Case Studies

Interoperability testing: IFC2x3 site geometry exchange



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March 17, 2015 Rob Jackson

In the previous blog post we looked at a case study of our Cleveland Fire Brigade Training and Administration Building. An issue that emerged from this project was to do with how our site geometry was being exchanged into Solibri Model Checker. We quickly found a solution to resolve the issue into Solibri. However, sometimes finding a solution to one problem can result in unexpected results elsewhere.

At the same time as the Cleveland project we have been looking at how we can integrate Landscape Architecture into our ArchiCAD templates and use our site models to integrate useful data both for ourselves and others.

So I decided we needed to do a little more homework on the impact of our proposed solution for Cleveland and try and understand the implications for this and other projects. So with my colleague Matt Higton (BIM Specialist) we used a test file we had previously built (the file was created in Graphisoft ArchiCAD 17 (the settings are the same for 17 & 18) and all elements are modelled with ArchiCAD’s Mesh tool)and transferred the file into a variety of current software solutions.

We then decided to widen our testing and have also been kindly assisted by the following:

  • Jon Frost (BWB Consulting) who tested Autodesk A360 [added March 31st 2015] and Autodesk Infraworks 2015
  • Laurent Henin (BALLINIPITT) who tested Nemetschek Allplan 2015 [added March 24th 2015]
  • Léon van Berlo (TNO, Open source BIM collective /, Stumico) who tested
  • Neil Marshall (BIM.Technologies) who tested Nemetschek Vectorworks 2015
  • Robert Klaschka (Studio Klaschka) (and subsequently Shawn Foster (Black & Veatch Corporation)) who tested Bentley AECOsim Building Designer v8i (SELECTseries 5)
  • Steve Jackson (Tekla) who tested Tekla Structures 21

A massive thank you to all of them for providing a wider picture of file exchange.

A summary is included at the bottom of the post including a list of those that passed the test!

The test

This test is focussed on geometry and colour exchange of Site Geometry elements. Whilst the file does contain some data this is not the purpose of this test.

We should be clear that like previous interoperability tests the aim here is not to prove one software is better than another but to understand and identify the issues of our file transfer into other software. We have always believed that these tests, and ultimately reporting these issues, will help improve the quality of IFC file exchange. Open file exchange is crucial to the future of the industry particularly given the recent UK government announcement around Digital Built Britain BIM Level 3 (see Strategic Plan).

All test results are produced in good faith in order to assist those wanting to exchange open file formats using Graphisoft ArchiCAD. If you believe any errors exist with any of this post then please contact us immediately so we can rectify.

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