Rhino to IFC workflow

Hello OSArch Community,

I've been following the development of BlenderBIM for some years now, but I haven't been very active on this forum. I post here now because I think I have the opportunity to integrate BlenderBIM in a workflow, and I would like to have advices from you.

The context is the following: I have worked for a firm which has developed a research project composed of a large number of historical architectural 3d models. We have developed them using Rhino, analysed them using Grasshopper, and we have a fairly efficient blocks and layers system that produces quite clean models in Rhino.

However, the project is evolving, and we would like to go further and transform these .3dm into .ifc for a larger interoperability and a normalised information structure inside the model.

I use VisualArq daily, and from what I understand, the IFC it produces is not really a good quality IFC. At least, I don't get to enter as much parameters I would like to describe my objects. It is currently exporting IFC2x3 for now, I have the feeling that it would be a shame to put effort into this and not creating the latest IFC available.

I imagine the following workflow: Rhino model > Speckle > BlenderBIM, that would let me receive clean Rhino information (maybe I am already wrong here, maybe there are better ways to receive Rhino data in Blender?), and then "annotate" it in BlenderBIM, that has a better and more powerful interface for IFC things.

What advices could you give me about this workflow? I still have to understand how to transform stuff within BlenderBIM (I don't get how to tag a block received from Rhino to Speckle, but I will ask more on this later), but overall I think it sounds like the best way to create clean IFC.

Thank you,


  • Hi Martin,
    Thank you for your answer, I came across Geometry Gym, I'll look a bit more into it but I think I may have a bigger issue about my layers and blocks hierarchy that I need to transform into IFC families and types. I guess there is a paradgim difference between the two approaches that would require, to some extents, to remodel my original models within a software that handles IFC natively.

  • Ping @geometrygym - he has an account here and has been pioneering the creation of IFC from Rhino from a long time. I have never tried it, but I assume the more steps there are in "translation" prior to IFC will probably mean more risk of data loss. For that reason I'd recommend going as direct as possible, which means either ggIFC or VisualARC, and you've already tried VisualARC. I don't have a deep understanding of ggIFC so I'd love to learn if there is any advantage to conversion to IFC within Blender, or if ggIFC can do everything you're after already.

  • edited September 2023

    Even if all the modelling is done in Rhino, you can fully customize the export to IFC using Grasshopper. This can include decomposing blocks to create types etc. If you're willing to try this approach, I will help demonstrate how to achieve this. I develop the ggIFC tools in an agile manner, so if it can't facilitate what you want, I'll certainly endeavor to make improvements to achieve your requirements.
    I am against dramatic changes in modelling strategy to achieve a desired IFC, but let's see with some testing.


  • Hi @Moult and @geometrygym, thank you for your answers!
    I would be interested in a demonstration with this approach using geometry gym tools in Grasshopper. I downloaded it to check the different Grasshopper components available, and I can see that there is a clear potential to achieve what I am looking for.
    Thank you,

  • edited September 2023

    @avnd, at this point, Speckle might not be a great route for you if your end goal is the production of IFC files. We've begun scoping what workflows into and out of BlenderBIM like this might involve, but the suggestions above are much better understood. But, we are keen to support this better in the future.

  • @jsdbroughton it would be awesome to have a detailed technical chat with the Speckle team about some of the most important semantics available in IFC and how Speckle can support transporting those!

  • @Moult said:
    @jsdbroughton it would be awesome to have a detailed technical chat with the Speckle team about some of the most important semantics available in IFC and how Speckle can support transporting those!

    This is the hope.

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