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26 Aug 2016

LEGO Architecture meets BIM – Part 11: Geometry exchange


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



Autodesk A360

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 09.41.33

Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture 2015


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)


BIM Vision v2.10

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.07.17

DDS-CAD Viewer v8.0


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


SimpleBIM v2.3


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


Viewpoint For Projects

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.18.56


Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.13.15


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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