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Export a Tekla Structures model or selected model objects to an IFC file

Last updated September 6, 2017 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

Software version: 
2017i

Export a Tekla Structures model or selected model objects to an IFC file

Export a Tekla Structures model or selected model objects to an IFC file

You can export Tekla Structures model or a part of the model into an IFCfile format commonly used in BIM that facilitates software interoperability

IFC is an open specification developed by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability).

Model can be exported into an IFC file.

file.

Before you start the export:

  • Define the IFC entities for Tekla Structures model objects.
  • Define the needed property sets.
  • If you export the IFC file using the base pointpoint in a model that is used to define a starting point in surveying and that is used as an anchor point in coordinate and height transformations

    A Tekla Structures project can have several base points but only one of them can be the project base point.

    Base points allow the use of another coordinate system needed for interoperability and collaboration. Base points can also be used in drawings, and in reports and templates. Model origin is the default base point in Tekla Structures.

    Base points are also called control points.

    , define the base point.
  • Note that to successfully export concrete parts, ensure that the advanced option XS_ENABLE_POUR_MANAGEMENT is set to FALSE. To export pour objects instead of the concrete parts, set the advanced option XS_ENABLE_POUR_MANAGEMENT to TRUE and select the Pour objects check box on the Advanced tab of the Export to IFC dialog box.

Define IFC entities for Tekla Structures model objects

Before you export Tekla Structures model objects to IFC, you can define the resulting IFC entities for the exported model objects in the user-defined attributes of the objects.

  1. Double-click an object, for example a column, to open the part properties dialog box, and click the User-defined attributes button.
  2. On the Parameters tab, set Load bearing to Yes , if you want to define the user-defined attributeobject property created by the user in order to widen the range of predefined object properties

    User-defined attributes are used when the predefined object properties are not sufficient but more properties are needed. For example, comment, locked, and erection status are user-defined attributes.

    LOAD_BEARING for the exported object.

    Set this option to No for all non-load bearing objects. Yes is the default value.

  3. On the IFC export tab, select an option in the IFC entity list to define the IFC entity for the exported model objectobject that is represented in a model

    A model object is either created in a model or imported into it.

    .

    Below is a list of entities available for a different types of Tekla Structures objects:

  4. In the IFC export type list, select Auto or Brep :
    • The Auto option will automatically select what kind of Swept Solid IFC object a Tekla object becomes in the IFC.
    • If Auto fails for some reason (such as with a deformation) , the export reverts to Brep automatically, and creates a meshreinforcement that represents a mesh of steel bars in two perpendicular directions

      In Tekla Structures, the reinforcement mesh bars in one direction are called main bars and reinforcement mesh bars perpendicular to them are called crossing bars.

      -based IFC object with less intelligence. These objects are data heavy but still geometrically correct.
    • Brep will force the IFC object to be always mesh based.
  5. Click OK in the user-defined attributes dialog box.
  6. Click OK in the part properties dialog box.

Export to IFC

  1. Select the model objects to export.

    If you want to export all model objects, you do not have to select anything.

  2. On the File menu, click Export > IFC.
  3. Browse for the Output file location and replace the name out with the desired file name.

    IFC files are by default exported to the \IFC folder under the model folderfolder that is used for storing files associated with a model

    Tekla Structures stores all files associated with a model in a folder it creates with the same name as the model database (.db1).

    In multi-user mode all users access the same model folder.

    . The length of the file path is limited to 80 characters. You do not need to enter the file name extension, it will be automatically added according to the selected File format.

  4. Define the export settings:
    Option Description
    Parameters tab
    File format The options are IFC , IFC XML , zipped IFC , and zipped IFC XML.
    Export type

    Surface geometry is ideal when the need is to view the model without any need for re-using or editing:

    • Reinforcing bars are exported as B-rep.

    • Export does not support CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry).

    • Curved elements are exported as B-rep.

    • Bolts are exported as B-rep.

    The certified Coordination view 2.0 is recommended to be used when the geometry needs to be edited and modified in the receiving application:

    • Reinforcing bars are exported as extrusions.

    • Export uses CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) for presenting cuts and voids.

    • Curved elements are exported as extrusions.

    • Bolts are exported as B-rep.

    Steel fabrication view is recommended for exporting detailed information on steel objects for steel fabrication:

    • Exports assembly presentation and dedicated property sets.

    • Bolt holes are exported as voids.

    • Steel fabrication model view configuration file for property sets and properties ( IfcPropertySetConfigurations_AISC.xml ) is included in the installation by default.

    Coordination view 1.0 is recommended to be used instead of Coordination view 2.0 when you need to have voids and openings presented by using opening elements:

    • Reinforcing bars are exported as extrusions.
    • Voids and openings are exported as opening elements (ifcOpeningElements).
    • Curved elements are exported as extrusions.
    • Bolts are exported as B-rep.

    Which export type to select?

    • The certified Coordination view 2.0 should be your default.
    • If the model is used only for viewing purposes, or as a reference model, Surface geometry is your choice.
    • Coordination view 1.0 is for those who need to export openings as separate objects.
    • Steel fabrication view is for the fabrication workflow, and to be provided for manufacturing.
    Additional property sets
    • To define a new property set , select <new> and click Edit.

    • To use an additional property set created earlier, select the property set from the Additional property sets list.

