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The IFC file format is an object-based file format commonly used throughout the BIM process to exchange information. IFC stands for International Foundation Class and was developed by BuildingSmart as a neutral, open file format that is not controlled by a single vendor or group of vendors. 

The IFC file format is a great way of sharing static information across different software applications. For example, if you wanted to export an entire kitchen area to a kitchen designer who is using a different software application to you, then IFC would be the best file format to do that. They would be able to open the file. However, they would not be able to make changes to the individual objects within the file, as it is essentially a snapshot of the file. 

Should Manufacturers Create IFC files of Their Products? 

There is a lot of confusion in the industry with regards to manufacturers creating IFC files of their products. While it is true that manufacturers make their product available to all software applications by doing this, the issue lies with its lack of usefulness to the design process. 

In most cases, manufacturer's products are configurable items (i.e. you can change the materials, dimensions, and various other options). Because the IFC file is static, this severely limits its usefulness to designers. IFC files are therefore generally only useful for static model exchanges like an entire room or a bespoke staircase.

Creating an IFC file from a software application such as Autodesk Revit is simple as “File - Save As”. 

How to Download an IFC file 

You can download IFC files directly from BIMsmith Market using the IFC file format filter. Once you have downloaded the IFC file, you can open easily open it using your preferred application. 

How to View IFC files

Most BIM and CAD applications can open IFC files. However, if you do not have access to such programs, you can use a free online IFC viewer. There are many IFC viewers available however our personal favorite is the Autodesk Viewer.

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