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There are a number of specifications, guidelines, examples and tools that support the development of IFC enabled software solutions. In addition the IAI has established the Implementers Support Group ISG to coordinate implementation support.

IFC Developers should know the following things


Supporting forums

Specification and supporting documents

  • A full documentation of all IFC versions is available from the offical IAI website
  • The current IFC2x3 EXPRESS schema can be found there as well
  • Implementer agreements for IFC2x3 (starting with 2006) are available here
  • Sample IFC files for testing are available from different sources, see Examples

Toolboxes and other development software

There is a number of development tools, including commercial and non commercial software, these tools comprise e.g.,

  • IFC Toolboxes, a generic toolbox compiles the IFC (or any other) EXPRESS data model into executable code that provides basic functionality such as reading and writing the IFC file structure (identical with the STEP physical file structure following ISO 10303-21). In addition it provides an API to the developer for one or more programming languages (like C++, Java, VB). Other functionality may include persistent database storage, support of ifcXML reading and writing, or others.
  • IFC Model Server, a database or model server applications that provide a multi-user database management system and allow to used the IFC schema as the underlying database structure. In addition model servers often offer support for web services, check-in and check-out, thin clients, etc.

View definitions

Subsets of the IFC specifications that satisfy a certain exchange scenario are named views. Current view definitions include:

  • IFC2x3 Extended Coordination View - the IFC subset for coordinating the architectural, building service and structural disciplines during the design phase of a construction project.
  • Other view definitions are currently developed:
    • IFC2x3 Structural Analysis View - the IFC subset to exchange the structural analysis model from a structural modelling to a structural analysis application
    • IFC2x3 Quantity Take-off View - the IFC subset to hand over the quantities of a building information model to cost estimation and calculation
    • IFC2x3 Operation & Maintenance View - the IFC subset to handover the facility management relevant information of spaces, furnitute, fixture and equipment to Computer-Aided Facility Management CAFM software

Certification process

  • A certification process has been set up to support the implementation and quality assurance of the IFC2x3 Extended Coordination View, see an overview here. A list of already certified software products is available here.
  • Test cases are available that can be used to understand the IFC model, to help early implementation and to support the debugging process. A selection of test cases is available here. Many more test cases are available to those software companies that subscribe to the certification process, they are used for the 1st step certification.