Towards 100% support of all OpenBIM standards

edited July 2022 in General

One of my visions for IfcOpenShell and the BlenderBIM Add-on is to support 100% of all related OpenBIM standards. This means that you can work on structural, MEP, infra, qto, costing, sequencing, facility management, visualisation, drawings, etc, all within the same dataset or integrated dataset. The boring technical side of this means that we need to support not just all (or most) of the IFC schema, but other related real and "de facto" standards.

I'd like to summarise the wins we have made so far, which although we're still not yet a mature native authoring-from-scratch environment, support for these standards have helped the adoption of open source tools in many usecases that continue to surprise me. It will also help build the reputation of open source as a leader and pioneer in progressive industry standards, rather than playing catch-up with the proprietary vendors.

  • IFC. This is the mammoth one. In terms of schema support, we support roughly 65% of all non-abstract IFC entities. Support is defined as either able to tessellate and visualise, or author to 100% of the capabilities described in the spec. This 65% is an amazing number, especially in contrast with commercial tools who typically support well less than half of what we support. With the new initiatives in costing, structural, sequencing, this number has improved and will continue to improve.
  • IFC-SPF: Yes. Mature.
  • IFC-XML: Yes, but immature.
  • IFC-JSON: Yes, pioneering.
  • IFC-HDF5: Yes, pioneering.
  • IFC-SQLite: Not yet :(
  • BCF-XML 2.1: Yes.
  • BCF-XML 3.0: Not yet :(
  • BCF-API 3.0: Not yet :(
  • IDS: Yes, pioneering.
  • bSDD: New lib available, but otherwise no.
  • COBie: Yes, pioneering.

Format conversions:

  • P6
  • Code_Aster
  • CSV
  • CityJSON
  • Blender
  • FreeCAD
  • OBJ
  • STP
  • GLB
  • DAE
  • IGES
  • SVG

There are some other integrations I'm looking forward to in the future, including HoneybeeJSON, gbXML, DXF, Brickschema, as well as app integrations like Radiance and OSM.

For those interested, I've attached a spreadsheet of IFC progress.

paulleestephen_lbrunopostletlangcvillagrasaMeetlatduncanJanFSigmaDimensionsCyriland 8 others.


  • @Moult said:
    ... the reputation of open source as a leader and pioneer in progressive industry standards, rather than playing catch-up with the proprietary vendors.

    Looks awesome ! Probably a killer feature for opensource application that commercial application would simply not want to support.

    Other random thought was inspired by @sanderboer in FreeCAD forum who says FreeCAD/ OpenCascade do some surfacing that he just can't achieve in Rhino (and probably not with Catia, Grasshopper etc. Freecad finally scratched that itch I had for so long.

    How about giving priority to developing some features, geometries, exchanges etc. that currently other applications are not good at?

  • @paullee in general I give priority to features that users who are actually using and breaking the BlenderBIM Add-on ask for. In general, proprietary support for OpenBIM is so poor that it is not hard to cover ground that isn't possible in proprietary tools.

  • Hi, Bentley person here, and no I'm not someone who is reaching out after the conversations between Osarch and Bentley on Github (though the fall out from that conversation did encourage me to get in touch with OSarch) , I am here mainly out of my own volition but also from the feeling that propriety software is too tied to the traditional way of doing business to be able to reach the "Utopia" that Osarch and others are trying to achieve... That said, I confess that I am a newbie in the land of IFC and open standards, and mostly what I hear about the schema is 1 . it is always evolving and out of sync with live projects happening in the world. 2. it does not cover everything that happnes in an infrastructure project.
    With that out of the way, and putting both my "Bentley" and "For the Greater Good" hat on at the same time (belive me it's effing hard soemtimes..) may I ask 1. How has propriety software been lacking in IFC support? 2. If a magic wand is waved, what would be the spell used to make propriety fit for purpose for Open Source? 3. What is the best resource to start learning about IFC in a comprehensive way and not techincial jargon of the kind on the buildng smart website....?
    Cheers in advance!

  • edited December 2021

    I miss DXF for 2D CAD and pointclouds LAS/LAZ as open standards? XYZ /PTS or course..

  • This is the best resource i've found for learning IFC.
    If I could wave a magic wand, it would probably be to figure this out.

  • @theoryshaw said:
    If I could wave a magic wand, it would probably be to figure this out.

    A development model used by other standards would be to allow an experimental namespace that can be safely ignored by tools that don't understand it.

    For example in email and http you can create your own header data structure by prefixing it with X- (e.g X-Clacks-Overhead) without breaking other tools. So experimental IFC extensions could be prefixed with X, giving XIfcFloatationDevice or similar. If and when the new extension is adopted by the standard, then all you need is code that processes XIfcFloatationDevice the same as IfcFloatationDevice.

  • edited December 2021

    Sounds good... let's do that. :)
    Let's start with Mirroring. :)

  • As this thread also deals with ifcxml: does anyone know how to declare the schema definition (xsd) in the ifcxml header? If I try to use the xml file it always gives me a "node 'schema' not found" error. I'm not too familiar with XML I'm afraid...

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