Monthly Archives: March 2013

Certification 2.0: The first four products to receive buildingSMART’s Certification 2.0

March 22, 2013 — The first four products to receive the new-style buildingSMART certification 2.0 were recognised at the international meetings of buildingSMART in Waltham, MA, US on 12 March 2013. The certification acknowledges that the products have been tested and shown to comply with the IFC open standards for the functions specified within the testing environment.

The four successful products are Autodesk Revit Architecture, GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD, NEMETSCHEK Allplan and NEMETSCHEK Scia Engineer, which received certification for their export functionality. Other products are still in the process of being tested and audited. Certified products can display the buildingSMART certification logo on their packaging.

Rasso Steinmann, who leads buildingSMART’s Implementer Support Group, said: “Our certification is a stringent process and buildingSMART congratulates the successful vendors. The number of test actions to date is over 1,400 – an indication of how seriously we take the process.”

Jim Lynch, vice president, building and collaboration products of Autodesk, said: “We have many customers worldwide that mandate a neutral IFC file format and rely on it to ease the design, construction and maintenance of new and existing buildings. BuildingSMART’s IFC certification will allow our customers to facilitate more efficient, collaborative workflows; increase project team collaboration; and encourage data exchange and interoperability within a BIM workflow.”

Akos Rechtorisz, Open BIM program manager at GRAPHISOFT, said: “GRAPHISOFT, an IFC pioneer, has been involved in developing the IFC interface since 1996. We are proud to be among the very first to achieve certification for IFC 2×3 Coordination View Version 2.0 export, using ArchiCAD. The open-source IFC format allows our users to exchange data with the engineering disciplines using Open BIM workflows. Structural and MEP engineers worldwide connect to ArchiCAD using a variety of globally and locally used software programs.”

Aleš Široký, technical director from NEMETSCHEK Allplan, said: “This certification is an important step towards improving Open BIM collaboration among our customers and their partners. Nemetschek Allplan is commited to IFC as the industry standard, and our developers co-operate with other industry players so that we stay at the leading edge of Open BIM exchange.”

And Herman Oogink, CTO from Nemetschek Scia, added: “We are proud to belong to the first companies succeeded to pass the certification. It proves our commitment to open standards and Open BIM. We are convinced that open standards like IFC are a huge benefit for our clients who can choose to work with the best software that fits to their needs without worrying about exchanging of data.”

Full article here:


Benefits of BIM: Collaborating to Improve Cost Analysis

For BIM to work, sharing knowledge and expertise in order to empower collaborative thinking is paramount. The benefits of close collaboration between the architects and engineers or architects and contractors has been well explored but engineers Meinhardt and quantity surveyors Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) are now demonstrating to clients how the BIM approach can significantly improve the cost analysis of projects.

The team is currently working on an $80 million basement carpark and 15,000 square metre commercial office development. The complexities and potential risks around a project of this scale can be significant.

The Meinhardt and RLB team therefore wanted the ability to identify costly construction items at an early stage for the client so that they could allocate appropriate allowances against these risks or provide a platform to suggest alternative, more efficient design solutions.

They needed a faster, more efficient and more accurate way to confidently extract quantities, particularly on complex structure elements such as podiums and transfer floors.

Using BIM technology reduced the time spent doing manual measurements so that more time could be spent analysing data against benchmark information to provide valuable feedback to the design team regarding building efficiencies.

RLB was able to dynamically link models to the cost plan for more frequent updates allowing early notification to the team if the design is on budget at an earlier stage, rather than just after project milestones such as the schematic design or design development stages.

Meinhardt has worked closely with RLB to provide them with a detailed knowledge of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of REVIT modelling and its database to accurately map data to their costing software. By giving the QS intimate knowledge of their models and modelling techniques, including transparent, unbiased advice, the engineers have been able to highlight inaccuracies through software limitations or modelling exclusions and provide a robust, fully-zoned and managed model which accurately maps the building elements to the cost plan.

The detailed models, audited under a Meinhardt developed Model Management checking process, also contain additional parametric data, which maximises the amount of bulk quantification that can be processed by RLB on the project.

By Barry Orr, BIM Model Manager at Meinhardt & Allan Trotter Senior QS at Rider Levett Bucknall

A new Bent for COBie? Bentley BuildingSMART COBie Challenge 2013 results …

“Bentley’s model was by far the most complete and data-rich …” 

Bentley successfully participated in the ‘buildingSMART COBie Challenge 2013’ for architectural and mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) design using AECOsim Building Designer.

