LEGO Architecture meets BIM – Part 11: Geometry exchange

Introduction

Models are often exchanged between different stakeholders working on projects. Model authors and those using the models use a variety of software for their own needs. In order for BIM to work it is imperative that geometry and information are exchanged reliably between each software tool.

Interoperability is “the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged”. Interoperability between BIM software has improved dramatically over the last few years as BIM has become more commonplace.

At Bond Bryan we are always testing models between tools to ensure that these models are as reliable as they can be. Where issues are known we document and share these. We also report issues back to vendors to ensure that issues can be fixed and have a regular dialogue with a number of software vendors.

This blog post is designed to show the Villa Savoye model in a variety of software but also doubles as an interoperability test for elements that are classed as IfcBuildingElementProxy. IfcBuildingElementProxy items are essentially ‘Other’ items that can’t be classified with one of the other categories (i.e Door, Window, Stair, Ramp, Wall etc).

The model as we have seen in previous posts was created and exported from GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD 20. Geometry exchange from other software into the tools shown below may vary. All of these models were tested using the following Model View Definition (MVD): IFC2x3 Coordination View 2.0.


Original model (produced in GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD 20)

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 15.19.32


Reimported into GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD 20

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 13.15.28


Areo

AREO


Autodesk A360

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 09.41.33


Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture 2015

AutoCAD-Architecture-2015[1]


Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2017

NWM2017_IFC2x3-Coordination View 2


Autodesk Revit 2017

RVT2017_IFC2x3-Coordination View 2


Bentley AECOsim Building Designer v8i (SELECTSeries 6) (Import)

AECOSim_IFC_Import_Smooth


BIM Vision v2.10

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.07.17


DDS-CAD Viewer v8.0

DDS-CAD-V8_0[1]


Exactal CostX v6.0

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 09.28.15


IfcOpenShell (BIMserver)Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 21.26.41


Nemetschek Vectorworks 2017

vs-ifc-vwx2017


SimpleBIM v2.3

SimpleBIM-2_3[1]


Solibri Model Checker v9.6

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 15.32.35


Synchro Pro v5.3.1.4

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.21.07


Tekla BIMsight v19.6

Tekla-BIMSight-19_6


Viewpoint For Projects

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.18.56


xBIM

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.13.15


Conclusion

All the models transfer ok into the software tested with the exception of xBIM which has incorrect geometry representation in a number of locations. No geometry is lost in any of the models. You will however notice that the text ‘Villa Savoye’ has disappeared into all software apart from the reimport back into ARCHICAD 20 (this is an improvement made in the latest version of ARCHICAD which now supports multiple colours per body). Some software solutions handle the representation better than others and Autodesk Revit adds additional triangulation that doesn’t appear in other software.

Overall though this piece demonstrates that geometry (all IfcBuildingElementProxy) transfers ok into the various software tools we are required to use. As always there is room for improvement with software but clients (including contractors) should take comfort that geometry exchange between tools is far more reliable than some would have you believe.

Rob Jackson, Associate Director, Bond Bryan Digital

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13 thoughts on “LEGO Architecture meets BIM – Part 11: Geometry exchange

  1. Hi Rob.

    Interested in those triangulation in Autodesk Revit. I have seen Revit do that when importing Face or surface modelling made of Poly-meshes. Are the components faces or solids? It’s a bit of a letdown when these things happen.
    Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Brian,

      The elements are modelled using GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD’s Morph tool in one file. They have then been saved as Objects (GDL) into a library. The model is then made up of these objects.

      The closest equivalents to the Morph Tool would be some of the approaches used by Trimble Sketchup or Autodesk Formit.

      Its a fairly primitive methodology but it generates acceptable geometry in an easy manner and requires no coding for the user.

      Its a solid in that its a single element but I suppose its an object that is a series of connected faces/surfaces.

      We have seen this appearance happen in Autodesk Revit for building elements such as Slabs so its not simply limited to this particular modelling methodology.

      We will of course continue to post more blog pieces on interoperability once we have completed the LEGO series.

      I am in the process of getting hold of an AECOsim Building Designer image and it would be interesting to get hold of a Nemetschek Vectorworks image as well to see if these authoring tools handle the geometry in the same way.

      Obviously our posts are to highlight these issues and hopefully all vendors look to improve their import processes.

      Rob

  2. Hi Brian,

    I like you take on interoperability. It is important BIM specialists understand the process.

    Would you consider adding one more view of the same model imported to Synchro Pro? If you share the source model I can send you Synchro model and views in return.

    Thanks for posting,
    Regards,
    Pawel

    Just a thought…

  3. Thanks Rob

    Out of interest, have you tried displaying the model in wireframe in the other BIM viewing tools. They may have a similar output, its just you can’t see it in their shaded views?

  4. Small not that the geometry of BIMserver/bimvie.ws is created by IfcOpenShell. BIMserver itself doesn’t calculate geometry, but uses IfcOpenShell as a render plugin.

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