IFC import to / export from SketchUp Pro



Continuing the discussion from IFC import to SketchUp:


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.

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

IFC & attributes import & export

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


This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.



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