IFC & attributes import & export

Nice and dandy. But this all needs to be in your forum profile, where I would have seen it when I was there and saw that you are running the Make edition.

I saw in your previous post, “tiny house and cabin builders” which I took as a rather broad group, and missed the DIY modifier,… sorry.

Understandable. (FYI, I myself have been advocating for a more affordable sole-proprietor “Craftsman” license for SketchUp. Something in the range of 250US ? Your groups seem like they’d be nice candidates for such a license if it ever does come into existence.)

But,… currently, … the native SketchUp IFC functionality is considered a commercial use, and only the Pro editions can utilize it.
Besides, IFC is a part of BIM, and would be way outside the need of a DIYer building a tiny home or cabin.

SketchUp’s Dynamic Components are driven by an extension themselves, and although using that extension’s build wizards is a Pro edition only feature, any edition can use these components, and change the attribute options (via the Component Options dialog.)

So, SketchUp Make can use dynamic components, that have been created by others with the Pro edition (or perhaps some 3rd party extension.)

Keep in mind that any native report generator is likely a Pro edition only feature.

So, you or someone, would need to write a Ruby report extension for these DIYers.

It is not that hard, and there is already an example that was written by the SketchUp Team. It needs some work, in that it is very old, and needs to be wrapped within a toplevel module namespace, and likely a extension sub-module.


John, Thanks for your feedback. A quick Google search seems to indicate that Wiki House is working towards the same basic idea: a standardized component attribute dictionary for common construction materials. If a few experienced builders combine their in-depth understanding of the design, procure, build, and document process into a well thought out system of deeply descriptive component attributes that can be attached to a library of Sketchup standard building materials then all us newbies would be able to drag, drop, and size from a standard builder’s palette of dynamic components. This would be hugely empowering for many people who are just now embarking on their own diy building projects and need a complete framework within which to create their visions. I’ll do some in-depth searching for WikiHouse’s current model, and if you know of any specific url links that would help me please let me know so I can proceed full speed ahead. Thanks!

Dan, Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I had erroneously assumed that the standardized component attributes dictionary that I should be looking at would be the IFC model, especially as it connects to BIM tools used by contractors. Your explanation of creating & sharing dynamic components that have the right custom attributes pre-attached sounds like an ideal solution. Especially if Sketchup Free users could utilize these standardized dynamic components and know that their models would have all the needed attribute data pre-attached to each building component used in their designs. Seems like the reporting & analysis side of actually utilizing the embedded standardized attributes will require a customized Ruby reporting extension, but I’m sure that is a problem that can be overcome after the standardized dynamic components have been published to the Sketchup user community. This feels like the right way to go, and I really appreciate your insightful response to my original inquiry. Now I just need to connect with WikiHouse and other Sketchup power users & experienced builders to gather their recommendations for a standardized dictionary of building components attributes. Looks like I’ll need to find the budget for buying a Sketchup Pro license so that I can create a collection of building materials dynamic components that incorporate this proposed standardized attribute dictionary and then upload the models into the Sketchup online components library. Sounds like a plan! Now I need to see what others have proposed for standardized attribute dictionaries. Thanks for your help with this.

I’m interested to working on it, I’ve already done une little plugin to affect IFC component a Layer:

And I’ll try to do the layer to IFC so every thing in the layer “C-Wall” for exemple 'll go to the IFC label “IFCwall”

But I’ve still big problems with the lost of component definition and axes between export and import…

Hi folks, is there any update on improved ifc attribution and so on from Trimble ??

Okay you’ve had enough time to digest the improvements released in SketchUp 2018.

from the SketchUp 2018 Release Notes:

IFC Export Improvements
BIM doesn’t really work if information can’t move freely between applications. We’ve dialed in our IFC exporter to ensure that the attributes you bring in from other applications or manipulate in SketchUp stay with your work when it leaves SketchUp.

Where does SketchUp stand now in your IFC needs ?

