BlenderBIM - OpenBIM authoring with Blender

Disclaimer: I am trained as an architect, and work in an architectural firm and with other consultants in the AEC industry.

@cekuhnen - in short, yes. More than a chance, in fact. Once all of the necessary features are there, which are quite a lot, and we’re still far from it, I think it will completely change the industry.


h this is very interesting to read.

I know freeCAD but to me it seems scaring users away - maybe mainly because of the UI.

In Interior Design we are stuck with the dreadful SketchUp. While SUP has some seriously good tools it also falls short in basically everything else.

What you are describing to me sounds like if it would even work out a dream come true.

Modeling in Blender with dramatically better tools than SKUP (I know in arch you dont use it just making a reference my to my area) with the bonus of having a superb render engine build in.

Creating drawings in sketchup is also well solved something I am curious if Blender could get to there with the same elegance.

Or you export your drawing and then in a CAD / Illustration app compose them into construction documents.

Au contraire my friend. Au - so very - contraire.

Ok I should have better said everybody I know uses either REVIT or AutoCAD for architecture but not SketchUp.

SKUP they consider for rendering maybe or do it right in REVIT.

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Actually, you’ve tackled a very important question here.

What do architects use apps the like of ACAD or Revit for and what do apps like SUp do?

There are two very distinct tasks in our pipeline. Well - in mine anyway, and has been like that for 20 years now.

1 - The sketching phase
2 - The drafting phase

Simply put - SUp - 1, CAD - 2

1 - Fast, natural navigating in viewport, fast basic geometry input / editing with basic 3D snap, basic boolean operations, nimble and forgiving scaling feature, a couple of basic materials, simplified UI, quick shadow cast, section boxes, nimble camera creation / trans-positioning, neutral / precise / un-binding aesthetic style. Sounds familiar? :wink:

2 - You know the lot - Broad spectre of geometry generation, robust / versatile / precise snap, powerful and robust dimensioning system, possible BIM element creation and parametric capabilities, automated / manual drafting capabilities etc.

You can’t sketch with number 2 and you can’t build with number 1.

Now - can these be united with good quality in one app… not sure…
Should they be… possibly…
Do we have a good chance - judging by the authors of Blender, FreeCAD and BlenderBIM - yes.

Great development initiative aside, and not implying BlenderBIM has this in it’s intended scope, but what i (and possibly other arch enthusiasts) still don’t see here is some concrete protocol for pipeline number 1. The important one.

How do we make a sketch of a house here?

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I actually know some architects who dont do 3D at all they just do the drafting, design in 2D but obviously with various degrees of detail - first explorative and then refined.

Others are full blown REVIT because from the model it makes you your drawings.

I also see in interior design sketchup slowly being replaced by 2020 chiefarchitect or revit based on what studio you work at and what they specialize in.

This is going to be interesting to see how Blender could plug-in and maybe not only function as the conceptual modeler.

I also used Fusion360 for some projects because well it is pure 3D cad with a fantastic drawing module build in. But obviously it is more for engineers.

I guess - I dont know why i bring it up - I am always concerned about us investing energy in changes when maybe the masses arent able / interested in embracing it.

But then hey quite an amount of architecture firms wrote AD a complaint letter about REVIT.

I also found it a little amusing that you should now if you lock yourself in this way to that degree you will be a victim to them and REVIT isnt the only BIM app.

Just to add a bit of flavour to the discussion, note that the BlenderBIM Add-on aims to build a full suite of tools (a large portion of the BlenderBIM Add-on is agnostic of Blender) to cover the full requirements of AEC from feasibility / land procurement, through to operation and teardown of the built environment.

You will notice features like IfcClash, which handle cross-disciplinary coordination during design development phases and construction phases. Or IfcCOBie which handles data collection during facility and asset management and construction handover. Or IFC2CA, which handles structural analysis, Ladybug-Blender for environmental analysis, … and more.

I am lucky in my company to work across project phases and across many disciplines, not just architectural.


A little late to post this, but very happy to announce that the BlenderBIM Add-on and it associated suite of tools (IfcOpenShell & co.) have just been awards the buildingSMART International Awards 2020 winner of the Technology category. The submission entry is called “A Modular Toolkit for Developing openBIM Data Pipelines”, which does not mention Blender explicitly in the title, but the add-on and Blender play a big part. Lendlease and Cox Architecture in Australia have used Blender to help deliver both small and large infrastructure projects, and this is just the beginning.

This is the largest awards event in the space with over a hundred judges and over a hundred entries. It is an important milestone of recognition to the contribution and impact that Free Software & Blender has, and can make in the AEC industry. I’m incredibly proud of the supportive community who have helped make this happen. To all the users, bug reporters, contributors, supporters, thank you so much!


Well deserved BlenderBim is amazing

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A user has developed a smart clash grouping feature, check it out in the video below! I think it is really awesome! He is also looking for comments so please leave your comments here:


Incase anyone missed it

BlenderBIM tour#1 with Dion Moult - IFCCSV

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I cannot comment on the features above, since my projects are small. I do have a question. When working with dimensions is there a setting that allows for the precision to be adjusted. For example if I want my minimal dimension to be 1/4 inch instead of 1/16".

@Ector3 there is a new feature which allows for rounding, both in metric and imperial. A new release will be made either today or tomorrow. When it is released you can find the feature here:


Awesome you guys. Thank you. This addon rocks !!

