buildingSMART Forums

COBie and IFC mapping

I appreciate it, Dion!

@daviddelven - please see latest Windows build here:

It is called cobie-191024-win.exe. It should be self explanatory - it requires a file called input.ifc in the same folder you are running the program from.

When run successfully, it should let you know, and give you an option to exit. However, being alpha software, it may run into bugs - if this is the case, please run it using Powershell on Windows, and that will give me debug information I can use to fix it. Ideally, also send me an email or we can chat in real-time on IRC on the ##architect channel and send me your IFC file.

This tool essentially should do the same as what the BIMserver + COBie plugins does, with a few differences:

  1. Smaller, lighter, and easier to get started with. It does not depend on Java, it does not require integration with an entire BIMserver, so you can run it on Jenkins, any CI server, or as a hook called by Git, a Makefile, etc - it makes it very, very flexible.
  2. It outputs CSV, which makes it a bit more “open” for data parsing.
  3. It outputs a log which outputs exactly where data is missing in your IFC file.

In the future, I expect it to allow adding custom columns, check project specific requirements, and integrate with other tools like BIMTester, which can do human-language style IFC auditing, which can make it quite powerful, I believe. I also plan to integrate it into BlenderBIM to allow people to, within the BlenderBIM authoring tool, graphically query results, and fix the IFC data.

Edit: I think when packaged for Windows, it expects an IFC 2X3 file (although it actually can run on IFC4 too). This is something I need to resolve for Windows.


I like this warning method in process file:

    INFO:IFCtoCOBie:Starting conversion
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:An email address was not found for #14=IfcPerson($,'Azari','Ehsan',$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:An email address was not found for #16=IfcOrganization($,'No Organization',$,$,$)
    ERROR:IFCtoCOBie:No roles could be found for #4=IfcOwnerHistory(#20,#23,$,.ADDED.,$,$,$,1433835546)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:A phone was not found for #14=IfcPerson($,'Azari','Ehsan',$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:A phone was not found for #16=IfcOrganization($,'No Organization',$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:An internal location was not found for #16=IfcOrganization($,'No Organization',$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address AddressLines seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address PostalBox seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address Town seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address Region seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address PostalCode seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:The address Country seems to not exist for #20145=IfcPostalAddress($,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:An email address was not found for #14=IfcPerson($,'Azari','Ehsan',$,$,$,$,$)
    WARNING:IFCtoCOBie:An email address was not found for #16=IfcOrganization($,'No Organization',$,$,$) 

It’d be good if in the near future add an interface that the end-use be able to solve all these issues inside the tool


For instance anytime user clicks on each attribute see the appropriate information and fill it out and/or choose from the Enum

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I’ll give you more feedback progressively.
*.csv turns the output into something rawer.
Thanks, Dion!

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How is the tool going, @daviddelven ? I’d love to hear feedback! (by the way, it outputs both CSV and XLSX to give you the option to choose which you prefer to work with).

On IFCWebServer there is a special server script to automate the process of exporting COBie out of IFC models.
The output is a HTML report with colors and links to the building elements.
You can see an example of the result at this link:

The source code of this script can be found at :
(you need at first to login as demo user ( username: user1, password: 123)

Any user can adjust and improve the code to fit his needs

I am not working at moement on this feature but I can support any one who is interested to use it

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I saw this post yesterday and wrote this to someone here…I’ll share it with you…(I added a few deeper details.

"I saw your comments on bSI Forum under IFC and COBie. Merge rules are in the Annex A of Ch. 4.2 in NBIMS i.e. Schema IFC2x3 TC1 to IFC4 (NOT CV2.0 or RV, but actual COBie MVD), or to XML, or COBieLite (Reference ISO10303 part 21 and 28, and SpreadsheetML).

Convert COBie XLSX to IFC (properly with no geometry as per standard) using BIMserver plugin.

Do testing with free COBie QC Reporter tool on github by Chris Bogen.

Check COBie in IFC Coordination View using BIMserver plugin (this is if for some reason you want COBie with geometry- thus is only done when specified by some other ie e.g. WSie, etc.)

NOTE: BIMserver verification checking plugin (Ver1.4) has few bugs this is why use QC Reporter for only COBie files. Student or similar is needed to fix bugs with Bill or me."

