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Blogs 12 jun 2023

How easy it is to make a material passport using BIM

Madaster automatically creates material passports based on an IFC file containing a BIM model. The materials in the IFC file are being enriched in Madaster with circular and environmental data to provide insight into a building’s circularity and embodied carbon, amongst other things. Sounds complicated? We asked Madaster user Luis Briones, BIM and digitisation department head at Arcade, about ease of use of Madaster based on four frequently asked questions.

IFC export

1. What do I need to consider when designing with BIM to get an IFC that Madaster can read?

The basis, of course, is that the elements contain the information required by Madaster as described in the documentation you can find on the Madaster website (docs.madaster.com ). For this, it is important to master the use of the BIM software, especially with regard to exporting to IFC. Because Madaster works with IFC and requires certain information, you need to understand how the conversion from native to IFC is done, and particularly how it can be edited to achieve the right end result. By the way, this is not only important for Madaster, but essential in any open BIM collaboration! The BIM Basis ILS manuals on native software are a good reference to learn more about this. They contain an overview of how the current types of BIM software can export models that are compliant with the BIM Basis ILS. The guidelines of the BIM Basis ILS (https://www.bimloket.nl/p/321/Downloads ) largely match Madaster’s requirements.
‘Once you understand how Madaster reads the IFC and how your software exports the IFC, you already have the necessary knowledge to seamlessly import your models into Madaster.’
It is also important to know the software’s limitations. For example, Revit can have issues with exporting openings to IFC if they are exported in a certain way. Base quantities can also sometimes have errors or inconsistencies. Therefore, it may be advisable to export the Revit area separately in a customised property set. In a nutshell, carefully read the documentation of Madaster and that of your software. Once you understand how Madaster reads the IFC and how your software exports the IFC, you already have the necessary knowledge to import your models seamlessly into Madaster.
‘Invest in updating your library of materials so that they are automatically linked.’

Material recognition

Materials are probably the most important parameter in Madaster, next to quantities. The better your library is built, the fewer manual corrections you need to make following the data export. Invest in updating your library of materials in your native software so that it can be automatically linked to your material database.

Nested Families in Revit

2. What should I do with nested families in Revit for Madaster to read them correctly?

Nested families are a Revit-specific phenomenon that has a significant impact on how the IFC is exported. Nested families can be shared or non-shared. Apart from the implications within Revit, shared nested families are exported along to IFC as a separate element. Non-shared nested families are exported under the same element. Take windows and doors, for example; if you work with a frame and a lintel as a shared nested family here, this will also be exported to IFC as a separate element (and, thus, read into Madaster as a separate element). Be sure to take this into account when preparing your elements and models. For example, a separate lintel must then also have recognisable material for Madaster if you want to automatically link it to Madaster’s material database. It is not always clear what works best. It is therefore a good idea to do some small tests before uploading a complete building.

3. Can I add the SfB classification system to my software?

All current BIM software offers the possibility of adding classification codes to the elements. The BIM Basis ILS manuals contain the necessary information on how to do this for your software package.

4. Can I improve the matching process with the databases in Madaster in my software?

Absolutely, once you properly understand how Madaster reads the IFC and provides the link to the material database. This is all described in the Madaster documentation. As long as you have the option in your software to standardise element and material names and/or parameters to some extent, you should be able to automate most of the matching in Madaster. With Arcade, we managed to adapt our Revit template and library to allow us to load our models into Madaster and have a material passport generated without any preparation.
More about Arcade
Arcade is an independent and family-run company with Antwerp roots, founded in 1986 by Bob Gorlé and Patrick Spaas. In 36 years, the organisation evolved into an established and renowned value in the engineering world. The core vision and values from when it was founded remain intact and are ingrained in the DNA of every employee: client satisfaction, excellent quality of work and corresponding flexibility. Arcade has a great team in place to assist every client in realising their dream project.
Who is Luis Briones
Luis Briones is BIM and digitisation department head at Arcade, and is responsible for the application of BIM within Arcade’s engineering departments and the overall operation of Arcade’s BIM Consultancy, BIM Management, and BIM Coordination services. Following his training as an engineer-architect at KU Leuven, Luis obtained a specific BIM Management master’s degree from the Zigurat Institute of Technology in Barcelona. His passion and commitment to BIM and digitisation of the construction sector are reflected in his participation in the Digital Construction working group of Buildwise, as well as his support to Campus De Nayer with respect to thesis supervision for BIM-related topics.

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