Built with Archilogic

IFC Integration

October 4, 2021

Elisa Feng

Integrating an Industry Standard

For us, the industry standard for building information modelling (BIM) is Revit, hands down. Ubiquitous across the board, it’s a powerful program that allows us to streamline collaboration and construction to the detail, but it really only works for people in the construction industry - think architects, structural and MEP engineers, etc. This leaves clients and anyone outside the industry unable to participate in the process of design, collaboration and creation. Not only is this inefficient and, often, a waste of time and resources, but it’s frustrating and outdated.

Imagine sending a client an .IFC file of their model, but because they don’t have Revit, they can’t open their 3D model. It’s elaborate, rigid and, we think, a little outdated. That’s why we created the Archilogic IFC Plugin PoC. 

This tool gives us the agility to communicate and collaborate with clients in real time with easy and effortless interactions. For us, we think spatial data should be accessible to everyone, not just industry insiders, because when you have an open flow of communication, you’re able to create more, work better, and push further. Our POC is a way for professionals to grant access to these powerful tools for their clients. Up until now, they couldn’t show them the elaborate 3D models they had and, instead, parallel workflows. That leads to unnecessary workflows.  

So we created an import & export feature for .IFC files. Transfer your Archilogic model to Revit to add technical details like piping, heating, etc. In contrast, you can also upload a Revit model to Archilogic and then send a sharable link to your client to view the model. 

Currently, this technology is a Proof of Concept.

How it works

At its simplest, our plugin allows you to import Revit data to Archilogic and Archilogic data to Revit. We do this by accessing the low-level features of Revit, ensuring minimum effort from the user. To do this, we decided a C# Revit 2019 plugin would be best.

When developing the exporting strategy, we had to take into consideration that Revit is a proprietary database. In response, we perform the basic queries to fetch the data we need, like: walls, floors, interiors, columns, kitchens, closets, and stairs. We then process the data from Revit to match the Archilogic format, transforming the reference point changes, unit conversions, and rotation consolidation. We then encode that data into the Archilogic JSON structure.

When Importing, we focused our attention on only importing Archilogic furniture elements to the Revit model. This process includes fetching scene data from Archilogic, parsing the JSON data to look for assets, loading Revit with standard furniture families; and then fetching asset metadata from Archilogic, like size, name and category. Next, we create the asset by configuring the corresponding Revit furniture family to match the Archilogic asset size (width, height, length). If a standard can’t be found, a generic cube that matches the size is populated. 

At this point, this plugin is still in development, but we understand the potential of what it can and cannot do; and we think it could potentially create a far better end-to-end experience for our users. What do you think?

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