What is your favourite gratis IFC viewer?

edited May 2021 in General

Hi,
I have a few projects' IFC files that need to be viewed independently.
For my following IFCs, I tried some software:

  • Xbim Xplorer could not open model 1 (it crashed). It loaded model 2 forever with 100% CPU.
  • BIM Vision opened model 1 with object hierarchy but no geometry (blank viewport, no way to view any geometry). It could open model 2 successfully.
  • BlenderBIM addon could import both models successfully. With latest versions, load speed improves drastically. Somehow I still want to have a "viewer" only to read the information in IFC, while BlenderBIM imports and creates editable objects.

Two models are attached.
I wonder which free software you are using to view your IFC files.

Tagged:
paullee

Comments

  • @Moult I've also been wondering if there is a use case for an installable IfcOpenShell based stand alone IFC viewer. Alternatively a way to use BlenderBIM as simple a viewer and "lock" the objects. Wanting to work on and model a project is not really what a lot of people do with their IFC files.
    @htlcnn you didn't say if you only wanted libre software solutions. I regard Solibri as the benchmark until something else takes that spot. @Moult is that a fair call in a commercial context?

  • edited May 2021

    @duncan I'm searching for free viewer, as in free beer. If there is an opensource one, that's great. I edited the title and the first post.

  • Well Solibri Anywhere is gratis, it only requires registration. And Duncan is right, it is considered "the tool" for bim viewing.

  • @htlcnn said:

    I wonder which free software you are using to view your IFC files.

    FreeCAD is in the same business as BlenderBIM (edition). I opened the model2 (took some time). If you save the IFC file as FreeCAD file, then you can create a new FreeCAD file and using ArchReference tool, you may be able to generate an image of the model2 in this file.

    paullee
  • @duncan I'm keenly looking at @StefanBoeykens 's work here hoping that it can satisfy that need!

    Personally, I use the BlenderBIM Add-on where possible :D I switch to XBim when IfcOpenShell has an issue and usually between the two of them, I work something out even on troublesome files.

    Solibri does a bit of IFC mangling and doesn't preserve the IFC jargon, so I am always hesitant to recommend it.

  • @JanF I tried Solibri Anywhere but it requires login so I guess I can not use it offline. A portable and offline software would be perfect.
    @Moult BlenderBIM addon now imports much faster than before. Would it be possible to make a "link IFC" button that does importing to a temporary file, then links it into current Blender so that users can only read data?

  • @htlcnn I'm not sure if that's possible. I've created a "Link IFC" button which takes a Blender file which already has an IFC in it, and links that to your scene, but not sure about the Python API's capabilities in creating a new Blender file itself. @stephen_l might know if this is possible.

  • It is possible, but will still keep location editable - and also will not prevent "make local" and "override".
    Maybe disabling objects / collections selectable state could do the trick ?

  • edited May 2021

    Besides FreeCAD and BlenderBIM I use this https://support.bimcollab.com/en/zoom/free-ifc-viewer on a daily base (at least an hour a day). On linux this one if ifcopenshell has problems: https://ifcquery.com/

    paullee
  • zoom seam to open them both.

    htlcnnpaullee
  • @Moult said:
    Solibri does a bit of IFC mangling and doesn't preserve the IFC jargon, so I am always hesitant to recommend it.

    Yes, well, a de-facto solution is not always the best solution. There's a lot of momentum in being the trusted tool for many years. That takes time to change.

  • edited May 2021

    Solibri / bimcollab are both not available under linux ?
    Using ifcQuery (IfcSimpleViewer) here, but still sometimes crash - i guess it does not handle malformed ifc as well as i hoped.

  • on linux i think only ifcquery/ifc++ or ifcopenshell's builtin qt viewer (but i havent looked at it for ages because it needs pythonocc which is a pita to compile). ifc++ i find pretty solid, though... i wish the properties explorer, which seems to have been removed from some earlier ifcquery version was still there..

  • My favorite IFC viewer is BIMcollab Zoom. It's fast, it's pretty stable, it has Smart Views and it runs on macOS natively.