First of all welcome Dr. Shawn E. O’Keeffe

I think Dion has started to bring simplicity and transparency and the way he suggests is better than what BIMServer provides

Bill East is the initiator of COBie, but it doesn’t mean he or his colleagues say what is right or what is wrong?

Today COBie is not “enough” and this is why we have focused on:

  1. MaterialPass (Material Passport)
  2. ProductPass (Product Passport)
  3. FacilityPass (Facility Passport)

Even FacilityPass is far ahead of Government Soft Landings (GSL)

Dear Ehsan,
Thanks for the kind words! :slight_smile:

While I resect your query and comment, if you would like to deviate from the original COBie Specification, that’s okay, however, you must explicitly say what is different by mapping it to the schema and simply call it something else. As I demonstrated with the Venne Diagram of (Domestic) Water Systems information exchange in the other forum on “IFC Modularisation”. This is the proper way to approach what you have mentioned in relation to “not enough”.

Respectfully it is incorrect to say, "Today COBie is not “enough”…” - One who understands this would ask, not enough for what? And the answer would be that “something else” I have referred to.

Dr. Bill East, myself, and others who design, develop, test etc software for IFC MVD compliance, e.g. COBie etc. do have the authority in relation to what tools enable one to actually meet the COBie standard. After all, …"a standard is not a standard if one cannot objectively test if they have meet that standard”! (East and Smith 2016) - E.g. ISO19650. :slight_smile:

Kind Regards

Some months ago I shared “COBie software don’t support granular assets” and some companies tested it and shared the same concerns

After years you have the same problems today bSI has

Standards are good, but it doesn’t mean “outdated” standards should continue forever

If the industry finds better solutions than COBie, and even IFD, IFC, IDM, MVD, BCF, etc, will choose better solutions because at the end all think about their benefits

It doesn’t matter for the majority of companies, especially big companies, COBie or X? If X is better they will choose it and will nominate it as standard

You are not being clear/concise…
Better than what?
COBie is not good enough for what?
Companies tested for what? (exactly)

What is in the COBie IDM/MVD/Standard Specification that it did NOT accomplish?

What you are saying is not possible, and technically doesn’t make sense, respectfully. Please share the “what’s?” above with the rest of us.

Maybe the answer is in your definition of “granular assets”?


I think the industry “has realized” that what am I going to do when I divided things to three parts:

  1. Material
  2. Product
  3. Facility

I won’t say today what’s right or what’s wrong, I will show
And other parties can continue their way, “time” and “the industry” will judge

I just say COBie and PDT won’t have any future

COBie is simply the setup and delivery of FM data for maintainable assets, and formatted so a CMMS can read it directly, after being verified and validated, of-course.

If what you are speaking of is outside of that scope, then you should not be mentioning COBie at all because COBie is meant for a very specific problem and that’s it. To expect something more is foolish, because it only does that…only meant for that…you test only that…it does only that…!

The main issue is that all of these solutions have developed based on 1980s ideas

For me it doesn’t matter today CAFM and CMMS software need COBie, because in the near future everything will change even CAFM and CMMS software

The industry can’t continue more with “outdated” bases

Okay. Great. You still never answer my question/s. Good luck.

If you know the future you can be ready for it

And I shared what future looks like?

some time ago raj chawla presented in the ‘bim experts’ group (doesn’t matter if it’s the right channel to do this) on linkedin the gmm concept (granular material management). i understand it as a notion of the operable whole of a complicated physical system, containing many materials and geometries.

thus i can’t follow how a materialpass of different parts of the system could compose an overall picture of the system appearance, performance, and the impact on the reality…

He’s on my LinkedIn network and it’s over two years I constantly talk about “Granular Assets” so it’s natural if some start to think about and come with different solutions

MaterialPass would be a passport that holds all those data/information/formulas/rules those different platforms provide separately

Indeed, MaterialPass, ProductPass, and FacilityPass are the next generation of schemas and file formats and “standards”

it’s not what i’ve meant.
i mean that a system may have (and mostly has) a different functionality / performance and characteristics than any of its parts…

it’s not enough to define thoroughly all system elements.

and btw, raj might have posted it some 5 yrs back…