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Yes, I’ve not had much time to play with this specific thing, but I guess that means if somebody writes a plugin to add extra attributes above and beyond the “advanced” that now come with 2018…
Bravo though for getting this far…
However, when trying to set up a logical hierarchy of objects ifcSite, ifcBuilding, ifcBuildingStorey as nested objects (groups) etc… when opened in tekla bimsight (which belongs to Trimble n’est ce pas ?) you can’t actually isolate these elements seperately… worse, if they are components they dont export per se
How does one force it to work ?

testIFC-all components-attributes2.skp (234,8 Ko)

It is unclear whether they need to be components or groups. The user guide says both.

In a SketchUp 3D model, this idea isn’t some wishy-washy concept. When you use the Classifier to embed data into groups or or components, those groups or components become objects.

“or or” ?

… and then further down the article emboldened …

Before you start classifying objects, make sure your model is ready:

So this appears to need clarification.

The first test I’d think is to export to IFC, and then import back into SketchUp and see if all the data is still there.

Do you have the latest version. (I just downloaded v

Can you post a SU2018 IFC file export, so I can see what you see inside BIMsight ?

I don’t know what you mean by “isolate”.

I just exported an IFC from SketchUp v2016 with a IFCBuildingStorey component nested inside a IFCBuilding Component and it opened in BIMsight with no issue.

I can hover over the elements in the Object pane and they hilight in the view. I can pick either in the Object pane, and open a Detail view of them, or in the model view double click into the context of an outer object and highlight (select) the inner object (the BuidlingStorey in this test case.)

An interesting fact is that in the Details for these IFC objects exported from SketchUp, it says “SketchUp 2015”.
I’m not sure if that is an indication of how old SketchUp’s IFC exporter is (for SU2016), or how old BIMsight’s IFC importer is.

ADD: Figured out how to get at the BIMsight release notes,… I do not see any mention of SKP format compatibility above v2015 !

The machine I’m on will not run SU2018, so I’ll need to test later.

ADD: Tekla BIMsight is one of the worst GUI designs I’ve ever seen. The text is blurry and almost unreadable. The tooltips Forget It! The “flavor” of the interface is Linux-like but even subpar for Gnome or KDE. Not a fun application. No wonder it’s free.


I’d tried to upload my .ifc file exported from 2018, but on this forum, you can’t as it’s format is not allowed :frowning:

My nesting hierarchy in SU, as you saw maybe, is: level 1, or outmost group, is an ifcSite, inside which I have a subgroup (level 2) as ifcBuilding, then inside that, two subgroups (level 3), one for each ifcStorey, and inside those (level 4), the actual building elements like ifcWall, or ifcBeam etc…

When I say “isolate” I mean that in Bimsight, which I agree is horrid to look at, I mean that in the “objects” pane it identifies the sub-object (4 levels deep) like ifcWall, ifcColumn etc, but you can’t render invisible either building nor storey… Odly, it correctly identifies the ifcSite which you can render invisible…
I’ll try exporting with SU2016 on another machine when I get a moment… And yes, even from 2018 the objects owner is listed as Su2015 ! Bizarre…

Maybe there’s a wierd and wonderful methodology to respect, but I can’t work out the logic !

Thanks for spending time on this…

You can always wrap “unallowed” file types in a zip archive and post that.
(I’ll prod @jody into “allowing” IFC files.)

I believe this comes from that BIMsight itself hasn’t been updated since then, or that part that part of it’s code hasn’t had any “love” since then. I see that the executable was last built in Jan 2017, so in no way was it updated to read any 2018 SKP file changes or “goodies”.

NO, it’s just that this “application” is a piece of junk, and reflects poorly upon Trimble’s product portfolio.

I would strongly suggest finding another BIM / IFC viewer.

BTW, … I had previously (June of 2017) filed a report on the lack of IFC help / knowledge in the SketchUp Help Center in the Meta > Help Center Issues category …

I’ve asked that the thread be unlocked so others can weigh in on what information users need concerning BIM / IFC SketchUp integration, import and export.

testIFC-all components-attributes2.zip (7,3 Ko)
Dan, here’s a zip with the ifc file…

Otherwise, yes, maybe I need to use something else as a viewer… Just seemed logical to use something from Trimble as it seemed like a “suite”… Any suggestions of a good free, or not too expensive Bim viewer ?

