IFC import to / export from SketchUp Pro



Continuing the discussion from IFC import to SketchUp:

I think IFC import and export deserves it’s own Help Center page(s) listing file types, specification versions, limitations, drawbacks, etc.


This category is for SketchUp Help Center issues. THIS topic thread is a discussion and request for a SketchUp Help Center article on SketchUp’s native IFC import and export features / implementation / strengths / limitations / workarounds, etc.

If anyone has direct firsthand knowledge and experience and would like to promote ideas, tips and tricks for a SketchUp Help Center article, please post your suggestions in THIS topic thread.

Otherwise, click here to expand advice on where to post questions, etc., ...
  1. If you wish to discuss or ask questions about using or writing 3rd party import and/or export APIs, please post your question in the Developers > Ruby API category, or the Developers > SketchUp SDK category (whichever applies best.)

  2. If you have questions concerning the end user manual interaction or performance with published 3rd party import or export extensions, please post your question(s) to the Extensions category (with the name of the extension as a prefix to the topic title in brackets.)
    Example: "[Fast OBJ Exporter] Entity id not exported from SU2018"

  3. If you are concerned with the (built-in) native SketchUp Pro IFC importer or exporter …

    a. … and are questions about current general use, features and performance, then please post to the main discussion SketchUp Pro category.

    b. … are about bugs, lack of features, improper files or data after import or export, then please post your questions or reports to the Technical Problems > SketchUp sub-category.



You can export the objects into other formats or programs. When you export SketchUp objects, they can contain all kinds of higher-order representations of things. For example, if your project workflows use BIM, you can export objects classified using the IFC 2x3 schema from SketchUp into the open BIM data exchange standard, IFC. (IFC stands for Industry Foundation Classes, an open data model standard for building information.) Rendering applications can use these attributes, such as material type and light sources, to simulate a scene. SketchUp’s APIs expose all the additional data that developers need to make rich importers and exporters from just about any information modeling format.

IFC & attributes import & export
Renaming components
How to add attribute into component option using ruby?

Yup, in a time where the industry is moving towards BIM integration, much more info on IFC would be useful.


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What are the lessons you’ve learned about dealing with IFC in SketchUp that would benefit others in a IFC Help article ?

Pitfalls ? etc. ?

What should i learn to be sketchup developer

@nnijmeijer ?


I haven’t used it extensively, but here are some things I have noticed:

  • materials do not appear to be exported
  • the major thing is about the structure of an IFC model. Certain kinds of classifications can only be nested in their “parent” classifications. That is to say that if you have a group with the classification “ifc_building” that is nested within say a group with “ifc_wall”, the export is broken (I can’t recall how it is broken).

In any case, how differently classified groups and components are nested is a topic that deserves some time.


We must tell people that it is possible to work with SketchUp Pro and the OpenBIM working methodology.
Many people do not yet believe that you can apply SketchUp Pro with BIM.
These people now use other “popular” CAD software for this.

In the 2018 version of SketchUp is the IFC export function “improved”, but it needs more improvement for a better workflow. SketchUp must follow the buildingSMART IFC standard! SketchUp 2018 exports much more data from dynamic components to IFC then the 2017 version. But the data in IFC is not always organized and not all the data is correctly exported.

I have created a SketchUp Pro BIM workflow that improves continuously, and I noticed amongst others that:

  • Every object in the SketchUp model must be a component that is classified with the BIM classifier function.

  • The outliner structure is the structure of your BIM model and will be exported to IFC if the structure is
    correctly classified and if the IFC parameters are filled with information.

  • Fill the IFC parameters in the Component Options.
    But not all the IFC parameters will be correctly exported according to the buildingSMART standard.

  • You must model inside out to create a BIM model efficiently.
    Each “chapter” of the model tree is a Dynamic Component.
    Model all the objects (classify them all!) --> create IfcBuildingStorey --> create IfcBuilding --> create IfcSite --> create IfcProject.

  • Allocate BIM objects with a material description.
    But the material of a object doesn’t export to IfcMaterial.

  • In the Netherlands we use a four-digit NL-SfB element code. If I add this classification system to a BIM object, it will not correctly export to IFC. It is in the 2018 version a custom property set.

  • The data from the dynamic components will be exported as a property set called “dynamic_attributes”. This is way to much unnecessary information in this export. Only the user generated data must be exported in this property set. It will be more efficient to export data to the original IFC parameters (buildingSMART) if they exist. The “custom” parameters can be exported as a custom” property set

  • The Layers in SketchUp Pro will not export to IfcPresentationLayerAssignment.

  • Application name must be SketchUp Pro 2018. It is still say’s SketchUp Pro 2015.

  • The point of orgin of the BIM model from SketchUp is located at 0, 0, 0, where the X, Y, Z axis crosses.
    Make arangements about the point of orgin with the involved partys before you start modelling.

  • Be careful with large IFC file sizes as underlay. Larger file size results in slower speed and performance.

IFC export: Geometry not exported for IfcSite and IfcBuilding
IFC & attributes import & export
Groups labelled with IFC-type are not exported properly to a IFC 3d-model

Alright thank you.


I have loaded the last IFC classes (IFC4_ADD2.xsd) from the building smart web site.
I used it only to send a IFC file to a thermal engineer I am working with.

IfcBuildingStorey/ IfcBuilding / IfcSite / IfcProject are generated automatically by Sketchup Export.

I only used components
At first I used only plane surfaces (walls and windows)
each walls of each room has a IFCWall tag
each windows has a IFCWindow tag
The component grouping walls AND windows has a IFC WallStandardCase tag
I created a volume with IFCspace tag for each room
Converted to IFC
Only one of the rooms was correctly opened by the thermal engineer !

I made an other try with 3d walls and windows
All was tagged with the IFCBuildingElementProxy !!!

Cant find any manual or video tutorial not using a plug in but native sketchup IFC Classifier
Would really appreciate some help from the support but got none…
Any one can help ?


As said in this thread, the native export is just plain broken…


I’ve been using SketchUp Pro 2018 with large IFC model exports from Revit, circa 600Mb. Files take about 30 mins to import, compared with 2 mins using Tekla BIMsight. That’s a limitation, though I’m uncertain whether the file needs to be this bloated – perhaps a limitation in Revit? Comparing IFC import from archiCAD into SketchUp and Revit, SketchUp imports most items correctly, whereas in Revit items are missing during import making it impossible to use Revit and Archicad together using IFC. On a broad brush I would say that SketchUp is the more useful “partner” for use with IFC.


The import of an IFC-file can bloat the Component-collection in SketchUp hugely.
All identical ‘parts’ are identified as ‘Unique’ components (Definitions), whereas the SketchUp-way is more efficiënt:
(multiple instances of one definition)


The components library in the project is indeed enormously large when an IFC model is loaded. This is because SketchUp converts the IFC model into a SketchUp model.

It might be a good addition to SketchUp by not importing and converting IFC models but by linking them. The user can view the imported IFC models but they do not become components that can be edited directly. This allows the user to model and export their own “part” efficiently in the BIM model. In addition, this will offer benefits for speed and workability in SketchUp.