    FWIW, I've updated my own PyQt IFC viewer the last few days. I've focused on showing the depth of the IFC structure, following attributes recursively + having a top-level class chooser to reorganise the model tree display. You can access a lot this way. The 3D view is still primitive and not really suitable for 100MB models, alas.

    https://community.osarch.org/discussion/506/ifcopenshell-examples#latest

    Moult
  • Ultimately an IFC viewer needs to be able to deal with untrusted data, and this rules out anything based on opencascade, this is millions of lines of C++ code - there are 800,000 lines of headers. The only IFC library that has a safe design is IFC.js because it is sandboxed in the browser.

  • @brunopostle said:
    Ultimately an IFC viewer needs to be able to deal with untrusted data, and this rules out anything based on opencascade, this is millions of lines of C++ code - there are 800,000 lines of headers. The only IFC library that has a safe design is IFC.js because it is sandboxed in the browser.

    What does that even imply? Because an IFC library relies on a geometric kernel, you can't trust it? Or that the only safe environment is the browser? And what about the countless libraries any software uses from the operating system? Or the JSON library? Or the WebGL libraries? Can you explain a bit?

  • C++ libraries have to be written with safety in mind, and even then they often go through cycles of exploitation and fixing. My experience of opencascade is that it is very easy to segfault with some unexpected data, and this implies that there are likely ways to exploit it. This is ok, because most of the time we are dealing with trusted data, and we need to use capable software, but if you want to be able to safely open every IFC from all future sources, then you need another approach.

  • Time to put OCC in a Docker in a VM loaded by Puppet.

    In all seriousness though, the .blend format can also be injected with malicious data pretty easily.

  • For real word practical purposes:

    • BimCollabZoom (Free use of "smartviews" with color coding and BCF). Their add-ons in proprietary software like Revit works well too.
    • BIMVision (For measuring, very precise and easy to use measuring of geometry)
  • I really like ODA'S OpenIFCViewer,
    a) as it works identically to Bricscad
    b) you can now activate Metal graphics as a Mac user
    c) it is free, fast and no bloat ware

    and of course - Blender BIM !

    because it has the best and most potent 3D Viewport of all "Viewers"

  • edited November 18

    I want to add a viewer that might not be the most visually appealing but has really good functionality that I miss in other viewers: FZKViewer
    It is developed by a german university and can display IFC-data that is not displayed in all other viewers I have tried (custom material Psets).
    It´s also able to open GML, gbxml, LandXML and pointclouds and has a couple of useful query functions. It even has some export options (e.g. cityGML), but they are not yet fully developed.
    You just have to get used to the 90´s GUI.
    For a nice visual I use Solibri but for information FZK is the best!

  • edited November 18

    FZK has a small problem. AFAIK it has not seen any updates for years. Sometimes I had problems with som IFC but they do not do fix anymore. Try to open a IfcAdvancedBrep (which was introduced with IFC4) object with this viewer ...
    And if go back to the old times I need to mention the best Free Closed Source Viewer ever was TeklaBIMSight IMHO, but when Trimble had aquired Tekla one of the first decisions they made was to stop development of TeklaBIMSight.

  • @bernd thanks for your comment. I dont know about the IfcAdvancedBrep, but the last update is from may 2022. I recenty had contact with the developers and they are still working on the tool. So I would not ignore this viewer for now. Do you have a test file with a IfcAdvancedBrep?

  • edited November 18

    @DavidE said:
    @bernd thanks for your comment. I dont know about the IfcAdvancedBrep, but the last update is from may 2022. I recenty had contact with the developers and they are still working on the tool. So I would not ignore this viewer for now. Do you have a test file with a IfcAdvancedBrep?

    wow cool. They had not updated it for years. If they started to do it makes it more interesting.
    https://github.com/IfcOpenShell/IfcOpenShell/issues/586 But I have not had a look at it for a few month now. I could even export them again with Allplan.

  • @bernd said:

    @DavidE said:
    @bernd thanks for your comment. I dont know about the IfcAdvancedBrep, but the last update is from may 2022. I recenty had contact with the developers and they are still working on the tool. So I would not ignore this viewer for now. Do you have a test file with a IfcAdvancedBrep?

    wow cool. They had not updated it for years. If they started to do it makes it more interesting.
    https://github.com/IfcOpenShell/IfcOpenShell/issues/586 But I have not had a look at it for a few month now. I could even export them again with Allplan.

    You are right: FZK is not able to open these files. But neither are open IFC Viewer or Solibri as it seems.

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