Jump to content

VWA BIM Certification?

Recommended Posts

For obvious reasons, I don't have practical experience, nor am I particularly familiar with the IFC implementation. This is just general knowledge and to a large degree deduction and guesswork.

can some one help me to understand how i will use this info?

That depends on what you do. IFC - and BIM in general - is really only applicable in large projects for Governments or large clients. It is useful only if all designers contribute.

Apart from design, it is supposed to assist in tendering and construction, not to mention on-going management of buildings.

what will change in the way i draw?

It may or may not change the fundamental way people work; certainly to some degree it will, depending on how they have worked before. While it is up to each program to translate the generic IF-classes* to its internal objects and vice versa, it is up to the users to produce their CAD-documents using translateable objects.

Not all programs will be able to manipulate all classes and different programs manipulate the same classes in a different way. You may eg. see a beam and its dimensions, but don't see its reinforcement and can't change anything except the colour.

*) The term "class" does not here refer to VW's classes or anything similar. In object-oriented programming languages a class is an object type or prototype, with a certain behaviour; objects are instances of classes.

Share this post

Link to post

To viewers of this thread: as moderator of this forum, I have deleted the last four posts as they could primarily be characterized as personal attacks and didn't have any significant substance pertinent to the thread.

Edited by Robert Anderson

Share this post

Link to post

Let's put it this way: there are large clients waving bundles of money. They want to have better information about their buildings so that they can save money in their life-cycle management.

For us, that is "new money" - a transfer of money from those aspects and facets in the life-cycle we have had no role in, to the phase we are involved and interested in.

Someone will take the money. If it's not us, then it's someone else and our role will be diminished to that of a specialist consultant, with little control over the end product.

Share this post

Link to post

I am no expert in IFC, but I know that it depends upon the elements of a design being "objects" that can be tied to IFC codes. I think this means that a 2d drawing is difficult, if not impossible to tie to IFC classes. VW is partially there, I would guess, but is still too tied to its 2d heritage to make an easy transition. If I were in charge of VW I would concentrate on making it a 3d program. Right now it is primarily a 2d program. The 3d aspect of VW is still too slow to take seriously as a BIM application. "Update" and "recalculate" are commands that will have to disappear.

Share this post

Link to post

Many years ago local architects would show up at our office to chat with the senior architect. Most of them never used a computer or worked with CAD. They would laugh at me sitting in front of that little B/W monitor... not some large drafting table filled with stuff. They'd mutter "... 'professional' architects would never use CAD, because it's too easy to change things". Obviously, for them change was not that easy to understand. It took a lot of effort to draw a plan then cut-out those cardboard models ... better get it right the first time, hey.

Computers and networks have changed the rules of the game... it's all about information management from beginning to end.

CAD is database programming ...


The Senior Architect never made the transition to computers. He no longer does architecture. He specializes as on-site project manager.

His last job, a Cancer Center, was a total disaster.Apparently, he could not manage the information required to complete it on time and within budget.

Share this post

Link to post

C'mon, mon, don't be a mol! As I'm tallying me bananas and trying to product-model them using UF-classes...

Constant change is what architecture is about!

(For speakers of Malayalam, my apologies for sexism - it was intentional and ironic.)

Share this post

Link to post

I think, what is important for everyone to understand, about the IFC framework/data format, is its role as a means to control/harness all the data associated with the design, construction and occupation of a building.

IFC - see http://www.iai-international.org/ and http://www.ifcwiki.org/ifcwiki/index.php/Main_Page - is just a part of the overall BIM (Building Information Modeling) concept. The bigger picture of BIM (VDC, buildSMART, Virtual Building, etc. call it whatever you want) considers that buildings need to engage design, fabrication and inventory technology in much the same way automotive, aerospace and other manufactured goods have been for the last 30 years. Why? Money. The adoption of advanced data technologies in other manufacturing processes have proven to make such resulting products less expensive to make and own. The technology streamlines the way data needed for production is handled from initial concept through to ownership. Every time a set of data (i.e. design drawings) needs to be re-interpreted for the next stage in a product's cycle of existence, time, and thus money, is spent/lost.

For many arguable reasons, the building/construction industry, as a whole, has been extremely slow to catch on to this trend. There are parts of the industry (small, but growing) that have incorporated advanced technologies to get either large quantities of building done (i.e. manufactured housing) or large, complex projects done (look at some of HOK's project, for example) or to provide components/parts for any building project, large or small.

The concept and argument is that there is a growing need, by the owners of building projects, for the building to be conceived and executed as efficiently as many other products. The demand for narrower cost margins and higher values, by owners, drives the need for all the players of the process to participate in a common method, analogous to an assembly line of televisions, for example. BIM provides a framework for this participation. BIM demands that all the players, from the Owners to the Designers, the Regulators, the Builders, the Fabricators and the Facility Managers, participate in the process with technologies, processes and data standards that can be shared with, or interact with each other in a more fluid way.

