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Developing Coverage Analysis for IFC Files



Robert R. Lipman


Conformance and interoperability testing of product data exchange interfaces is essential to delivering reliable software implementations and meeting user’s expectations for interoperability between BIM software. For either type of testing, product data model test files, such as IFC files, are required to test the import and export capabilities of IFC interfaces in software applications. However, the extent of information concepts in the IFC schema makes it infeasible to generate a set of test files to provide comprehensive coverage of all concepts and their combinations. Currently industry is using sets of IFC test case files that have been contributed by multiple organizations to test data exchange implementations. While the sets of files are useful for testing IFC software implementations, there are no methods and metrics to measure the coverage of information concepts in the test files. To achieve more effective testing, that can result in better interoperability between software tools, it is essential to be able to measure the coverage of information concepts that are contained in the test files. The coverage analysis of a set of test files can be based on many metrics. Coverage analysis metrics can be based on concepts that are generic to all files, such as the use of property sets, enumerations, geometric representations, and commonly used attributes. Metrics for coverage analysis can also be based on concepts specific to a particular domain or model view definition such as precast concrete or energy simulation. Software is being developed to implement various metrics related to the coverage analysis concepts and applied to sets of IFC files, such as those used in the past buildingSMART IFC certification process and the current model view definitions developed for IFC implementations. Ultimately, the results of coverage analysis will determine if a set of test files used provides sufficient coverage of all the relevant concepts that need to be test
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the CIB W78 2010: 27th International Conference
Conference Dates
November 16-18, 2010
Conference Location


IFC, coverage analysis, software testing, conformance, interoperability, product data model


Lipman, R. (2010), Developing Coverage Analysis for IFC Files, Proceedings of the CIB W78 2010: 27th International Conference, Cairo, -1, [online], (Accessed February 26, 2024)
Created November 16, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017