Creating an IFC model#

We’re going to create a new native IFC model from scratch, starting from a single shape, up to a simple building.

A BIM model is not just a 3D format. This means that you cannot just load any 3D model, and press a “Save as IFC” button. In fact, 3D is optional and you can have a large IFC model storing work schedules, cost rates, asset registers and more, and absolutely no 3D geometry at all.

However, in these tutorials, we will focus on basic 3D geometry. At a minimum, you will need to categorise your 3D elements (such as “Wall”, “Column”, “Window”, etc), and give them a location (such as “Level 01” of a building).

Creating a single object#

In the Properties panel in the bottom right, activate the icon for the Scene Properties tab, and find the IFC Project subpanel. Click on Create Project to create a blank IFC project.


In the top right Outliner panel, you will see a hierarchy of spaces that has been automatically created for you. This hierarchy is known is the Spatial Tree. The Camera, Cube, and Light come with a fresh new Blender session by default, and are not part of your IFC project.


Any Blender object that you want to be part of IFC project must be converted into a IFC object by assigning a category. This category is known as the IFC Class.

Select only the default Blender Cube (selected objects are highlighted in orange, careful not to select anything else!), switch to the Object Properties tab, and find the IFC Class panel. Let’s pretend our Cube is a column, so select IfcColumn from the Class drop-down, and press Assign IFC Class.



There are no restrictions on which IFC Class you can choose regardless of the shape of your object. You can have a monkey-shaped wall if you want!

All IFC objects must also belong inside the Spatial Tree. In the Outliner panel, you can drag and drop your newly created IfcColumn/Cube inside the IfcBuildingStorey/Ground Floor. Wasn’t that simple?


Go back to the Scene Properties tab and to the IFC Project panel and press Save Project. Save your new IFC model somewhere on your computer.


Congratulations! You have now created your first OpenBIM model from Blender! You can open the IFC file in any other program, and you will see something similar to the image below. Three simple open source online viewers you can test with are IfcPipeline, IFC.JS, and 3DViewer.


Placing occurrences of an element type#


Changing the locations of elements#


Modeling a simple building#