IFC import failed

Hello everyone,

This is my first time asking for help on this platform, and I hope the community can assist me. I have been using SketchUp for 5 years as part of my work in an engineering office. I am using the Studio version of SketchUp, and in particular, I use the Scan Essentials extension for modeling existing buildings.

As part of my work, I regularly import IFC files. However, for the past 3-4 weeks, I have been unable to import these files. I immediately receive an “Import Failed” error message without the import even starting.

Here is what I have already tried:

  • I checked the IFC version, which is 2x3.
  • I tried using other extensions, such as SIMLAB, which managed to import a model but it was completely corrupted (e.g., black faces, multiple groups, and sub-groups).
  • I reinstalled SketchUp.
  • I attempted to import the files without any extensions enabled.

Other users have been able to import the models, and I have also tried with files that I have previously been able to open successfully. Nothing has worked…

Has anyone experienced this issue before? Do you know of any solution or an extension that could help?

Thank you in advance, everyone.

Are you importing into a new empty SketchUp model file? … or an existing file with geometry?

What are the IFC units and what is the SketchUp model units?

Have you tried Ifc Manager to import the file? Have your model loaded Ifc classifications?

The IFC Manager extension uses the native IFC import function, but performs an optimization at the end of the import.

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A quick way of testing if the issue is with (conflicting) extensions is to rename the Plugin folder that resides in this path:
%AppData%/SketchUp/SketchUp 2023

I have the same problem since updated to 2023 version. I use the 2022 version for import and then save it to a skp file.
Really frustrating.
Maybe it’s time too contact the support: prosupport@sketchup.com

Are you using the latest maintenance release of v.2023? Have you tried repairing your installation ?

Hi Anssi!
Yes have the latest version.
3 months ago I cleaned up my computer and reinstalled everything. Didn’t help. I have contacted the pro support. Letting you know when they answer.

Here’s what worked out for me:
Go to convert3d.org (free and fast web based file converter) and convert IFC file to your desired 3D format. If you convert to 3DS or DAE textures and group hierarchy will be lost. If you need to keep textures and hierarchy, convert to OBJ-format.
To import OBJs to SketchUp I would recommend using Transmutr by lindale.io, which is a fantastic import tool.
Good luck!

if you upload the ifc to Trimble Connect you can convert the ifc to the .trb format, TrimBIM, which is Trimbles BIM format. That format can be imported into sketchup. This gives a light file with the tag/layer structure intact, instead of the native ifc import that somehow for no reason makes big files with no tag structure, the worst of all worlds, so to speak.

This process is of course a lot of moving the files around and clicking the same things over and over again, instead of just having a links palette that does these repetetive operations of updating things automatically, and we will probably get proper collaboration tools in a few years time, if we push hard for it.

Odd_Haakon_Byberg, thanks for your thorough description.
I’ve never really spent time on Timble Connect before. Perhaps I should play around some more with those tools.
So, I managed to upload the IFC file to Trimble Connect (I got a nice 3D preview of the content of the IFC file), convert and save the file again as a TrimBim-file. BUT when importing to SketchUp I get the same “Import Failed” message! Bummer.
Now, it would all be much easier if the IFC import option would just work in SketchUp 2023. My colleague succeeded in importing the exact same IFC file without any problem to SketchUp 2023. I then installed an older version of SkethcUp (2022 Pro) and I was suddenly able to import the IFC file!
I have tried to repair and uninstall SketchUp 2023 but the import error persists.

Sorry, then i dont know what might be causing the ifc to act up like that. If you have access to another resource, you could make a dwg 3D file from it, through Vectorworks for instance. That would also preserve tag/ layer information.

Are you aware that an IFC file is not just geometry? The important thing is the data…


I asked the SketchUp Pro support and got following answer:

I have tried and now it’s working.

“Hello Robin,

Thanks for your reply.

There is a known issue with importing IFC files in 2023 concerning non English characters either in the file name itself or the file pathway folders (this can also include your username directory having special characters). Try moving the file to another location like the desktop as a possible solution.”

A colleague of mine is experiencing this issue alone, but not anyone else in the same IT environment. We all installed Sketchup in the same way from our SCCM system.

Whe have uninstalled his SketchUp completely, removing appdata-profiles, installation folders and registry entries too. But after reinstallation the issue remains.

It affects the simplest empty sketchup exported IFCs with nothing more than a box component, as well as revit and autocad IFC-exports complex and simple. These files have no special characters in path, filenames nor inside the IFC-code. They are storied in local folders and he still immediately get Import Failed when trying to open them. No delay.

The rest of us have no problem at all with the same files, no matter where they are stored. Our IT is stumped.

It’s better to create a new topic for this.
Or contact support.
What happens if another user account is made on the same machine? (You have already established to figure out that it is not file based, so now check if it machine based)
If working, it is a user based problem (roaming profile?) which should be reproduced when creating that account on another machine where it works for your collegue.

Are you all up to date at the 24.0.1 release ?