IFC is a component of the data standards piece of the puzzle. IFC is a data file format that is vendor-neutral. This "data" is the description of a building and all the pieces that make up the construction of the building. The data can be geometrical (2D/3D) or informational (text/numerical). In the end, the IFC Model is a virtual description of the project/product that can be viewed by all parties. Right now, the IFC Model is more about sharing this information than it is about creating a "round trip, directly editable" model. Some players don't need access to editing capabilities, but require access to the results of other players' editing, quickly and easily.

IFC is an open format. No single vendor can dictate its requirements, nor control its development. The development of IFC is dependent on the needs of ALL the players in the process, thus all the players have a voice.

More and more government entities are requiring IFC compliance because it eliminates their need to manage different file formats from different platforms. The IFC Model is potentially smarter than drawings, giving regulators a single point in which to examine multiple aspects of a building design, like energy analysis and compliance, as well as explicit building code compliance. The ICC is working on a program to automate code compliance checking by examining an IFC Model, further streamlining the regulatory process -see http://www.iccsafe.org/news/102006smartcodes.html.

More commonly, at his point in time, you will see submissions made with a PDF component, as well as an IFC Model component. Why? Less actual paper, yet the provisions for some type of document "trail." Conceptually, over time the need for explicit traditional documentation will become less important as the technology of the model grows more sophisticated and complete. Drawings will become a product on an "as needed" basis, rather than being the basis for the building process. Each player will be able to extract drawings/views of what they need, when they need it, if they need "drawings" at all.

Right now, IFC and the other BIM standards proposed by groups like the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperablity) and NIBS (National Institute of Building Sciences) - see IAI International and NBIMS Publications | National BIM Standard http://www.facilityinformationcouncil.org/bim/publications.php - are the roadmap for the future of Architecture and Building. How fast we get there and what it looks like in the end is anyone's guess. But, by engaging and participating in it now (or as soon as possible) Nemetschek AG, NNA and our users have the opportunity to be a part of a global, and seemingly inevitable, direction.

Share this post

Link to post


Me tips me hat. Humbly. With apologies. Now I realise that there is in-depth knowledge and expertise on the subject at NNA. Just make sure that you're not limited to "National".

Share this post

Link to post

oooook, now that i understand what it is all about. my next big concern is how is all this 3d model information going to be presented in the 2d construction drawings?

im willing to model every stud and have data attached but when i cut a section i need to see a rectangle w/ and x through it and concrete with a concrete fill etc.

i heard revit allows one to "delete" a line in a viewport. it is not really deleted you can get it back. this is better than masking a line.

i assume that parametric objects will fade out? would i not just go to a manufacture and get their door/data and insert it into my bim? same with everything else. most of the time we are just fitting together other peoples products. so they need to have 3d objects/data ready for download. currently i am finding it very hard just to get 2d cad drawings from companies.

Share this post

Link to post

Just wanted to bump this thread since it's been a while.

Any news on when VWA will be IFC v2x3 compliant?

Or does anyone know if there has been any VWA project which has passed the GSA's spatial program validation process?


Share this post

Link to post


VectorWorks Architect has 1st Step IFC 2x3 certification. We are continually refining the IFC tools as we continue to develop new versions of VW.

GSA BIM guide validation/compliance is ongoing. We are currently revising the IFC tools to satisfy the comments after the last review.

To achieve Stage 2 certification, our users must demonstrate the use of VectorWorks Architect and IFCs in a real project and workflow. As per the IAI Implementer Support Group:

"Step 2: after end-users have used the application for at least 6 months and approved, that the quality of it's IFC-interface is sufficient, the application will be tested in a second workshop using data from real projects."

I am always on the lookout for users who are willing to step forward, to assist them in a real-world implementation.

Share this post

Link to post

Thanks for the reply, Jeffrey.

Well, here's a real-world situation I can share with you. I'm currently employed by an Autocad-centric architecture firm wherein I'm the lone VW user. I've been able to customize my own workflow to be able to still do a significant amount of work using VWA while helping in production with AC. Thus, I was able to demonstrate a number of VW's advantages and it's BIM potential.

Our company is now in the process of committing to a BIM software and our IT guy is tasked to evaluate all the competing BIM applications. Our structural consultant is trying to convince us that Revit is the way to go. One client on the other hand wants Bentley. I have this impression that Archicad is the most mature and capable. Meanwhile our IT guy is concerned about translation issues with VWA since none of our clients and consultants use it.

Any thoughts on how one should approach this?


Share this post

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


7150 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046, USA   |   Contact Us:   410-290-5114


© 2018 Vectorworks, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Vectorworks, Inc. is part of the Nemetschek Group.

  • Create New...