ODA Begins Work on IFC Solution

As civil engineer I have been following IFC developments for quite some years. But for me little to none progress can be seen in taking BIM for infra any further, sorry. Most things i see and read are mostly imput - output realated to the next BIM conference anywhere on this world. People involved seem to like to be talking mostl, those who enjoy the bim networking… Where is this going??

But I like the fact you guys put up a forum. Took a while but hey…
What is really was excited to read about, is the involvement ODA now is undertaking!!! They have a serious track record in REAL DEVELOPMENT. So this this is exciting IFC news for me, since years !!!




opendesign dot com

Actually, there are several “Infrastructure for IFC” projects currently underway. IFC extensions for Alignment has most recently been adopted into IFC4.1. This was needed as the basis for all other infrastructure projects to move forward. Other concurrent projects includes Rail, Road, and Bridge, as well as the important “Common Schema” project. Ports & Harbors, Tunnels, and other projects are also being considered. A new project, “IFC for Site, Landscape, and Urban Planning” is soon to launch, to round out all these efforts. You can find some more information here: https://www.buildingsmart.org/standards/rooms-and-groups/infrastructure-room/

IFC4 software certification for the building domain is also currently underway. 13 vendors are currently onboard to certify their applications based on the Reference View v1.2. There are some toolkits that have already been supporting IFC4 for some time.

Hopefully, through this Forum, the buildingsmart.org site and the new technical site (coming soon), you will get more information about all these efforts and more. As we ramp up involvement within the community, I hope that all those currently working within these projects will provide updates to the public through this site. Keep your eyes open, Hans.

As for the ODA, while I appreciate their decision to finally include IFC translation, it is another 3rd-party option. The buildingSMART International technical community is currently exploring the creation of an official, open-source IFC toolkit. The intent is to provide an authoritative benchmark toolkit for developers of all levels and types to use in support of IFC across a wide spectrum of tools. It would also aid further experimentation and development of future versions of the schema to meet the future needs of the entire built asset industry. In addition, we all could benefit from a “managed” open-source model, where bSI is able to leverage the work of many talented developers, from all over the globe, toward the goal of total industry digitization and interoperability.

I’m glad to see that you are excited, but don’t think “nothing” is being done inside the bSI community. In fact, I am seeing more activity and results in the last 6 years than I have in the previous 10.


Could you confirm that “read more” link it’s not working ?



You’re right, it looks like something is wrong from my end, too.

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This link works better:


Thanks Jeffrey!

Any news on the open source buildingSMART IFC toolkit? Is it more a benchmark or will it complement IfcOpenShell, GeometryGym, IfcEngine, Ifcplusplus, etc,?

Also if this is a Microsoft .NET toolkit, as IfcDoc, it may not be really usable for some of us…

No news at the moment @stefkeB. We still need to further clarify approach, scope, budget, and schedule into formal documentation. We definitely need help in funding the start of this effort. There is more support for this in the community, especially after talks in Düsseldorf and among end users who now understand that their efforts require more than just new schema proposals.

The original vision is that this could be the basis for any other toolkits to add further value on top of, but would contain enough features to be distributed as its own Libraries and/or SDK to any developer, alongside the others. One goal is to have a definitive and official implementation of low-level tooling to support the interpretation of the schema to libraries in one consistent way, instead of having everyone going about it in many different parallel directions. From there, we can consider other options of feature set that are part of the official toolkit.

We also know we have to be more flexible than one programming language/environment.

I had a chance to get and test early (gamma:) version of ODA toolkit.
At the moment it can read IFC2x3 / IFC4 and provide early and late binding functions to access data.
Stress tests shown performance is better comparing to some open source solutions but still not good as some commercial.
I did not test model creation and serializing, only reading but saw related API exists.
Team informed me they are working on implementation SDAI C/C++ API as well as performance improvement.
waiting next release…



I wonder how the ODA IFC support will change things around? Right now, all current BIM software already uses one of the toolkits. I don’t see this changing by switching to another toolkit, although when companies are already using ODA DWG libraries, this will make it easier to also support IFC.

E.g. the EDM-toolkit is used both for ARCHICAD and Revit, yet we all know that their IFC files can be structured very differently…

To me, one of the roles buildingSMART plays is precisely the certification process, to ensure consistency and quality between implementations software. Right now, the process seems out of reach for any non-commercial or open-source entity. Yet many solutions depend on toolkits such as IfcOpenShell, XBIM, GeometryGym. I assume ODA might have more means to reach certification, but it is also a non-profit.

