buildingSMART Forums

Proper use of 'Name', 'Type', 'Type name' and 'Description'

There are already a lot of “rules” to follow when it comes to IFC. Building Smart provides good documentation on what attributes should be in a particular property set.

Im however trying to figure out what the best way is to fill out the IFC attributes

  • “Name”
  • “Type”
  • “Type name”
  • “Description”

Surely I have my ideas on how we could fill them, but I rather follow a certain standard instead of inventing our own wheel.

Any tips or suggestions are welcome!

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The “Name” of an IfcElement, that is, a single instance of an element, should be named the same thing that you might annotate an individual instance of an element on paper documentation. There is nothing magical about BIM and IFC - it’s exactly the same information you’d put on a report, or paper documentation. For instance, if a door was door number 0263, you’d put 0263 as the Name of the IfcDoor.

There is no such thing as a Type attribute. Do you mean a PredefinedType, or ObjectType?

There is no such thing as a Type name attribute. I assume you mean the Name attribute of the IfcTypeElement. In that case, similar to the Name attribute of the IfcElement, it will be exactly what you typically annotate it in paper documentation. For example, if on paper a door is door construction type DT01 (let’s say metal framed single leaf 2100Hx720W), then you’d enter in the value DT01.

The Description should contain exactly what you might annotate on a paper schedule. For example, an IfcTypeElement might contain Metal framed single leaf 2100Hx720W with paint finish, and a single instance IfcElement might contain nothing, if it matches the Description of the IfcTypeElement exactly.

For IfcContext elements, you can see a guide here:

Hello Moult,

I am probably not using the right terms, but the attributes I mean are those in Solibri.
See the screenshot: https ://

(Just as a convenience - paste a correct URL in your post to display this as an inline image)

FWIW, the Type and Type Name are in most cases identical (at least, that’s what I see in models exported from Revit and ARCHICAD).

I’ve tried to add the image, but I’ve got an error message saying I wasn’t allowed to. Links neither.

Indeed, I’ve seen that as well. What I would like to know, is if there is a guideline in how to fill those fields? Or can I do there whatever I would like :slight_smile:

@TheoR - those attributes in Solibri do not necessarily match those used in the official IFC specification, leading to confusion.

Name refers to the Name of the IfcElement. See my previous post which explains this.

Type Name refers to the Name of the IfcTypeElement, see my previous post.

Description refers to the Description of the IfcElement. See previous post.

Type, however, is a magical field in Solibri that seems to contain different things depending on what data is available. It might take information from the object reference property in a pset, it might take information from the type name in a particular order of precedence … due to its inconsistency, there is no advice I can give as to how to fill it out.

And that is the reaso why the Type and TypeName are always the same in all IFC File, as Stefke is stating. I have tried to twitch it, but with no success. Archicad actually does not have an option to map this property, therefore internaly it just copies the TypeName.

@agron I could be wrong, as I do not use Solibri too much, but from what I read the Type and Type Name are the same most of the time, but not all the time.

This page is where I make that conclusion. It also has a picture showing a scenario where Type and Type Name show different things.

A new property in the Identification tab: Type name – value of the type instance name (can be different than type of the component, if the component has a value in property psetXCommon: reference). This more accurately reflects the full level of information available about the component, replacing the instance value ‘reference’ with the correct Type information.

From reading that page, Type Name has a one to one mapping to an IFC property. Type has a one to many mapping, and therefore I conclude it is merely a magical field in Solibri.