Setting up a BIM Project with BlenderBIM Add-on

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Project structure[edit]

Each Project using BIM needs to be set up with the proper structure. BlenderBIM uses the open data structure of IFC. As with almost everything with BlenderBIM, you can do that either manually from Blender itself, or use the specialized commands provided by the add-on.

Project schema directory[edit]

The fastest way to create the project structure is to use the BlenderBIM add-on "Quick project setup" feature. To do that, you first need to select the proper template to be applied when the project structure is set up. This template lies in the so-called project schema directory, which is by default set to BLENDER_ADDONS_DIR⁄blenderbim⁄schema⁄. You can choose the project schema directory in Blender under Scene > Building Information Modeling > Schema Directory.

The default folder is prepackaged with the IFC4 schema and you can download different schema from the buildingSMART website. However, unless you are an IFC guru, you shouldn’t have to touch this.

Project data directory[edit]

You can choose the project data directory in Blender under Scene > Building Information Modeling > Data Directory.

The data directory holds the auxiliary data related to your IFC model. Examples include related property definitions, documents, and classification systems. Each project should have its own data directory. It defaults to the data directory in the BLENDER_ADDONS_DIR⁄blenderbim⁄data⁄ folder, which comes with some example preset data. You are encouraged to copy this template and set your own.

Quick project setup[edit]

You can find the command in Blender under Scene > Building Information Modeling > System Setup. This will create a basic spatial tree. It will create a tree of collections with the structure IfcProject > IfcSite > IfcBuilding > IfcStorey This is merely for convenience instead of having to create it all by yourself, since all IFC exports require a valid spatial tree. You can see the tree of collections in the outliner when this is done.

Quick Project Setup, Schema and Data directories

Standard project structure[edit]

The standard project structure, as proposed by Building Smart (the developer of IFC) and currently default in the BlenderBIM add-on, is following:

  • site as IfcSite
  • building as IfcBuilding
  • storey as IfcBuildingStorey
  • space as IfcSpace

A project can include any number of sites, a site any number of buildings and so on. The abstract spaces, converted to their respective IFC counterparts on export, are represented by a hierarchy of collections. Any objects outside a IfcSite collection will be ignored on export.

Empty axes objects are automatically placed in the project structure created by the Quick project setup command. These are, however, only placeholders and can be removed.