The IFC Building Model: A Look Under the Hood

With the increasing interest in building information modeling in the AEC community, the issue of interoperability as a means to integrate the various model-based applications into a smooth and efficient workflow has emerged to the forefront of professional attention. But what exactly is the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes)? Most professionals simply know of it as a data model to facilitate interoperability in the building industry. While technical information about the IFC building model is documented in detail and is readily available for software developers who need to work with it, there is practically no information for the average AEC practitioner who wants to have a better understanding of it. The intent of this article is to address this shortfall -- it is focused on providing a broad overview of the IFC model without delving too deeply into its technicalities.

About the Author

Lachmi Khemlani is founder and editor of AECbytes. She has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and consults and writes on AEC technology. She can be reached at

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