handover the building information model to estimate and calculate the cost of the building.

FM Handover View: This subset is for handing over the relevant facility management information such as the spaces, furniture, fixtures, and equipment to Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software.

Sumo reads/writes IFC files in the Structural Analysis View and can write to the Design Transfer View as well. Revit reads/writes IFC files in the coordinate view. Which makes communication between Sumo and Revit impossible through the IFC format, however, PROKON has developed Prodesk to bridge this gap. Prodesk allows you to interchange models between Revit and Sumo (and Frame), bypassing the IFC format. Prodesk is an add-in for Revit and forms part of the Structural Integration Bundle.

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