What is BCF?

BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) is a file format for communicating ‘issues’ of a BIM model and can function completely independently of the 3D model. In recent years, it has become apparant that communicating about ‘clashes’ in a model is a profession in its own right. A specific object was communicated and shared with partners via IFC and a specific ‘clash’ had to be described by telephone or with screen shots.

BCF consists of 3 parts: a screenshot, a camera angle and a list of objects from the BIM model that the issue is about.



Construction projects usually involve team members from different companies. During design reviews issues arise, which need to be addressed by one of those team members. In most cases this means working on one project using different software. That’s where IFC comes in; exchanging the actual models via an ‘open standards’.

But how do you transmit the issues found? IFC contains data (GUID’s) linked to the building objects, and is therefore not suitable for documenting issues or workflows. BCF (BIM Collaboration Format) is an open file format that allows the addition of textual comments, screenshots and more on top of the IFC model layer for better communication between coordinating parties. It separates the communication from the actual model. BCF has been developed to simplify cooperation between different parties working on a model by enabling them to raise issues, provide answers and post comments in an open file format that does not contain any model elements.

Origin of BCF

The BCF concept was introduced by Solibri, Inc., and Tekla Corporation in 2009. They introduced the idea of using open standards enabling workflow communications between BIM software tools. An XML schema, called Building Collaboration Format (BCF), was developed. It encodes messages that inform one BIM tool of issues found by another. Separating communication from the model, enabling a powerful and open collaboration between parties in any construction project.

BCF Facts

  • Development of BCF started in 2009
  • Initiated by Solibri, Tekla, along with the Institute for Applied Building Infomatics.
  • BCF is now a buildingSMART International openBIM standard, like IFC.
  • The BCF format to coordinate changes are an important aspect of OpenBIM.

Starting with BCF?

Start with software that support IFC

First, choose the best software for your job that supports openBIM. This will best benefit an IFC workflow. Then decide together with your partners how to exchange data based on IFC: who is responsible for which data and what level of detail. Use it, work together, exchange data and learn how to model for the best results.

Use BCF Managers to share issues

With BCF Managers for Revit, Archicad, Tekla, Navisworks, Solibri and simplebim you can easily view issues found in the BIM model within these BIM tools. Our BCF Managers enables an efficient collaboration workflow for model quality assurance. It is supported by Solibri, BIMsight, Tekla Structures, DDS-CAD and many more.

Manage issues in the cloud

BIMcollab takes BIM collaboration to the next level; BCF based issue management software in the cloud. Structure your workflow for storing, sharing and managing issues. Combine it with the BCF Managers or use our API to make a direct connection from your own BIM tool to BIMcollab.