    Location by

    Model origin exports the model relative to 0,0,0.

    Work plane exports the model relative to the current work plane coordinate system.

    Base point: <name of base point> exports the model relative to the base point using coordinate system values East , North , Elevation , Angle to North and Latitude/Longitude from the base point definition in Project properties.

    Advanced tab
    Object types

    Select the object types to export.

    If you select Pour objects , cast in place concrete parts are exported as pour objects.

    If you select Assemblies , you can exclude single part assemblies by selecting Exclude single part assemblies in the Other area.

    Property sets

    The option Base quantities includes in the exported IFC file a Quantity takeoff add-on view containing additional information on the entities in the exported IFC model.

    For more information about the base quantities, see IFC base quantities in exported IFC model.

    Property sets: Default exports the default set of properties.

    Property sets: Minimum exports the minimum set of properties required by the buildingSMART IFC standard. To view the property sets, click View.

    Other

    Layer names as part names uses part names, such as COLUMN and BEAM, as layer names for exported objects.

    Export flat and wide beams as plates exports flat and wide beams as plates. Select this option if you have modeled plates as beams or columns with flat profiles. For example, some system components use beams or columns instead of plates.

    Use current view colors exports the objects using the colors defined in object representation , not the class colors. Note that exporting object transparency settings is not supported.

    Select Exclude single part assemblies when you export assemblies.

    Locations from Organizer uses the spatial hierarchy created in Organizer in export.

    Do the following:

    1. Select Locations from Organizer.
    2. Create a project hierarchy in Organizer.
    3. In Organizer , right-click the project, and select Use for reporting.
    4. Before the IFC export, synchronize or write the Organizer data in the Tekla Structures model by right-clicking the project in Organizer , and selecting Write to model for reporting.
  5. Select either Selected objects or All objects to define the object selection for the export.
  6. Click Export.

Export to IFC4

You can export a Tekla Structures model or a part of the model into an IFC4 file.

Before you can start the IFC4 export in Tekla Structures , you need to set the advanced option XS_IFC4_EXPORT_PLEASE to TRUE in teklastructures.ini.

  1. Select the model objects to export.

    If you want to export all model objects, you do not have to select any objects.

  2. On the File menu, click Export > IFC4.

  3. In the File name box, enter the file name without a file name extension.

    The extension will be automatically added according to the selected Format. The length is not limited.

  4. Browse for the Folder location.

    IFC files are by default exported to the \IFC folder under the current modelmodel that is active in Tekla Structures

    The current model can be a single-user model, a shared model or a working model.

    folder.

    Both absolute and relative paths can be defined.

  5. In Selection , select whether you want to export All objects or Selected objects.
  6. Define other export settings:
    Option Description
    Format The options are Ifc and IfcZip.

    Export type

    The options are Reference view and Design transfer view.

    The Reference view is intended to support the referencing workflow, and exported files can be used as reference files, and viewed in a viewer. The Reference view is not meant to be used for conversion to native objects.

    Reference view also exports cuts and openings. They are considered reference information, and that is why they are not shown in IFC file viewers.

    Design transfer view is intended for the handover workflow, meaning import for further editing. This requires the conversion of the IFC entities into native objects. One example is the takeover of the structural engineering model (or part of it) into the basis of the structural detail modeling . The IFC object conversion will be used to convert the IFC entities to Tekla Structures native objects. Typically this import and conversion are only needed to be done a couple of times, or even once only. The result may require some rework to accomplish a proper model.

    Location by

    Model origin exports the model relative to 0,0,0.

    Work plane exports the model relative to the current work plane coordinate system.

    Property sets

    Default exports the default set of properties.

    Minimum exports the minimum set of properties required by the buildingSMART IFC standard.

    To view the property sets, click View.

    Additional property sets

    • To define a new property set , select <new> and click Edit.

    • To use an additional property set created earlier, select the property set from the Additional property sets list.

    • The additional property sets are stored in the \AdditionalPSet folder under the model folder.

    Layer names as

    You can use phases, part names, or attributes as layer names for exported objects. Select Name or Phase from the list, or type the attribute name in the box.

    To use a user-defined attribute as the layer name, add USERDEFINED. in the beginning, for example, USERDEFINED.comment.

    Locations from Organizer

    Locations from Organizer uses the spatial hierarchy created in Organizer in export.

    Do the following:

    1. Select Locations from Organizer.

    2. Create a project hierarchy in Organizer.

    3. In Organizer , right-click the project, and select Use for reporting.

    4. Before the IFC export, synchronize or write the Organizer data in the Tekla Structures model by right-clicking the project in Organizer , and selecting Write to the model for reporting.

  7. Click Export.
After the export an info dialog box is displayed. In this dialog box you can open the folder where the exported IFC model is stored, and view the log file in a browser. The log file gives detailed information of the export process, exported entities and the errors occurred during the export.

Limitations in IFC4 export

  • The export is not certified by buildingSMART and may therefore have syntax and content issues.
  • The user interface does not provide all the features included in the IFC2x3 export user interface.
  • Rebars created by using the rebar set commands are not exported to IFC4.
  • The Reference view is intended to be used for design coordination and for referencing workflow. Due to the API change, all the needed pieces of data may not be available and therefore the resulting IFC model may be incomplete.
  • We do not recommend using IFC4 in production projects yet.

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