What is IFC?

IFC is best known in the U.S. as a type of file that can be exchanged across different software platforms. Those that are familiar with the concept of interoperability or neutral file formats have probably encountered IFC at some point. A much more detailed and technical description of IFC can be found at buildingsmartinternational.

What is IFC for Steel(EM.11)?

The IFC Format supports lots of different data exchanges, particularly for coordination and geometry. For a long time though IFC was not capable of communicating the level information necessary for the advanced, automated fabrication of structural steel. EM.11 is the name given to the specific Exchange Module (there were ten others identified) in which data is sent from a fabrication-ready model to fabrication equipment. 

Why is this needed? What are the Benefits?

There are many, many file types and methods that support automated fabrication. Some are proprietary, some are open file formats. Each has positives and negatives. Often, many different file types are needed to manage fabrication, and each of these files requires management and manual intervention. It’s time consuming and is a hurdle to a more digitized process. The idea of IFC isn’t to add another file into the mix, but have a true, open source file format that can communicate with existing software and machinery and remove some of the convoluted mess, all while freeing up time and shop resources.

Who uses IFC?

Hundreds of software applications for use by many different stakeholders in the process can send and receive IFC data (see Community > Software Implementation ). Since 1997, IFC has been tried and tested through many iterations, gaining worldwide trust as a means to deliver projects from all over the world.