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IFC4 Reference View

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BIM Coordination 1


IFC4 Reference View

The IFC4 Reference View targets all work flows that are based on reference models. It is a buildingSMART Final Standard:

  • Name: IFC4 Reference View Version 1.0
  • Abbreviation: IFC4 RV V1.0

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IFC4 Reference View - Version 1.0

The IFC4 Reference View V1.0 has been released as a buildingSMART Final Standard on 10.07.2015. The documentation is available at:


NOTE  The IFC4 Reference View is based on the IFC4 Addendum 1 release.


In order to support the ongoing improvement process, issues and comments, both technical and editorial shall be logged within the buildingSMART International "IFC4 Issue Database".

  • access to the "IFC4 Issue Database" is provided »here«
  • reading existing issues that have been logged under "IFC4 Issue Database" is open for all, in order to add your issue and comments, you need to be a registered user. For instructions, see »here«.
  • we recommend to you to subscribe to the ifc4 mailing list that is hosted »here« (use this link to subscribe and maintain your account), after subscription, you will receive an automatic notification with the mailing address and you will receive further announcements and information.


Purpose of the IFC4 Reference View

The main purpose of the IFC4 Reference View is to define a standardized subset of the IFC4 schema, a Model View Definition MVD, that is particularly suitable for all BIM work flows that are based on reference models, where the exchange is mainly one-directional. Here requested modifications of the BIM data, mainly of the shape representation, are handled by a change request to the original author, and changes not executed upon the imported IFC data to be sent back to the original source.

Examples of this reference workflow are:

  • Coordination planning (combining different discipline specific IFC models for visual checking)
  • Clash detection (finding clashes between different discipline specific IFC models)
  • Background reference (loading an IFC model, usually from a different discipline) as a linked model
  • Quantity take-off (determine the quantities of the various model elements with the IFC model)
  • Construction sequencing (taking the IFC model and associating it to a construction schedule)
  • Visual presentation (for presenting the IFC model to a broad audience)


Common characteristics of the workflow using reference models are:

  • The source of the BIM information remains with the originator
  • The full parametric behaviour, and thereby the intellectual engineering property, remains with the originator
  • The ownership of the model, and responsibility for its correctness, remains with the originator
  • The original model is published as IFC4 Reference View model reflecting the as-is status
  • The receiver of the IFC4 Reference View model has access to the full model content
  • The receiver of the IFC4 Reference View is not supposed to modify the model
  • The receiver of the IFC4 Reference View can analyse and extract the information of the model
  • If the receiver demands a change, it has to be communicated as a change request to the originator
  • The buildingSMART standard BCF is developed to efficiently support these change requests.


The Level of Detail of the shape representation and the Level of Information for the property content of the actual reference models depends on the source model. The buildingSMART standard IDM (Information Delivery Manual) can be used to determine the minimum content for a particular workflow support. The IFC4 Reference View allows rich content to be published, see next chapter Objective for more details.