Jump to content

IFC certification will solve BIM data exchange

BIM data exchange doesn’t work, because the software we are using does not have IFC certification. Once all software is certified, BIM exchange starts working on a larger scale. Then we don’t need Simplebim anymore. Totally wrong!

First you need to understand what IFC certification really means. When an application is certified for IFC it just means that it is possible to create IFC models that are valid for a given use-case with that software. It does not mean that this will always happen.

For example certification may make sure that it is possible to exchange the name of a space using IFC. But certification does not ensure that all spaces always have a name, that each name is valid in the context of a project or that all space names are correctly assigned. These are all factors that have a huge impact on how useful the data is in reality and certification is not at all concerned with these issues. This also does not mean that software that is not certified would not be able to create perfectly valid IFC models. There are plenty of examples of such software around, including Simplebim.

IFC certification is also a way for the big, established  players in the field to maintain their dominance. IFC certification is expensive and slow, and thus not realistically in reach for smaller software vendors. The scope of certification is also limited to what these big players are currently offering, which means that there are many use cases and many types of software, including Simplebim, for which IFC certification is not even available. One dangerous development for our industry would be to mandate the use of IFC certified software only. This would further lock the position of the already dominant players and stifle innovation that is badly needed.

Even though IFC is an open format, IFC certification does not level the playing field for all. On the contrary, it plays into the pockets of big established software companies and offers very few real benefits to the industry.