Monday, November 7, 2011

I have a twisted little story.....that I can’t resist to share.

Imagine this: A building yet-to-be built. (can’t really give you pictures due to confidentiality but this should not take away from the story as the numbers talk here better than most pictures would);

Commercial high-rise, numerous basements, podium, a split tower with a dozen or-so floors.
My interest is still at the bottom basement level.
There are 114 columns to this floor.
There are 47 grids to provide the spatial framework to the structuring of these columns.
NONE (0, zero) of these columns are based on the intersection of two gridlines. A few are ‘close’ (as in sitting on a grid or in reasonable proximity to one, many are floating totally ‘loose’.)

Interested in more statistics? The 114 columns are made up of 31 (thirty-one) individual types, the maximum occurrence any of the types is afforded is 15, there are 12 types with only one representative for each.
Standardisation? What standardisation?

The ‘twist’ of the story is not in these numbers, though I find them quite entertaining. (and a lot of work,  mind you).
The punch-line comes from IFC – as in the exchange format of the buildingSMART fame, the enabler of the ‘open BIM’, I’m ‘practicing’ on this job

No matter how I convert the source (Revit) file into the ‘ifc’ format, 4 out of the 114 columns come across rotated by a random angle.


  1. Chances are it is has to do with the way the Revit Family defines the orientation of the columns, in the first place, and then Revit is not properly transforming these instances to the correct spatial matrix. This is not an uncommon error for many models, but it is NOT a fault of IFC, it is a mistake made in writing the IFC file from the app, in this case Revit. It might also be further attributed to a poorly constructed family, by the modeler, also commonplace.

  2. I had a similar problem trying to export out to Inducta (Australian Engineering Software)where the columns would lose thier position and orientation. The propblem is defineitly in how the data is written to the export file as one call to Inducta promtly fixed the problem with a patch file and now everything exports as it should be

  3. So, what was the problem, Revit, IFC translator, or the Arkitek?

  4. Dear Jeffrey,
    Thank you for your comment – I appreciate that the Revit family may not have been ‘created properly’ in this case but please note that these are ‘columns’ (basic elements) I’m talking about, not complicated manufacture-supplied fittings or parametrical assemblies.
    I did not say it was IFC-s fault, just wanted to point out how capricious this process still was.