With 80 types, 1,397 components, 18,171 attributes, Bentley’s model was by far the most complete and data-rich, thus posing a greater potential for data mismatches/penalty minutes. (Autodesk: 37 types, 478 components, 8,748 attributes; Graphisoft: 31 types, 472 components, 4,346 attributes). Also, the challenge was conducted with a beta version of AECOsim Building Designer and issues that incurred penalty minutes will be fixed in the released application.

Arguably, penalty minutes for content quality of the reproduced sample model have little relevance for the compliance with the COBie requirements of the output. Therefore, the conclusion that ‘a user utilizing Bentley software would have to spend 3.6 hours fixing/cleaning the COBie file’ is rather arbitrary and meaningless as it depends on the type of data, size of the model, skill of the user, etc.


IFC4 officially released. The Evolution of BIM.


Congratulations to Dr Thomas Liebich and the team on the public release of IFC4!

IFC4 Officially Released

After over 6 years of development and over 1100 issues being resolved, on 12. March 2013 buildingSMART international has finally released the new generation of IFC schemas – IFC4. It will now be the basis of future work of establishing new open BIM enabled work flows by defining new IFC4 based model view definitions. The official IFC4 release includes both the IFC4 EXPRESS schema to support current STEP-based IFC exchanges, and the ifcXML4 XSD schema to support new simple ifcXML transactions.

Visit the full announcement at 


A recent article regarding the significant improvements to the IFC4 schema was included in the Spring edition of JBIM (Journal of Building Information Modelling) by Tim Chipman is deputy leader of buildingSMART International’s Model Support Group.


IFC4: Evolving BIM By Tim Chipman

Tim Chipman is deputy leader of buildingSMART International’s Model Support Group and develops software at Constructivity.
JBIM (Journal of Building Information Modelling) is an official publication of the National BIM Standard (NBIMS) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) 

In recent years, the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard for building information modelling (BIM) has seen widespread adoption, supported by approximately 150 registered software applications.

This article describes the next evolution across software applications. The goal of IFC has always been to describe how building information can be leveraged across applications within and across vertical industries, supporting the vast array of disciplines encountered in the building industry. To be useful across such a large ecosystem, such standards must capture necessary detail to describe how a building is to be built, along with the many non-physical aspects describing who is doing what, when, how and why.

Meanwhile, many downstream applications are only concerned with subsets of this information. Another aspect to address is the format of information, which must accommodate changing technology and diverse platforms, such as phones, tablets, desktops and servers.

For basic applications, XML provides ease of integration; compact formats such as STEP Physical Format (SPF) are more practical for representing buildings in detail; spread sheets such as Excel provide access to a wide range of users without custom software; and databases of various forms may support collaboration among concurrent users.

Meanwhile, as more applications adopt IFC, customers have asked for deeper integration to capture more detailed information across applications in a consistent way. To support this growing usage, IFC has evolved with initiatives on multiple fronts.

Data model: A number of enhancements have been introduced in IFC4, with a focus on system-wide improvements while maintaining backward compatibility.

Parametric design: While buildings are ultimately made of discrete components, during the design process it is often desirable to use higher-level representations reflecting the design intent, so that changes can be made in one place, where the composition and layout of components, can be automatically updated to reflect the change.

IFC4 introduces the concept of material profiles, where axis-based components, such as beams, pipes and ducts, can be described by paths and cross-sections of materials, along with offsets relative to the axis and end points. Similarly, a concept of material constituents has been introduced where components, such as doors and windows, can have various parts (for example, framing and glazing) designed by geometric aspects and corresponding materials. Material layers allow flat components, such as slabs and walls, to be described by material thicknesses and boundaries with offsets.

Geometry: IFC4 expands geometry to support more complex shapes as well as simplified geometry. Complex shapes may be exactly described using Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) curves and surfaces. Simplified shapes may be described using tessellated surfaces with compact lists of vertices and triangles, providing the closest mapping to GPUs and more efficient processing as may be suitable for mobile applications.

Libraries: IFC4 supports capturing templates of products, processes, resources and property sets. These files can be referenced by other IFC files that include instances of such templates.

Ports: Ports provide the capability for MEP elements to connect through pipes, ducts or wires. IFC4 extends the capability for defining ports at product templates and standardizes ports on objects according to product type. For example, a water heater may have ports for gas or electricity as input, cold water in and hot water out. This enables products from different manufacturers to be intelligently connected according to system type and connection geometry.

