New interface for overruling IFC information

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A new feature has been developed that improves the way we can keep all information displayed in our 3D viewer up to date. It is a combination of information in the IFC and our database in which all changes during the maintenance of a building are recorded. So now the data layer and the 3D viewer are fully up to date.

An IFC is a relatively static file which is created from a 3D modeling program. This IFC file is used by BIMkeeper to provide the 3D view with the correct geometry and the all element information. The advantage of using IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) lies in the fact that it is an open standard used by all major 3D development programs.

The IFC file is stored in our database in a structured way. It is of course possible to make changes in this IFC, but those changes do not end up where you actually need them: in the source file of Revit or Archicad (or any other program). We have therefore developed a system that makes it possible to add information to the source file in a structured manner. We can add extra information to the the IFC database, without overwriting the original IFC, we just add extra information to the unique identifier(s) of an element or elements.

During maintenance, the information of a building is altered constanly. The important question is therefore: how to keep all information structured AND up to date?

If a BIM model is used, all elements have a unique identifier (GUID). GUIDs should always remain the same, even if the source file is modified. BIMkeeper links information to these GUIDs. We made this linked information leading. So the information that is shown firstly comes from the "linked" database. If there is no linked information, the information from the original IFC is displayed.

Few examples: a door that contains asbestos is replaced by a new door. From that moment on, this door should no longer be shown as an asbestos containing door. The viewer should show: this is a new door from brand X, material Y, etcetera. Or a central heating boiler of brand A is replaced by a new boiler of brand B.

So if you search for heating device, you will see the heating was replaced. In the viewer, you see exactly the same information. And of course you will also see the manual for brand B, the maintenance schedule, and all other relevant information on this new device.

These changes can now easily be made, without constantly having to update the BIM model in Revit, Archicad or any other source file.

If there is a reason to update the BIM model, the database will clearly show the modeller which information has in time been changed or supplemented. The modeler can then choose to include this information in the new BIM model. Or leave this information in the database. In both cases the correct current information is displayed.

Because the information in the database now overrules the IFC information, all information incorporated into the model by the modeller should be removed from the database. If the information is not archived, the information from the database takes precedence over the information in the new IFC. The GUIDs do not change, so the linked information never gets lost. Of course BIMkeeper offers a good overview of all changes.


How it works in a few simple steps.

"REVITFILE VERSION 1.0" => "IFC VERSION 1.0" <=> "DATABASE 1.0". All changes are recorded in the DATABASE 1.0, this information, linked to GUIDs, overrules the information in the IFCs.

If the source file needs to be updated, the following workflow starts:


2. Decide which information coming from the BIMkeeper database will be included in the new model. If a topic will be changed in the model, simply remove it from the database. This is more or less self-evident, and there is also a cross-check. New information in the IFC: do you want to show the information in the database or the IFC.

3. "REVITFILE 2.0" - "IFC VERSION 2.0" - "DATABASE 2.0"

In fact, database 2.0 is just a revised version of 1.0. Information that is now available in IFC 2.0, is no longer valid/necessary.

Now the cycle starts again.