Last edited 30 Nov 2016

BS ISO 16739:2013 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries

BS ISO 16739:2013 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries, was published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in August 2013.

British Standard (BS) publications are technical specifications or practices that can be used as guidance for the production of a product, carrying out a process or providing a service. ISO's (International Standard Organisation) are international standards intended to be used throughout the world. BS ISO's are published as Britain adopts ISO's.

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) specification is a neutral, non-proprietary data format used to describe, exchange and share information. It is the international standard for building information modelling (BIM) used for sharing and exchanging construction and facility management data across different software applications.

IFC was first developed in 1994 by the Industry Alliance for Interoperability, a consortium formed by Autodesk. To allow the continued development of IFC as a non-proprietary data format, the consortium became the International Alliance for Interoperability in 1997 and has now become buildingSMART, a not for profit organisation.

BS ISO 16739:2013 defines the IFC conceptual data schema and exchange file format for BIM data. It consists of the data schema, represented as an EXPRESS schema specification, and reference data, represented as definitions of property and quantity names and descriptions.

The standard covers:

  • BIM exchange format definitions that are required during the life cycle phases of buildings.
  • BIM exchange format definitions that are required by the various disciplines involved within the life cycle phases.
  • BIM exchange format definitions such as; project structure, physical components, spatial components and so on.

It does not cover:

  • Exchange format definitions outside of construction and facility maintenance.
  • Project structure and component breakdown structures outside of building engineering.
  • Behavioural aspects of components and other information items.

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