Processes: IFC4 expands the process model to support scheduling of tasks, procedures and events, with expanded detail as found in leading scheduling applications and 4D simulations. Process templates allow common processes to be captured in libraries and re-used.

Resources: IFC4 expands the resource model to track costs and environmental impacts of materials, labour, equipment and other project resources with expanded detail. Resource templates allow common resources to be captured in libraries and re-used.

Constraints: The constraint model has been formalized so that requirements may be directly validated on any object attribute, either directly or along a graph of objects and collections. For example, a requirement may indicate that the height of a space must exceed a certain length. Constraints may also be used to indicate mapping of data to external files, conflicts when multiple versions of a model are merged, formulas based on calculations from other attributes and tables of values that apply for parametric modelling.

Documentation: Published as ISO 16739, the documentation for IFC had to undergo rigorous adaptation to meet requirements for formatting and content. At the same time, documentation was expanded to provide real usage examples for hundreds of product types, while eliminating redundancy by organizing common concepts in a central place. Documentation is now multi-lingual, with translations in five languages as of this writing.

Definitions: IFC, along with hundreds of other engineering standards, is defined using the EXPRESS data definition language, where the rich semantics allow virtually any other schema representation to be derived. The IFC4 documentation now includes a simplified XSD-based representation for all data types, enabling XML to be used in a more compact form with better readability.

Diagrams: Instance diagrams are now included for all data types. Because building Journal of Building Information Modelling components in the real-world have a vast number of relationships (for example, how connected, where placed, when constructed, who is responsible and what changed). Relationships must also be captured in data model, where diagrams make it more clear how the various objects interact.

Examples: Sometimes it is easier for software developers to understand new concepts by seeing tangible examples rather than sifting through definitions. The IFC4 documentation now includes a comprehensive set of examples in various domains including: architectural; structural; mechanical, electrical and plumbing scheduling; and estimating.

Model views: While the IFC specification defines how to represent BIM electronically, it does not indicate what should be included for particular scenarios. The concept of a model view definition (MVD) has evolved to fulfil this role, describing exactly what information must be included for a handover, such as for a building maintenance request.

Contracts may be written to require information at a particular stage using the referenced model view, where submissions may be electronically validated and enforced.

mvdXML: In parallel with IFC4, the MVD approach has been formalized so that requirements may be defined in a way that is computer-interpretable, yet human-readable in resulting documentation, using a format called “mvdXML.” MVDs may also define mapping formats for translating information into general-purpose applications such as spread sheets. The electronic encoding of MVDs now also makes it possible for a new class of software applications to adapt data to conform to the MVD without prior knowledge.

Tools: buildingSMART International has provided a new tool called ifcDOC for authoring model view definitions and producing resulting schemas, documentation and diagrams. “is same tool is used for generating IFC documentation, the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) specification and a growing population of MVDs.

To take advantage of new BIM capabilities and much-improved software interoperability, visit to find the growing list of applications supporting IFC4.

The National BIM Standard and the National Institute of Building Sciences are pleased to announce the continuation of our relationship with Matrix Group Publishing in the production of the Journal of Building Information Modeling, an essential information source on business, standards and technical issues related to BIM.

dRofus 1.6 beta introduces ArchiCAd Add-On beta

For several years dRofus have offered a flexible bi-directional plug-in for Revit users. Now dRofus announces their first ArchiCAD Add-On is now in BETA for testing. This first release focuses on linking and synchronizing rooms, areas and room parameters, making the daily workflow for ArchiCAD users more flexible and effective when working with dRofus.

The ArchiCAD Add-On is distributed with dRofus. To access the ArchiCAD Add-On you need to run dRofus version 1.6. If you have an older version installed, please download the latest BETA from the download page and install it.
dRofus 1.6.0 BETA is available here.

After installation of dRofus, close any open ArchiCAD applications and log in to dRofus. From the top menu in dRofus select dRofus. Install ArchiCAD Add-on.The Add-On is installed and available the next time you start ArchiCAD.

Userguide for the ArchiCAD Add On can be downloaded here.

Other highlights in dRofus 1.6 BETA

  • ArchiCAD AddIn
  • Unlink room in Revit/AC
  • Create single room from Revit link dialog
  • IFC export from TIDA (pilot)
  • Write to groups from Revit
  • TIDA Ifc import: Read project units in file when importing data
  • Improvements
  • Hyperlink to ‘Forgot Pasword’ site from in the ‘Wrong password’ error dialouge box
  • Flexible codes on room templates
  • Linked/not linked report window in Revit/ArchiCAD


“Time” to rethink? COBie Challenge Results (are in)

The full bSa Challenge Overview and Information can be found here:

OK OK OK … Get to the Results!!

