IFC for Infrastructure: New Concepts and Entities for Bridges

IFC for Infrastructure: New Concepts and Entities for Bridges

Pierre Benning (Bouygues Travaux Publics, Guyancourt, France)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2017070104
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The industry foundation classes (IFCs) data model is a neutral and open data format defined by an international standard (ISO 16739), which allows the description of a construction as a collection of standard objects. These objects are quite well defined for describing a building, but their use is still far from being adapted (and then adopted) for infrastructure. The article presents a new methodology to enrich the IFC model for an infrastructure, in particular, for the scope of bridges, based on a system approach. The first step is to identify all the absent concepts and classes in the current IFC definition, procedural geometry, coordinate systems, etc., and then proposes “bridge oriented” new entities in order to enrich the current IFC model. The next IFC development phases, dedicated to other infrastructure domains, will be based on this experienced methodology.
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The Domain Of Bridges

A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage to a particular traffic or function over the said obstacle. There are many different designs that all serve unique purposes and apply to different situations.

As a building, a bridge can easily be perceived in its entirety. It is composed of describable elements, which can be organized as systems or which can be located in a spatial arrangement. So, the methodology of IFC building entity definition could be reproducible (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

A traditional Building Breakdown Structure (Building Data Model)


Moreover, a former initiative was intended for defining the IFC-Bridge entities without the expected success, no doubt due to some lacks in the methodology and the poor interest of the software vendors (Lebegue, Fies, Gual, Liebich, & Yabuki, 2013).

And other goal was also to carry out a reproducible methodology for the other domains of infrastructure like tunnels or roads.


Ifc Missing Concepts

Our first approach was to understand why the former IFC-Bridge initiative was not successful.

So, we tried to design an ordinary bridge with the current authoring tools, in order to identify the lacks. We diverted the building entities (wall, slab, etc.) to design the bridge components (piles, decks, abutments, etc.). Figures 2 and 3 show that the “visual” result was quite good. But there is no “bridge semantics”, because currently, there is no authoring tool able to deliver IFC-Bridge entities.

Figure 2.

IFC Model view including the terrain (without any IFC-Bridge entities)

Figure 3.

IFC Model view without the terrain (without any IFC-Bridge entities)


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