FC CAD Interoperability and IFC Adoption  
 

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CAD Interoperability and IFC Adoption

I have previously mentioned the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) and their Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) schema in these pages. As I said then Asite are members of the IAI-UK chapter and we have done proof-of-concept work with the IAI in the past. I am a believer in the potential of this schema to change for the better the working practices of the design and engineering industries.

I followed an AECNews story through to the Graphisoft press releases behind it. Graphisoft is a CAD developer / vendor with a variety of solutions - headlined by Archicad which is a leader in the 3D modelling / "virtual-building" space. Archicad was an early adopter of the IFC schema, having first implemented an interface in 2000 if memory serves. This story is basically about Archicad's integration with a couple of structural tools, Tekla Structures/Staad Pro and ETABS. The ETABS integration is bi-directional input/output using IFC 2x2, whereas the integration with Tekla Structures uses an unspecified "xml-based API". I am guessing this is because Tekla does not support IFC ?

While I am looking around I can also see from the Computers and Structures website (the developers of ETABS) that they have an integration with Autodesk Revit Structure using the CSIxRevit Structure format rather than IFC - which I surmise was the choice of Autodesk.

All of this leads me to a question for which I cannot readily find an answer: is there a list somewhere of all of the products out there which support IFC data exchange?

Thinking that the IAI website would be a logical place to look - i did indeed find a link to this website, which appears to be hosted by a German education institution (not reading German I have some trouble divining all of the detail). This is clearly an attempt to do the job but it has a last update of January 30th, 2003 and so is three years out of date.

I hear a lot of anecdotal evidence of various products which have implemented interfaces for at least one version of the IFC schema and more and more you get the official publicity like the above reporting on a successful implementation. It would be great to be able to know whether two toolsets can be used together via an IFC link by referring to some publicly available central reference.

If anybody knows of something like this that I am missing please let me know. If there is nothing like this then I am of a mind to start one myself...

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