IFC 4.3 Final Standard: Approved and Available
One of the most significant standards for anyone using BIM with open-source software has received a highly anticipated update. The new IFC 4.3, which has been under development for some time, is now officially released. This means it can be utilized in production projects. To review the standard, here is the complete release.
A key feature of IFC 4.3 is its enhanced support for infrastructure projects, with improved capabilities to represent:
Additionally, it includes advanced features for managing MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) modeling.
One of the many benefits of working with IFC files, as opposed to other formats, is their nature as plain-text files. They can be opened and viewed using any plain text editor. However, editing and viewing IFC data as text is impractical due to the potential volume of content.
A major advantage of using a plain text format like IFC is the ease of interacting with these files through Python, or transferring your BIM files between different software applications.
Native IFC Editors
For those opting to adopt an openBIM workflow, there are currently two excellent editors supporting native IFC authoring and editing:
BlenderBIM is an add-on that transforms Blender into a powerful BIM tool, while FreeCAD offers robust parametric modeling capabilities, including a BIM workbench. If you're familiar with Blender, you can think of FreeCAD's workbenches as analogous to Blender Editors.
Using IFC as a Backup for BIM
Even if you're not ready to fully embrace the openBIM workflow by using BlenderBIM or FreeCAD for project development, IFC can still be an invaluable tool. An easy and effective use of IFC is as a backup for
your designs. Most BIM software can export to IFC files, including:
Always export a copy of your project files in IFC format upon completion. This practice ensures that you'll have access to your designs in the future, even if you no longer subscribe to the original software.