IFC Rail



Project Overview

In 2017 CRBIM and 7 European Rail Infrastructure Managers decided to start the development of a common strategic goal to digitize rail infrastructure. This major project, delivered under the umbrella of buildingSMART International, and adhering to Building Information Modeling (BIM) processes, began to explore the needs and requirements for this project. Over the last two years (2018-2019), the "IFC Rail" Project team has worked on developing the IFC Standard for rail. The project team successfully delivered it to Candidate Standard status as per the bSI Process at the end of 2019. This major milestone has presented major opportunities for standardization for rail infrastructure assets. The IFC Rail project completed phase 1 in March 2020 and since April 2020, has begun its phase 2.

Steering Committee

As part of the IFC Rail project governance process, a Steering Committee was formed. This committee is led by representatives from SBB, CRBIM, Trafikverket, FTIA, MINnD, SNCF, RFI, ÖBB-Infrastruktur, followed by Bane Nor and BaneDanmark for Phase 2. The Steering Committee facilitates the project and activities of the room, including overseeing the IFC Rail workshops and online meetings of the domain groups and technical services, leading the room sessions at bSI Summits, interacting with the Standards Committee and acting as a liaison to buildingSMART International. This group has clear guidelines and a clear mission. To deliver an international standard to better design, build and operate and maintain railway infrastructure.

Rail Dice

IFC Rail Project Stakeholders












Phase 1: IFC Rail Project Timeline

IFC Rail is buildingSMART's largest project to date. This project was assembled by a group of stakeholders keen to address industry challenges, develop better ways of working, deliver open standards and extend the current buildingSMART shema to fit their needs. Below is a timeline of how the team reached the end of phase 1.

1. Industrial needs and basic requirements

The business imperatives for addressing digitization in rail infrastructure came as a result of low productivity in the industry and the need to make assets perform better over the entire lifecycle. With low adoption and utilization of digital technologies and standards, the early stakeholders felt the need to address this.

2. Project setup: IFC Rail Phase 1

To focus on better ways of working, and to better design, build and operate railway infrastructure, the early stakeholders put together a roadmap, formed a professional team and put open standards at the core. The goal was to ensure the industry could better design, build and operate railway infrastructure.

3. Deliverables Overview: IFC Rail Phase 1

The team delivered and IFC Rail Spec in 2015. This initial spec put open standards at the core and looked at how to extend the value of BIM to span the complete view of railway assets. The team aimed to deliver an openBIM view and develop a set of deliverables as part of the first phase of the project. All of this was done in line with the bSI Process.

4. Background: IFC 4.3

IFC 4.3 has been published as a Candidate Standard and is available on the Standards Library. IFC 4.3 is unique, harmonised Candidate Standard that contains infrastructure extensions such as road, railway, tunnels, bridges and ports and waterways. Work has been done between buildingSMART rooms to harmonise the schema.

5. IFC Rail in IFC 4.3

The IFC Rail team delivered a list of requirements as input for the IFC 4.3 Candidate Standard. This list includes Cant Alignment, Linear Placement (such as geometry and positioning), Spatial Structure (such as breakdown structures), Built Elements, Physical Elements (such as track, signalling, telecoms, energy) and functional aspects.

Railway Room IFC Rail Project Update Video

Deliverables Mao

Deliverables for the IFC Rail Project Phase 1.

Phase 1: Deliverables and Shared Information

Following on from the bSI SPEC, delivered in 2015, the team set about delivering the various documents as part of the deliverables from Phase 1. You can get access to the documents below.

IFC Rail Project - Requirement Analysis Report

This document represents the first official deliverable of the IFC Rail project, and it contains the railway requirements for the extension of the IFC

IFC Rail Project - Abstract

This report followed on from the requirement analysis to look at the rail domain by describing its purpose, driving force, making and the results.

IFC Rail Project - Conceptual Model Report

The Conceptual Model is a conceptualization of the data requirements contained in the Requirement Analysis Report.

IFC Rail Project - Context & Approach

This document aims to summarise the organisation, methodology, scope and other essential information of the Phase I.

IFC Rail Project - Data Requirement Report

This document describes data requirements, defining each object with a name, description, optionally one or more images and a table of properties.

Harmonized IFC Standard

You can read the official schema release for the harmonized IFC standard at the library by clicking the link below.

Harmonized UML Report

This report aims to arrive at a harmonised IFC schema extension for infrastructure activities.

IFC Rail Shared Information

For access to the shared information folders, please click on the link below.

IFC Rail Phase 2




Phase 2 of the IFC Rail Project

IFC Rail has now entered the second phase of the project. The focus of this phase is to implement and validate the Candidate Standard IFC 4.3 and bring it to the status of a Final Standard. Once this has been complete, the standard will then be passed to ISO for publication. The basis for these tests are different main uses-cases which are defined in so called story-lines, focused on infrastructure, particularly for rail.

Principles and Guidelines for Implementation and Validation of IFC 4.3

The present document describes the process and templates used by IFC Rail Project Phase 2 and IFC Infra Deployment Project to implement and validate the IFC 4.3 standard. It also contains specific information for IFC Rail Phase 2 project including its organization and more detailed processes.

The process workflow describes the steps in the implementation and validation process, and major deliverables exchanged between different roles. This process is designed to enable Software Vendors having close collaboration with project teams and actively supported by them. It makes sure that the IFC 4.3 standard can be implemented and will be correctly implemented by Software Vendors to meet the requirements specified by stakeholders involved in these two projects.

You can join the buildingSMART Forum to discuss open issues.

Phase 2 Image

Call for Participation

buildingSMART International and the stakeholders of the IFC Rail Project are inviting Railway companies, software vendors and software developers to join the second phase of the IFC Rail Project. In the year 2020 and 2021 the major rail operators wants to achieve a worldwide recognised standard in order to run the submission process for rail infrastructure in a digitized workflow from design to operation.

What is your advantage and why should you join this initiative to make the IFC 4.3 candidate standard a final ISO Standard?

  • Addressing a future multi-billion market which is forced to be digitalized in the next 5 years at the source of digitalization
  • Getting important business-know-how from the rail experts in your future or actual customer base
  • Using SPOC’s in an existing well-doing worldwide collaborating team in the major rail assets owner
  • Immediate understanding of the priorities in the rail infrastructure standard
  • Getting information and a test base for the IFC Infrastructure 4.3 Standard
  • Be assured, that the members of this group wants to achieve quick results and therefore the duration of this project is limited. (No never-ending stories!)