buildingSMART Forums

Proposal for IfcMaterial to become rooted

Rooted elements, in my opinion, should represent highly identifiable, first-class domain-specific objects. I believe IfcMaterial fits this criteria. In addition, materials are usually represented as their own user manipulatable, export/importable, object in most authoring applications - not just a mere property, but an object in its own right.

Materials also have significance in LCA analysis, modern slavery tracking, warranty and certification for facility management.

I am also painfully aware of the current poor vendor support for IfcMaterial, leading to confusion between material and colours, which are related, but separate concepts. Hopefully, with an upgrade of IfcMaterial to a rooted entity, it will also gain more widespread and proper usage instead of being lost on imports and exports.

Therefore, I propose for IfcMaterial to become rooted, and therefore have a GlobalId associated with it.


I absolutely agree with this. I would actually add in the same conversation IfcProfileDef, I believe one can make similar considerations.

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I agree that Materials are a first class citizen in the construction industry. Most of our cost and impact analysis evolves around materials, a whole segment of our industry evolves around materials.

If a manufacturer of a material wants to deliver their “product” in an open format, in IFC, they now have to somehow make a very convoluted IFC-file, including a project, a building and possibly even another objects in which this material may be applied.

I’ve seen product libraries of brick manufacturers which actually have to share walls to be able to include their material. Imagine you are a manufacturer of “sand” or other basic resources…

It may also push some vendors of BIM software to spend some more attention to sharing materials and their properties into IFC. Right now, most software and viewers show little more than the “name” of a material.