Incomplete IFC import


I’m working on sketchup PRO 2023.
I received an IFC file. I don’t know if it comes from Revit or archicad.
I imported it on SKP, it works pretty well, but to check, I also opened it on Archicad and I realized that som elements were missing in Sketchup (some windows, stairs…)
I can’t understand why.
I tried importing it in two different ways:

  • file > import
  • with the IFC manager plugin.

Have you ever had this problem ?
Any idea to solve it?

Thanks in advance !


Hmm, usually the ifc_manager plugin works…
Can you share the ifc file so we can try ?

Best regards,

thanks for your answer
here is the link to download the file

Best regards

I don’t work with IFC, but pretty sure I saw someone around here mention that you can upload your IFC to your trimble connect space, and download it as a TrimBIM file that SU 23 can open natively.

might be worth a try, see if trimble connect translates it better ?

Have you viewed the file in an IFC viewer (Solibri, Navisworks, Trimble Connect…)? Especially if it was created in Archicad, some elements that don’t translate correctly might still be recognized if the file was reimported to the originating application. The safest way to ensure compatibility is to set the exporting application to include a full BREP representation of the model in the export.

Ok, so I opened the ifc in eveBIM (free viewer from CSTB) & also imported via both methods that you did.
I think I know why it messed up, but haven’t got a solution I’m afraid.
In the eveBIM view, there are objects that are classed as ifcBuildingElementProxy that are incorrectly parsed as ifcBuilding in SU.

@ateliernab has made a good suggestion that I’ve not yet tried…

But this is the perfect demonstration of why the Trimble people need to get on and FIX the ifc IMPORT/EXPORT ASAP !!! It’s not like we’ve not said it before guys !
This is the ABC of using SU as a BIM tool.
Right, rant over & I’m sorry @benjaminlr to not have found you a solution…
Best regards,


thanks all for your answers !

I tried your solution, and it (almost) worked !
I say almost because I have all the groups and components, but the structure is all “flatten” : all the groups and elements on the same level.

While with IFC manager, some components and groups were missing, but I had a perfect structure :
ifc manager
So I could hide levels for example. And It was much simpler to navigate in the model.

Well, no perfect solution !

(I could copy the missing parts from trimbim to ifc manager… but how to be sure to forget nothing ?!)

@paddyclown thanks a lot for your time too.
And I agree : let’s hope one day Sketchup will do something !

@ateliernab thanks, but I didn’t understand your message. I opened the ifc in archicad, yes. And it was ok. I don’t get : “The safest way to ensure compatibility is to set the exporting application to include a full BREP representation of the model in the export”

Thanks !

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yep, I got the same result… SOOOO frustrating.

C’mon Trimble, get this F-FIXED !
How can you leave us with our nether regions hanging in the cold like this ?

Could it be because the language? Maybe @MikeWayzovski or @brewsky can help us…

also, it looks like it’s only one element, ghe ventilation cover, that is impacted. and all its copies.

could this element have very specific properties that won’t translate well ?

IFC Manager does not really have it’s own importer, it’s just the normal import with some cleanup postprocess so that won’t for this kind of issues.

I have been able to use the trimbim route for some models, but it messes up the hierarchy as you mentioned.

I also had varying levels of success with opening the IFC from Trimble connect as file or reference model. The last result is locked for editing but it can be saved as a new SketchUp model by right clicking the component and save as…

The messed up hiearchy (IFCBuiling inside a IFCProxyelement) does not affect the visibility of the import, it just nests it wrong like it did in the original ifc.
SketchUp import


Trimble Connect browser:

It is hard to tell what elements are missing, since we do not have the authoring tool’s model (Revit 2020 project)

It might be that some elements are not created, like this annotation:

This even’t can’t be seen in Solibri, btw:

Inside Trimble connect and SKetchUp, it is represented by a wire-cube, as you might have noticed.

