What types of BIM data are there?
If you have ever exported a
.ifc file to share a BIM model,
you are probably aware that you can store 3D geometry, and open it in
other programs. However, IFC files can store more than 3D geometry! As
you might expect, they also store:
- The class of object (e.g. is it a beam, a slab, a door, etc)
- Building name and floors (e.g. level 1 with an RL of X)
- Object materials (e.g. precast concrete, galvanised steel, etc)
- Object colours
- Object properties (e.g. this door has a name and 1 hour fire rating)
- Object construction types (e.g. this wall follows the typical
construction called PARTITION-01)
This data is able to feed the majority of the things you
annotate and tag in architectural documentation. So theoretically, if
you export an IFC from your program, it will store all of this
information in the right places. However, in practice this is rarely the
case, and from my experience, I can expect 30% of all objects to be
incorrectly classified (e.g. a piece of furniture might be bizarrely
called a wall, instead). This incorrect classification occurs relatively
consistently across all disciplines, and is a symptom of a lack of
understanding by the industry as a whole.
Although the majority of the industry is currently struggling to deliver
the minimum requirements, the good news is that BlenderBIM makes it easy
to get the basics right. Even more, BlenderBIM supports more
IFC features that are relatively unknown by most, such as:
- Storing documents, such as product brochures, warranties, and
certificates with the model.
- Using external classification systems, such as Uniclass, Omniclass,
- Defining external rendering and material assets, so that BIM models
can be used directly by CG artists and lighting simulations.
- Using version control, so you can identify who has changed
particular elements, when, and why. You can then undo changes, or
- Creating and storing 2D documentation directly from IFC models, that
are intelligently linked back to the IFC.
- Creating space boundaries for building energy analysis models with
- Creating project type libraries which can be reused across
- Storing design intentions and code compliance constraints.
- Storing asset data as part of the COBie standard for facility
- Storing construction sequencing data, or building maintenance
- So much more! It goes down to the details of the prevailing wind
directions for a window.
In the rest of this guide, we will introduce you to these concepts one by one.