The list of certified software is not containing these toolkits, so each vendor implementating IFC using such a toolkit needs to go to certification separately:

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Unfortunately certification (approach/strategy) instead of helping the industry become more mature, plays as an obstacle which slow down improvements in the OpenBIM environment

buildingSMART is focused more on “just corporations” which caused become “a corporate-driven closed-door boys club
It means that corporations control the industry through buildingSMART and even other tools even like ISO

ODA has a better structure but again it has another issues like it’s not a non-profit

@stefkeB Don’t remember that even buildingSMART today knows EDM-toolkit is not a good solution and has started to focus on some approaches like UML (I hope UML 2)
And IFD and IFC have other issues inherently too

Developing toolkits I don’t think be hard, and I ensure that countries who have started their own “national digital platforms/projects” if want can develop even new toolkits

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I am very well into IFC toolkits but i can say that the IFC importer of BricsCAD is a enormously much better job than the (certified) Autodesk AutoCAD Architecuture on the list of BSA. That one is just plain horror to use and isn’t developed further for at least 10 years. So to me, Being on this list does not mean much (to me). I expect to see many more developers emplacing the ODA IFC initiative. Very welcome.

Autodesk has started to be more IFC friendly than before, and I think one of the causes is my posts on LinkedIn about Autodesk’s and even buildingSMART’s problems

Some corporations try to build “chaos” in the industry and benefit from

I explained the whole picture to you a couple of weeks ago, if you remember our conversion on LinkedIn on a post:

I think IFC is good because is “too open” but “software vendors” don’t like this and see this as “threat”
So try to build “hidden issues/obstacles inside the IFD/IFC and even closed file formats and solutions” as much as they can

And buildingSMART International (and even standards communities like ISO - International Organization for Standardization) have become “a corporate-driven closed-door boys club” instead of a true community/communities which help intensify “chaos” in the industry

They include “average people in their teams/rooms” to build this chaos in ISO and in buildingSMART

Do you think today Autodesk as part of buildingSMART can’t build a real IFC? For sure can, but doesn’t want

Sorry, but now I feel insulted…

As part of my tasks at my company, I’m an expert member of the CEN/TC 442 committee, which works in close collaboration with the ISO/TC 59/SC 13 committee. Many of the people involved with buildingSMART are also part of these committees and some of them are active on this forum as well.

I experienced countless meetings with a large group of intelligent men and women, who are not paid by ISO nor CEN, but by their own company or standardisation body to share their expertise. There are representatives from contractors, manufacturers, universities, software vendors, industry federations and also designers, architects, engineers, consultants, developers who all try their best to develop standards which are sound, coherent, correct and applicable. It is hard work and lots of effort to write something comprehensive, using precise terminology and formulated unambiguously. The review procedures are as thorough as any academic journal paper (although not double-blind per se), but instead of having two or three individuals reading your work, it is often reviewed by 10 different mirror committees, not only once but several times. The system is not perfect, but neither is the double-blind peer review system that is considered as the best we can have, even though the quality of a review totally depends on the people chosen as reviewers.


Do you think ISO and CEN standards are written to provide chaos?
Do you think organisations like buildingSMART aim to develop a bad standard?

Why would they?

If that would be the case, nobody would be willing to adopt the standard, no software vendor would implement support and the standard would never reach any impact, but simply die silently.

Please be a bit careful in formulating such “ideas” or “assumptions” if you still want honest and valid feedback in an open forum such as this one.


Changed this one


I think you are off-base here. And require more involvement and background before making such statements. I suggest you spend more time listening and learning.

As the Chair/Manager of the Implementation Support Group, I can assure you that ALL the members, Autodesk included, are very dedicated to making IFC work. Every software vendor has to invest time and resources to making it work in each of their respective products. For some this is a larger investment than others. Much of the time it has to do with the complexity and size of the task.

Some efforts can be uneven because of the nature of their development. Some projects, like IfcDOC were started and mainly developed by individuals who have stepped back from said development and bSI engagement. When such tools are found to have value, they must switch to a larger group effort… but this transition isn’t always easy. Patience, assistance, and humility are often needed to help.

End users can very easily be taken to task for NOT trying to learn or implement the IFC/interoperability functionality offered to them in various products. In some cases, it requires a small bit of extra effort, in others, it requires that the users DON’T OVERRIDE application defaults to get results (it happens more often than you think). But in almost all cases, such functionality requires the end user to learn more about how to properly use the product, create good BIMs and even better interoperable BIMs.

bSI is a USER-DRIVEN community. Standards development is based on end user needs. The more and greater variety of end users actively engaged helps the development and implementation parts of the community to do a more complete, thorough, and reliable job. All such work takes resources and time.

I have been involved with bSI for just over 10 years, now. In that time I have seen a lot of people put in a great deal of donated time and effort to move the entire endeavor forward. I will say that the progress of the last 5 years has been much greater than that of the previous 20, mainly because more of the global industry is attaching themselves to the effort and recognizing its importance.

Rather than being bombastic, I would appreciate more positive engagement and results moving forward.



ODA is not user driven but company driven.
This certainly will have a effect. Good news!