About how VisualARQ exports models to IFC

Hi there,

I’m new to VisualARQ and I was drawn to it because firstly it is based of Rhino which I am very familiar with and secondly it is advertised as being able to make any object a BIM object with custom parameters too.

I just wanted to clarify, for these custom objects with custom parameters, what happens when we export it to IFC? Will other software packages (e.g. Revit or ArchiCAD) be able to import these custom objects along with all their parameters?

Also what kind of IFC object type would these be classed under?

Thanks in advance, apologies if the questions are unclear, I am quite new to BIM.

Hi @ervinelin,

You can convert any piece of geometry into an informed BIM object with the custom Parameter workflow. You can basically create new custom paramters (i.e: “price”, “manufacturer”, “phase of construction”, “material”, etc…) and assign information to any object in Rhino (no matter if it is a polysurface, a mesh, or a VisuaARQ object). These parameters will be stored in the geometry as IFC Properties when you export that model to IFC.
In this video you can see how it works: https://youtu.be/rdX7I79qTTI

On the other hand, with the ifcTag feature you can assign specific ifc categories to these objects, so for example a polysurface can be exported as an ifcColumn, an ifcWall, an ifcDoor, etc… These ifc categories can be also assigned by layer. You can see how that works here: https://youtu.be/AMKXYyJpEe4

Finally, with the Grasshopper styles workflow (option to create VisualARQ object styles from Grasshopper definitions), you can create custom parametric blocks on existing VisualARQ object types. The parameters that rule objects with that style will be also exported as IFC Properties, but only as “static” information (I mean, no parametric properties will be kept in IFC files for those particular objects).

Let me know if you have further doubts or questions.

Thanks a lot for your prompt reply,

I think I got most of what you are saying and I am very much interested in starting to work with VisualARQ. Just a few more quick questions.

Assuming that the object (e.g. a flower pot) has no pre-defined ifcTag (e.g. ifcColumn, ifcWall, etc), what will it become when I export it as an IFC object? (I am assuming ifcProxy by default)

From my understanding because it has no pre-defined ifcTag it will become a “static” model and lose its parametric properties if any (e.g. diameter of pot) but retains its custom parameters (e.g. material). But doing so will also allow me to import them to other BIM authoring software with the custom parameters still intact.

Please correct me if I am not understanding this correctly, thanks again!

If you don’t assign any specific ifc category to an object, it will be exported as a proxy (or “Generic model”).

The parametric features of objects are only kept through IFC files depending on the object type and how these objects are created. For example, if you export to IFC a VisualARQ wall created from a straight path, it will be identified in Revit (for example) as a native wall, keeping the parametric features. But if you tag a polysurface as an ifcWall, and export it to IFC, when you open it in Revit or ArchiCAD, etc, the parametric properties will be lost. In case of custom parameters, they are kept in the geometry regardless of the object type or if these objects have been tagged with a specific ifc category or not. I mean, you can assign a material, cost, or other property to a polysurface, export it as an ifcProxy, and that information from the custom parameters will be kept in the geometry.

If you are using Revit, I recommend you take a look a this guide, so you can see how each object is recognized by Revit after exporting it to IFC: http://www.visualarq.com/features/collaboration/ifc/revit/


Great! That’s exactly the clarification I need! Much appreciated!

Sorry to drag up this old thread again, I finally got down to working with VisualARQ and IFC.

I created a VisualARQ element based off a Grasshopper definition and created a bunch of custom parameters for it. As expected these were exported into the IFC file itself (opening the IFC file I see the custom paramaters and their values are recorded).

When I re-import the IFC file back to Rhino however, I only get the geometry and not any of the custom parameters.

Did I miss a step?

Thanks a lot!

Hi @ervinelin,

Unfortunately when you save to Ifc Grasshopper styles lose its parametric features because the GH definition is not saved.

The reason is that GH Styles are something specific of VA and we thought that it wouldn’t be important to keep the parametric features. But you are right that in case of importing an Ifc created by ViusalARQ it would make sense, so we will consider it for future versions.

Kind regards

Thanks for the prompt response.

I’m actually fine with it losing it’s parametric features, however I would have thought that the custom parameters (just the label and the numerical figures) would have been retained.

E.g. cabinet height, cabinet width. These don’t need to be parametric anymore but can be just static parameters with a fixed value.

I wonder if this is possible. I hope I am making sense.

Thanks again!

Ok, we will consider this option too.

Thanks for taking my comments into consideration, I really hope this gets implemented in future versions of VisualARQ.

As it is now it has made it impossible for me to use the IFC files exported as a means of data transfer between parties because the custom parameters were not imported along with the geometry.

Once again thanks for the very prompt responses and for considering my comments. I look forward to an update of VisualARQ which allows these custom parameters to be imported.

Thanks and have a good week ahead!