IFC interoperability concepts

Last updated March 12, 2019 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

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IFC interoperability concepts

IFC interoperability concepts

Some common terms and concepts used in 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.

import, export, and conversion are explained below.


B-rep or boundary representationthe way that the information included in a model is represented visually

is a method for representing shapes using the limits. A solid is represented as a collection of connected surface elements, showing the boundary between solid and non-solid.


CSG or Constructive Solid Geometry is a technique used in solid modeling. CSG allows a modeler to create a complex surface or object by using Boolean operations to combine simpler objects.

Boolean operations on sets





Sweeping is allowing a two-dimensional planar cross sectiongeometrical form of a part sectioned perpendicular to its axis

to sweep through space.

Revolved extrusion

A revolved extrusion or a solid of revolution is a solid object that is obtained by rotating a plane cross section around a straight line (the axis) that lies on the same plane.

Arbitrary profiles

In addition to parameterized profiles, there is a free profile shape type called arbitrary profiles. These profiles are defined by an ifcCurve, which may have linear and curved segments. Thin wallplate that represents a structure such as a wall or roof panel

In Tekla Structures, a panel is created by picking two or more points.

In cast-in-place concrete the term wall refers to a concept similar to panel.

profiles can be defined by a centerline and a thickness. Other profiles are defined by a closed shape. Closed profile shape may or may not have inner voids.

Parameterized profiles

There are several parameterized profiles available in the IFC specification. Those include standard hot-rolled steel I, L, T, U, and Z profiles, cold formed C profiles, and generic rectangle and circle profiles with or without a hollow. These profiles are defined with their parameters, such as width, height, web thickness and flange thickness.

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