IFC Export#

To export your SOFiSTiK model into an OpenBIM environment, it is possible to use the IFC (Industry Foundation Class) standard via the IFC Export interface. The amount of information regarding geometry and structural analysis is highly dependent on the IFC version and Model View Definition chosen (see below).

Supported Industry Foundation Classes (IFC Versions)#

SOFiSTiK supports the following IFC versions: either the more widely used IFC2x3 or the latest IFC4. Currently, both versions are predominantly similar in most respects, with IFC4 not yet being implemented into many BIM software solutions. However, the representations of exported items are enhanced in the latest version, which for example could significantly reduce file size and the duration of the export process. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure which format suits the receiving client’s needs.

Supported Model View Definitions (MVD)#

Structural Analysis View 1.0 (IFC2x3 or IFC4): This view is suited to exporting static representations of structural elements, boundary conditions and loads, with additional properties such as materials and cross section definitions.

As a SOFiSTiK model may have structural elements which are not recognized by IFC, it is necessary to account for possible losses of relevant information when exporting in this view. For example, it is not possible to export a curved structural area or a prestressing tendon, since they are not defined in this MVD.

Coordination View 2.0 (IFC2x3): The spatial representation of a SOFiSTiK model as well as member properties can be exported in this view. This is a structural member-based export and does not include analytical information such as boundary conditions and loadings. It physically matches the structure being designed and can efficiently facilitate cooperation in the BIM workflow. This view specifically allows for the export of deformed 3D models under different load cases or during various construction stages. For instance, a bridge deck segment, which is deformed due to computed precambers, can be exported and submitted for fabrication in an IFC format. Clash detection and quantity take-off are also some examples of possible applications of this MVD.

Reference View 1.0 (IFC4): This MVD is an improvement of the Coordination View with the characteristic difference that the model exported is intended to be used only as a reference and not to be modified by the recipient. Various representations of building elements have been added, and some of the existing ones are enhanced in this view.


The following two workflow procedures illustrate typical applications of IFC-Export within an OpenBIM process:

Coordination / Reference View:

  1. SOFiSTiK Structural Model

  2. Export IFC in Coordination / Reference View

  3. Open in any OpenBIM Software

  4. Visualize, extract information, augment with another model, detect clashes, monitor construction, prepare fabrication models, coordinate with others etc…

Structural Analysis View:

  1. SOFiSTiK Analytical Model

  2. Export IFC in Structural Analysis View

  3. Import into another analysis program

  4. Possibly modify

  5. Compute.

Export procedures#

SOFiSTiK model can be exported to IFC either via a graphical user interface (GUI) or through command inputs (CADINP).

To export using GUI:

  • Open the model in SSD

  • From the menu bar select: FILE buildingsmart_large ‘’IFC Export’’.

  • Configure options, if necessary, and Export.

SOFiSTiK IFC Export via GUI provides the following options for Coordination View and Reference View (not applicable for Structural Analysis View) to control the output:

  • Groups: select elements with primary groups or

  • Deformed geometry: select active members only in respective load case

  • Filter: select Quad elements, Beam elements and/or Tendons

Options for groups and deformed geometry are mutually exclusive, filters can be applied additionally.

To export using CADINP:

  • Open the model in SSD

  • Insert a teddy_small ‘’Text Editor’’ task

  • Run a system command for “sof_ifcexport.exe”, with options written in the Text Editor such as

    +sys sof_ifcexport.exe --in "<input>.cdb" --out "<output>.ifc" --view coordination --schema ifc2x3
  • Run the command execute_wps_small ‘’Calculation’’

To list all CADINP options, run:

+sys sof_ifcexport.exe --help