Bargain Basement BIM. SketchUP 2014 now has native IFC.



Want more BIM for your bucks?? The democratization of BIM has begun with the announcement that Trimble SketchUP now supports and exports to IFC.

As just posted on the SketchUP UPdate blog, for $500US you can now inter-operate with the most sophisticated (and expensive) tools in the #BIMbusiness, with one of the cheapest and easiest to use.


“The most important thing about SketchUp’s information modeling is that it offers you an unrestricted way to represent not just what a design looks like but also more of what it actually is. And you can do it without giving up the fast, fluid and ‘free’ modeling behavior that you fell in love with about SketchUp in the first place.

To prove that this system works, we’ve built a special workflow around IFC— an open classification system for folks who are doing BIM in the construction industry. You can classify components in your models with IFC types, assign and edit relevant attributes to those components and then export the resulting models into the IFC format for use in other BIM tools.

Classified Vignette_1

But don’t stop at IFC. In SketchUp 2014, you’re free to use any published schema to classify components in your models. Interested in COBie? Import the official COBie schema from BuildingSmart. Or maybe you’re more interested in something like gbxml for green building, or CityGML for urban simulation. Or, you might just want to make your own classification system. We’ve got you covered however you want to work.”

SketchUP 2104 Interoperability

IFC Export

Once you’ve classified the objects in your model, export an IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) file, wrapping up your project for use in another BIM application. Along with your model geometry, you’ll have access to all the valuable metadata you added in SketchUp Pro.


Enrich your model with important metadata and improve its compatibility with other building information modeling (BIM) tools. Our new Classifier tool tags geometry with industry-standard object types: walls, slabs, roofs, and hundreds more. Work with existing classification systems, or crack open a fresh TXT and create your own.

Ruby 2.0

The Ruby programming language is the syntax that makes an entire universe of SketchUp extensions possible. In this release, we’ve brought our API up to Ruby 2.0 standards, giving developers a shiny platform for creating new SketchUp tools. Our API now offers improved support for non-English characters, section plane plugins, text and dimensions tools, and more.

The Test

So to test the workflow, I sampled one of the millions* of free SketchUP models that are accessible from the SketchUP 3D Warehouse. A little known project from an equally unknown architect called Frank Ghery.


Opened in SketchUP Make 2014 (seamlessly) and then exported as is with the new IFC exporter.


As outlined above, at this stage SketchUp components and previously modeled elements do not contain a inherent AEC-centric classification system. Users who wish to export coherent IFC files will need to append the IFC classification data to the elements they are modelling (or in the case the sample project above) to any existing content.

That said, without any additional information, the geometry exports as default IFC geometry and opens without issue in Solibri Model Viewer (the gold standard for IFC viewers).


The geometry can be sliced and diced, but some of the more useful features of Solibri will not be available until the user classifies the content and elements, which is totally understandable.


How Much Would You Expect to Pay?

Unit Price: 1 – 4 @ US$495.00 + US$95.00
Unit Price: 5 – 15 @ US$470.00 + US$95.00
Unit Price: 16 – 25 @ US$445.00 + US$95.00
Unit Price: 26 – 50 @ US$430.00 + US$95.00
Unit Price: 51 – 75 @ US$415.00 + US$95.00
Unit Price: 76+ @ US$395.00 + US$95.00




2 thoughts on “Bargain Basement BIM. SketchUP 2014 now has native IFC.

  1. duncanlithgow

    Casey, like the article says, it’s only really a useful BIM when you add data to the objects. SketchUp apparently won’t do that for you. So you’re free to call a windows a ‘cowhide rug’ or a ceiling a ‘roof’. Lots of freedom, but how much BIM?

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