FWIW, since we do not know the export options and how the original model (Revit projects) was created, we do not have enough information. A simple checkmark inside a Revit family:

can have a great impact on how the ‘nesting’ and thus ifc export is handled.

What elements were missing?

Ok, so all is the fault of the way the export was done from Revit ?

Admittedly since Revit is super complicated one might need a degree in Revit to get it to do an export… Indeed, I’ve seen all sorts come our way from big sophisticated practices in terms of IFC files, and so often they do “behave” better in a viewer than in SU…

So, again in this case, in a viewer the building seems complete, except some very specific notes, and yet in SU there are obviously things missing like roof elements and windows (see the screenshots)… ?

This is definitely not the first time that people have had trouble with import/export of IFC files to and from SU.

It just needs fixing, period.

That there are not enough of us out here that need it to work might be why years go by and the problems around ifc files are never fully fixed… ?

But maybe, just maybe, if it worked, there would be a whole bunch more people using SU as a BIM tool. (The smaller architecture practices working on the coalface of modest buildings).

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That could be a cause, but to investigate where it goes wrong you would need to build a strong case towards the developers.
The modify setup for the export from Revit has 5 or 6 tabs, each with multiple options, that could result in 40+ different ifc’s, for instance.

I did see the curved stringer in TC that wasn’t there in the import in SketchUp.
The way complex geometry is imported might be the issue for this ifc format (2x3)

On the other hand, I remember seeing some ifc with curved stringers that imported well in SketchUp.

So we have to know what is different…


Mind you, I started working for the company to which I always complained about the flaws of ex- and import of ifc :wink:

I find the grouping/component structure of the ifc to just be in the way, as I would not group things this way in my SU model. I end up exploding things. Native import do not support layers/tags, but if you import a TrimBim file you get tags, so you can easily hide/delete the things you dont want to see, and incorporate that geometry into your normal sketchup tag structure.

Granted, the .trb import is not perfect. I find that the tags from that ifc show up in my sketchup file only after I do a save of that file, or wait for the autosave.

thanks all again for your time and answers.
I chose to keep the .trb import because it’s the most complete file.
I don’t have the good structure, mais but as @Odd_Haakon_Byberg said, the structure organisation of this file is not so good for a sketchup use.

My conclusion is : ok for this time, I will do it this way.
But it’s gone be very very complicated to work with other people if I have to share ifc files for this project or others.
And it’s a pitty ! Sketchup need to be able to communicate with other BIM software (archicad, revit…) !

Thanks all and have a nice monday !


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I guess it’s all about the workflow you have, if you need the component structure in Outliner to be perfect, or a basic tagging structure like you get with trimbim.

I prefer the last one, so I can control visibility of import on an overview level. I will not export out the ifc I have imported, its just there for my own reference, and then I will provide ifc of my own work, and stripped of all other parties work, so that someone else can mount the ifc from all different consultants together. Then my ifc structure is important for my exporting of my own work, but my imports of other peoples work is just for reference.

I do basic editing of imported ifc´s also, like getting rid of the ridiculous pink and orange color schemes that many consultants use, where color represents som internal coding, and not the actual color of the thing.

Yes, for the moment we just have to put up with the idea that other people’s ifc files can only really be used as physical reference files within SU…
When marrying ours & others files with the ifc structure intact is important we use a viewer like eveBIM (free from the CSTB here in France, but can be installed in English).
It’s all very frustrating for those of us who don’t believe the false notion that BIM is synonymous with Revit or Archicrad…
But I’m pretty sure that Trimble is finally going to work on this issue… Let’s hope so as we’ve been waiting a LONG time.
Obviously, above & beyond getting the import/export structure correct, we’re going to need basic quantity information to “stick” to classified objects & then easy adding of more alpha-numerical data via custom PSets for example. Level Of Information Need - LOIN - is being codified at the European level as we speak, so… let’s hope that Trimble really does get with the program & help us to stay away from having to migrate to using a bazooka to kill a fly !
All the best folks !