Solibri Model Viewer


I see after testing that the SketchUp IFC exporter does not list IFC objects as having been exported, UNLESS they have geometry of their own. So basically for the building object, you need to draw a 3D box around the whole building volume.

The same for other “enveloping” object types.

Since SketchUp has a bounding box built-in, it would’ve been nice if SketchUp’s IFC exporter did this itself for us during the export.

NOW, if this is new or regressive behavior, then this is a bug, and you should recategorize this thread into the Technical Problems > SketchUp category, and add “bug SU2018 IFC export” tags.

The product groups came from different companies in different countries.
They are far from a suite. Their products are not “in sync”.

You may see some SketchUp model editing features being implemented within other Trimble products including Tekla products (if it benefits these products and helps drive revenue.)

@paddyclown Patrick, also see this post from someone with great experience working with IFC and SketchUp …

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ah ha, I see the thing about creating a frame around the enity called building or whatever, even if it’s invisible… but what a drag that Trimble hasn’t synced it’s own products, even if they do come from different sources… hého, in a later release maybe… meanwhile, we’ll find another viewer !
thanks for the info in any case !

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Hi guys, I only just found this topic, sorry for the late chime in. As you are probably aware, PlusSpec automates and associates very high-level classification information to the Model, EG IFC wall, IFC Structure, IFC Beam ETC that can be exported and understood. The reason we hadn’t taken this further was due to the issues raised above.
Just so you are aware, we have been working hard in this area, and we believe that we are breaking through yet it is still a little early to raise the victory flag and claim we have broken through. In-house testing gives me confidence, and if all continues the way it has to date, then I hope to have something in Beta in the coming months.
OpenBim is the key to collaboration with Industry in my view.

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Hi Andrew,

Very interesting, as you’ll probably know there is a significant amount of work going on in relation to product data templates. I am the BIM development Lead at BRE in the UK and we’ve been developing an open system to define attributes and property sets (accessible via webservices and downloadable in machine readable ways (as well as human-readable ways too)).

As a very enthusiastic Sketchup user, I of course made sure to test our work on Sketchup (as well as in other apps like word and Excel etc - not limited to just BIM authoring software but also open to other platforms that may need to interface with production informaiton). I wanted to ensure it had all the ingredients needed to create an skc file and for example if an end user’s component is a particular product, they can add this class parallel to the ifc class that has been applied. Below is a screenshot demonstrating its use in a European Project Data Template generated from our system. implementation was straightforward it just involved an additional xsl to transform the standard xml output of our system which produces an xsd in a structure that is compatible with both sketchup’s skc generation (as well as MS Excel XML mapping).


But there will always be a variety of other psets that people will want whether its COBie, or other Standards that aren’t shipped with the base IFC schema right the way down to company level templates of standards.
The only thing missing from the sketchup software side is the recognition within the ifc export of the additional property sets. Whilst it is realtively feasible to create an rb extension for this function, it really should be an integral part of skp imo. The only other way I can think of to add property sets with the current functionality would be to modify the ifc2x3.xsd file itself which wouldn’t be ideal. - If this is in the 2019 release I would be certainly keeping an eye out and would love to get a preview of the next release ahead of the official release if possible.

Other wish list items:

  • Possibility to link directly to definition libraries. If you’re interested in connecting to BRE’s work on templates let me know, the xsd and json format we provide from our webservice is already compatible.
  • Better support for data type fields would be useful - You have the basics but a date field and a boolean field would be useful. Also the potential for an array field would also be needed for some of the ifc data types such as BOUNDEDVALUE, REFERENCETABLE and IfcTimeSeries
  • The ability to link some of the fields (particularly quantity based ones) in the Component Options with the fields in Dynamic Components
  • The ability to attach the class to an instance (group and see the property sets) - I note it only shows the psets for Types (Components).
  • Read and Write the ifcxml format as well as the Express format of ifc.

Julian Buhagiar.