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BlenderBIM Add-on v0.0.201115 has been released with 52 new features and fixes. It’s our built environment, help support the BlenderBIM Add-on: 100% free and open source software that lets you author and document BIM data fully to ISO standards. It’s built by the AEC community, for the AEC community. Get it today:

Highlights include improved material and presentation layer support, improved geolocation support, and many more vendor workarounds.

New features:

  • New import model offset workaround for Bentley ProStructures
  • Implement workaround when importing invalid aggregates from Bentley ProStructures
  • You can now specify user coordinates to the ResetAbsoluteCoordinates recipe
  • The ResetAbsoluteCoordinates now attempts to avoid changing placements but only focuses on geometry coordinates, preventing coordinate double ups in tricky patching situations
  • Support importing IFC2X3 documentation information & reference dates, times, and file format mimetypes
  • The validator now validates whether you are using abstract IFC classes
  • Auto set file format settings when creating drawings in case you are doing your own renders as well
  • Add support for multiple dimension objects per view
  • New ability to round to nearest X for metric and imperial units
  • New drop down UI to select area and volume units (thanks theoryshaw!)
  • Log error in case users try to export an abstract class
  • Coding style standardised to help onboard new developers (thanks htlcnn!)
  • Add support for case insensitive file units when importing
  • New interface to manage presentation layers (e.g. CAD layers) in IFC (thanks Krande!)
  • You can now add / delete attributes in bulk by selecting multiple prior to adding
  • New utility class for Python coders to query which psets / qtos apply to an IFC class
  • You can now add / delete psets in bulk
  • You can now add / delete qtos in bulk
  • Add tooltips describing how to set external commands in preferences window
  • Improve intuitiveness of reassigning the IFC class of the active object
  • New IfcPatch recipe to extract elements into a separate IFC
  • New UI for material, material layer / constituent / profile set management
  • You can now convert from global to local coordinates
  • New category for IFC export workarounds for RIB iTwo costing program
  • New IFC workaround to export only triangulated geometry to Navisworks
  • IfcSverchok “By Type” node now has a dropdown UI to help select classes
  • You can now export attributes of the material layer set and constituent set itself
  • BIMTester is now more forgiving to run from any directory (thanks berndhahnebach!)
  • New IFC inspector interface to help debug, inspect IFC data, and be a teaching aid for IFC
  • IFC inspector supports expanding attribute lists and following a breadcrumb trail of nested references
  • Add import support for all attributes of the material layer set and constituent set itself
  • Support exporting more label metadata for material profile sets
  • Improved export support for presentation layers which assigns to representations (thanks Krande!)
  • New import support for presentation layers
  • Deprecated IFC material lists are now auto upgraded into constituent sets
  • Types with no geometry can now have material data imported
  • New workaround for incorrectly geolocated Revit files to auto detect the geolocation
  • Blender materials are now clearly consolidated into either materials or styles
  • New UI to manage material property sets instead of needing to use external CSV files
  • IFCCSV now continues executing even though it fails to change an attribute
  • IFCCSV now skips GlobalIds it cannot find
  • Now materials that aren’t also used as a styled item can be exported independently
  • New IfcOpenShell, with many new bugfixes

New fixes:

  • Fix bug where attributes wouldn’t import for some IFC classes
  • Fix bug where non uniform translations of spatial elements are exported with strange transformations
  • Fix error message when you switch drawing styles and a style it was referencing was deleted
  • Fix bug where Views wasn’t allowed to be in the IfcProject which prevented round-tripping
  • Don’t crash if you get invalid IFCs with missing attributes (thanks aothms!)
  • Fix bug where setting north angle from a geolocated IFC was wrong
  • Fix BIMTester error when creating a report with empty steps (thanks berndhahnebach!)
  • Fix bug where importing multiple grids with the same name fails
  • Fix bug where a styled item could be incorrectly assigned if an element has more than one context

Thank you for this update.

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Hi Dion,

I have a question.
An architect provided me with am .ifc file. Now I want to set the shaders/textures. But some parts are ‘linked’. The ‘shaders-tab’ has disappeared and instead there’s a ‘Object Data proportions Tab’.

There must be a way to set/change the shaders, but how?

@Foppe3D In IFC, some objects may themselves not have any representation (i.e. geometry). Instead, they are made up of many sub-elements, each which have geometry. This is known as an “aggregate”, and in Blender, the BlenderBIM Add-on imports them as a collection instance. The tab you see is the tab for an empty representation of a collection instance - it’s a normal Blender object.

If the IFC comes from Revit, you will commonly find this aggregation happening to curtain walls, roofs, ramps, and stairs.

Simply select the one you want to edit, then press the “Edit aggregate” button here, which will give you access to its components, to make it easy for editing. When you’re done, you can press “save aggregate” which will return it back into a single component.


This aggregation data is useful for those in the industry, but not too useful for artists as you’ve noticed. For this reason, there is an import option to merge all these into a single object for convenience. Simply check “import and merge aggregates” prior to importing.


Thanks a lot. Very helpfull :pray:

When activating addon v. 0.0.201115 :

Warning: class BIM_OT_copy_attributes_to_selection contains a property which should be annnotation!
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_copy_attributes_to_selection.prop_base
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_copy_attributes_to_selection.prop_name
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_copy_attributes_to_selection.sub_props
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_copy_attributes_to_selection.collection_element
Warning: class BIM_OT_add_annotation contains a property which should be an annotation!
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_add_annotation.obj_name
    assign as a type annotation: BIM_OT_add_annotation.data_type