IFC Classification Management – Schedule & Favorites

About Open BIM

These days everyone is trying to learn how collaborate effectively using BIM. Governments are implementing some sort of official BIM deliverable format or are learning the way to do it. Across the AEC industry the BIM Knowledge and expertise is very diverse. 

As we can see through the Media content about our industry, there are many big experts, professionals that use OpenBIM workflow to coordinate in a daily basis, companies that are learning BIM or struggling to adapt, and others that are still stuck in a 2D CAD workflow.

When projects have certain level of coordination, certain amount of investment required or construction complexity, BIM will bring nothing but precision, efficiency and better collaboration.

OpenBIM is nothing more than an approach or attitude to allow professionals to exchange BIM data in a format that we can all write and read. Standards across all countries are being developed. For example ISO19650 is a set of standards aiming to become of international base for the whole AEC Industry. 

But how can we start implementing all these standards in our daily workflow? Do we need a set of templates we need to implement on the structure of our organisation? This post is for those who still feel Open BIM is a very abstract term. Let start from the basics: Classification.

Starting with the Basics – Classification

Why is it so important to classify our model correctly? When modelling using different BIM authoring solutions the tools we use for modelling vary from one software to another. Also the modelling tools in most of BIM softwares are not precise enough to refer to each of the construction elements that we have in a project. For instance: the Slab tool can be used not only for “slabs” but for other construction elements such as Ceilings, Built-in Furniture, Finishes, Facade elements, etc… So if we do not classify these elements, they will all remain as “Slabs”. Therefore is very important to Classify as what they really are in the construction Context.

Before we can start collaborating in Open BIM we need to “classify” items in our Model correctly. It is the first type of data that we should be able to add to our entities. There are different classification systems that are being used as standards depending on which part of the world we are based. Some of them are very widely spread in different countries, some of them are focused on local standards.

In this link we can download most of the Classification Systems available and insert them in our AC file. The following link explains how to import new Classification Systems inside our BIM model. But how do we use these classification systems and how do we keep our BIM entities classified properly?

In the Settings dialog of any element of the model we can select the classification we want to apply to an element from the different classification lists that we had inserted previously in our AC BIM file. But it could be very tedious to go one by one through all the elements of our model and check if classification is correct. How do we do this in an efficient way? Very simple, using Favourites and Schedules.

Favourites Should be Correctly Classified in our Template

The first step should be to develop all the Favourites of our Template with the right classification already applied. But depending on the nature of the projects we develop in our company sometimes is not easy to keep track of all the elements we create. And depends of how teams work in the projects sometimes we need some BIM management to keep classification properly applied during the whole project development.

To create a Classification Schedule is a very useful way of having classification under control. This is how our Classification Schedule looks like in our template:

I personally think it is quite useful to display in this schedule the Type of each element and the Layer they belong to. Layers are attributes that organise our model in AC. So thought the type of element and depending on which layer they belong to, we can filter the whole model in a very intuitive way. The quantity is a vey useful way to understand how many elements we have of each kind and to know if we have all of them under control.

This Classification Schedule allows us to keep all elements of our model Classified Properly

I believe it could be also useful to add other attributes like Properties, if we have set any of them in order to organise our model. Also could be useful to know which Hotlink do different elements belong to. Anything that could make your life easier in order to filter the whole Virtual Building. 

Is very easy to add more fields to be displayed in our Schedule

The advantages of this schedules are basically:

1. We can easily find which elements are not Classified

2. We can Modify the Classification of an element without having to open the settings of that element. This also means that we can classify a large number of elements at the same time and not one by one.

3. We can also easily access to classification of subelements such as CW panels, Railing Parts or Stairs parts.

4. We can select certain elements in the schedule and then show them in the 2D Floor plan window or the 3D window. This is a very useful way to check in detail when we find discrepancies in the data we are looking and would like to check elements in particular.

All elements selected on the Schedule will appear selected in 3D when clicking this button.

5. We can also check if certain elements are in the correct Layer. 

6. We can check different classification systems agains each other. Like in our schedule, we currently use AC21 and 22 plus Omniclass Classification. AC classification system is a very simple an intuitive one and is good to have it related to the other classification systems that we might want to use for coordinating with other consultants.

7. We can see elements belonging to IFC models imported from other consultants in order to understand how are these classified and then understand their function properly.

With this schedule we can keep track of the classification of the entities of our model. As a conclusion we can state that this first approach to Open BIM using the Classification systems in an appropriate way is not hard at all for ARCHICAD users.

If this post arise some questions or doubts please do not hesitate contacting us!