What Does IFC Stand For in Construction?

February 20, 2024

If you are in the AECO industry, you will have heard the acronym IFC (International Federation of Classifications) but may not know what it stands for. It is used in the construction industry to share building information models, or BIM projects, between different software applications. IFC files contain a wealth of information, including geometry, material properties, spatial relationships, and more. This data can be accessed by architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, and other parties throughout the lifecycle of a project.

IFC is an open standard developed by buildingSMART International. It offers a high-level common language and allows information to be shared between different applications while maintaining meaning. This can save architects, engineers, and construction businesses substantial time by eliminating rework and manual data re-entry.

The IFC schema specification is split into six fundamental concepts: actors (or individuals or companies), controls, groups, products, and processes. Each concept has subgroups for more specific aspects of the process or product in question. For example, the IFC group for products can be further broken down into product types, occurrences, and properties.

IFC is available in many CAD/BIM authoring software platforms as both an export and import feature. This enables all parties involved in the design and construction of a building or infrastructure project to use IFC-enabled software and to share IFC files without the need for conversion to another file format. Architects, engineers, and contractors can deliver IFC models to clients, facility managers, or other stakeholders with the information they require to progress the project.

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