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IFC and BIM – How are they connected to sustainability?

Design interoperability has a profound impact on streamlining workflows. In a technological landscape, where multiple software platforms cater to specific design tasks, the ability to seamlessly exchange data through formats like IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) becomes crucial for achieving better overall quality and completion of the project.

IFC was developed by buildingSMART. It serves as a reliable solution for secure data exchange and seamless interoperability between design software, ensuring that design and construction professionals collaborate effectively on workflows.

The IFC file format offers a host of benefits. It enables the exchange of rich, comprehensive data, including geometric models, properties, and relationships between elements. This ensures effective data transfer, facilitates collaboration and reduces the risk of data loss or misinterpretation. Secondly, the use of IFC fosters a collaborative environment under which multidisciplinary teams can work together effortlessly. Architects, engineers, and other stakeholders can share and access project information more efficiently, enabling better decision-making and coordination throughout the project lifecycle.

This means that valuable project data can be leveraged not just during design and construction but also for facility management and project lifecycle management. The adoption of the IFC file format represents a significant step towards achieving true interoperability, empowering professionals to collaborate seamlessly, streamline processes, and deliver projects with enhanced efficiency and accuracy.


IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and BIM (Building Information Modeling) are closely intertwined. BIM refers to the collaborative process of creating and managing digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a built asset. It encompasses the use of 3D models, data-rich objects, and information management throughout the lifecycle of a project. IFC, on the other hand, is an open file format that facilitates interoperability and data exchange between different software applications within the BIM environment.

IFC acts as a common language for BIM software like Revit, enabling data exchange and collaboration between stakeholders and subject matter professionals involved in a project. It ensures that critical project data remains consistent and accurately communicated across the workflow.

In essence, IFC enhances the interoperability and collaboration capabilities of BIM, enabling multidisciplinary teams to work together efficiently, eliminate information silos, and achieve better project outcomes.

Benefits of BIM interoperability to the AEC industry-

  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Improved clash detection
  • Streamlined workflows
  • Accurate and consistent sharing of data among stakeholders
  • Enhanced visualization and communication

The modern built environment is all about using advanced digital tools to bring efficiency, sustainability, and innovation into projects. Here, the use of IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) plays a pivotal role in driving successful projects and meeting the evolving needs of cities and communities.

The sustainability pod

Decision-makers require comprehensive and accurate information throughout the planning, design, and construction phase of a project. When they can evaluate the environmental impact of their design, they can make mindful choices that align with their sustainability goals.

Interoperability is just another element of the larger sustainability pod that is reshaping industries and fostering a more environmentally conscious approach to construction.

It facilitates the exchange of essential sustainability-related information, such as energy performance data, materials information, and environmental analysis. This allows stakeholders to make informed decisions that prioritize sustainability, such as selecting energy-efficient design options, utilizing eco-friendly materials, and optimizing resource consumption.

In turn, we get reduced environmental impact, improved resource efficiency, and long-term ecological benefits, promoting a harmonious relationship between construction and our planet!

Construction firms, with their environment-conscious building practices, can acquire green-building certificates. Some of the common green-building certificates are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), and WELL Building Standard.

In closing, interoperability between design software, facilitated by formats like IFC, promotes enhanced collaboration and coordination among subject matter professionals. This results in an efficient approach to completing future-ready projects, where everyone contributes, and decisions are made with consideration for social and environmental impacts.

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