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IFC4 export and other IFC improvements

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

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IFC4 export and other IFC improvements

IFC4 export and other IFC improvements

IFC4 - New version of IFC standard

The new version of the 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.

standard, IFC4, provides some advantages to the currently used IFC2x3 format when the new features are taken fully into use. While the IFC4 export and import are not certified yet, the IFC2x3 still provides better quality data transfer between different BIMprocess of modeling and communicating the structure of a building in detail to benefit the entire construction life cycle

BIM facilitates the exchange and use of building information in a digital format.

tools. IFC4 was already available in Tekla Structures 2017 SP1, now there are some more options available in the dialog box, and the whole functionality has been developed further.

  • 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.

  • To start the IFC4 export , on the File menu, click Export > IFC4.

IFC4 contains the following new and improved features compared to the IFC2x3 export:

  • In the IFC4 export, there are two new export types available:

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

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

    • For conversion purpose there is another export type Design transfer view. 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 for converting the IFC entities to Tekla Structures native objects. Typically. the import and conversion are only needed a couple of times, or even once only. The result may require some rework to accomplish a proper model.

  • The dialog box has a new look and feel. All options are now on one page, not on several tabs.
  • The basic functionality is the same as that of the IFC2x3 export.
  • The Layer names as setting now supports also phases and attributes in addition to part names.
  • You can export a default set of properties or a minimum set of properties:

    • Default exports the default set of properties.

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

  • You can export flat wide beams as plates.
  • You can also use locations from Organizertool that is used for categorizing and managing model information, object properties and object property queries, and model object classification

    Organizer consists of two tools, object browser and categories.

    , which means that you use the spatial hierarchy created in Organizer in 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 about the export process, exported entities, and errors 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.

Improvements in IFC object conversion

New colors in IFC object conversion

The IFC object conversion list now has more distinctive colors.

  • If there is an error in the conversion, the object is marked as lila on the conversion list and in the model viewview that is represented in the modeling mode

    Model view is available also in the drawing mode and it is represented in its own window.


  • Converted objects appear as blue on the conversion list and in the model view. When you reopen the conversion change management, the objects appear gray.

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