~ Industry Foundation Classes
The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard is a neutral and open specification of objects used in a construction project. Simply put, IFC is a set of agreements that states the definition of a wall, window, door, floor, roof, etc. It also specifies relations between the objects, properties, and how that data is to be stored in a dataset. By agreeing how to describe a wall in a dataset (file or database) and respecting that agreement (making it a standard), each software tool will be able to communicate with others through only one interface.
One problem IFC still holds is that there are different ways to describe an object. For example, a Wall can be described as a proxy, as a WallStandardCase or as a Wall, in addition to this, the shape and geometry of objects can be described in many ways, this is useful for software vendors to export IFC, but extremely difficult to support all these dialects when importing. This can be troublesome to the uniform exchange or sharing of information. In practice, users are not bothered by this issue that much. Using the coordination workflow of reference models doesn’t make is necessary to import data. This way IFC is only used as a ‘downstream’ data exchange for coordination, just like it was originally meant to be.
IFC was developed by (non-profit) organization buildingSMART International and is a widely used format for exchanging (specific) building models. The IFC model specification is open and freely available. IFC started in 1995 as an additional development of a standard that has been developed since 1985.