The results of the COBie Challenge for Architectural Design, Coordinated Design, and Construction Handover phases are shown in the table below.

So, of the “Big Three” … Autodesk out performed Bentley by a factor of 24x? By 210 minutes?
And in comparison to Graphisoft? Well their results were shocking (***so much so that I will have to look into this further).

But, to highlight the three main criticisms for each of the “mainstream” vendors:


“Format Compliance: This company successfully completed the construction COBie challenge by producing the handover COBie file of the Medical Clinic model. Based on the quality control report, there was only one small error that incurred a one minute penalty with respect to the internal consistency of the output format that would require an estimated 5 minutes to correct.

Content Quality: The vendor did not produce the 100% of the sample data; however the produced data was very accurate to expected sample data found on the project drawings. Based on the content quality criteria a 4 minutes penalty was applied as described in the session above. In sum a total of 5 minutes was applied for the submitted file. This means that a user utilizing Autodesk Revit 2013 software is estimated to have to spend 9 minutes cleaning/fixing the COBie file for a facility of comparable size and complexity.”



“Format Compliance: This company successfully completed the construction COBie challenge by producing the handover COBie file of the Medical Clinic model. No errors were encountered based on the quality control report; therefore no penalty was applied for the data format, delivery of required fields, and proper referencing across the worksheets.

Content Quality: The quality of the produced data did not match 100% to the sample data provided and penalties were applied as described above. A total of 218 minutes (3.6 hours) penalty was applied for the data mismatch. This means that a user utilizing Bentley software would have to spend 3.6 hours fixing/cleaning the COBie file.


“Format Compliance: This company successfully completed the construction COBie challenge by producing the handover COBie file of the Medical Clinic model. Based on the quality control report, were zero errors identified.

Content Quality: The vendor produced the architectural data of the model for a portion of the original clinic model. However, the provided data was inconsistent with the sample data which resulted in a penalty of 503 minutes (8 hours). This means that a user utilizing this product is estimated to have to spend 8 hours cleaning/fixing the COBie file for a facility of comparable size and complexity.”

BIM in Healthcare Summit 2013

The inaugural BIM in Healthcare Summit will provide the latest case studies to illustrate and examine the benefits and challenges to BIM implementation, how BIM affects project delivery, costs and the return-on-investment in the context of an unprecedented increase in hospital development and re-development in Australia.

Join leaders of healthcare facilities management, architects, construction and engineering firms, BIM experts and Government representatives at the very first BIM in Healthcare conference on 26-27 March 2013 at Royal in the Park, Brisbane.

By attending, you will hear an international keynote presentation by Tor Asmund Evjen, Project Manager, St.Olav Hospital, Norway,and 15+ key presentations, perspectives and case studies.

The program has recently been updated – View the new agenda

Organisations participating include: DesignInc | SA Department of Health & Ageing | Woodhead | Thiess | Autodesk | Graphisoft Australia | Mott MacDonald Australia | Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland | Bendigo Health | Silver Thomas Hanley | Ballarat Health Services | Steensen Varming | HYLC | John Holland | Billard Leece Partnership | AHDC | Queensland University of Technology | Mitchell Brandtman | Rice Daubney | WSP Group | AEC Connect | Australia Institute of Architects and Consult Australia | BVN Donovan Hill | Norman Disney & Young | NZ Health Design Council | Arup | Peddle Thorp | Woodhead | BSA | And many more….


BIM in Healthcare: Panacea or Placebo?
Jason Howden, Group BIM Manager – Woodhead; AHDC BIM Committee Chair
Matt Rumbelow, Director, REVITALL Systems; AHDC Partnerships Manager

  • A snap shot of projects using BIM in health care
  • A review of current BIM tools (design, construction and commissioning)
  • BIM software in healthcare: The diagnosis
  • Current and future directions globally and locally

The health of BIM in Health Facility Design

Jason Howden, Group BIM Manager – Woodhead; AHDC BIM Committee Chair
Matt Rumbelow, Director, REVITALL Systems; AHDC Partnerships Manager
  • BIM and Facility Guidelines
  • BIM and procurement
  • BIM and healthcare content: is caring sharing?
  • Open (& shut) BIM and health design

To register or see the agenda or for further information about the conference, please visit:

Endorsed by