IFC for Ports & Waterways

Project Objectives

  • Definition of Use cases in line with current InfraRoom Developments
  • Definition of data exchange requirements for use cases
  • Develop & document the IFC for Ports and Harbours data exchange standard to be known as IPH 1.0.
  • Development of modelling guidelines, and a IPH IDM & MVD(s)
  • Provide planning for Deployment of IPH 1.0 and highlight future developments for IPH vNext and Maritime Infrastructure.
  • Develop (or extend existing) tool to view/edit IPH 1.0 models and create example models

In addition to these objectives the following is recognised:

  • Integration of Previous and Concurrent developments within buildingSMART
  • Engagement with the Common Schema project.


Key Participants: & Project Team

Key Participants:  

  • China Communications Construction Company
  • Cardiff University
  • AEC3 UK
  • Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Waldeck Consulting
  • WSV – Federal Waterways & Shipping Admin. (Germany)
  • Gobar Consulting
  • Dalian University of Technology


Cardiff Team

Partner Project Team

Deliverables Overview

The IFC for Ports & Waterways project, aims to extend the IFC data model into the Maritime domain by describing the semantics and geometry of ports, waterways navigational facilities. The deliverables of the production standard are as follows:

IFC for Ports & Waterways (Presentation)

  • Project summary
  • Project deliverables
  • Outlook IFC for Ports & Waterways 2.0

Requirements Analysis Report

  • Status: FINAL

Extended Conceptual Model Report

  • IFC for Ports & Waterways IFC Extension Proposal
  • Status: FINAL

Taxonomy Model Report

  • IFC for Ports & Waterways Taxonomy Model & Development
  • Status: FINAL

Implementation Report

  • IFC Ports & Waterways – IFC Implementation Prototyping in Real World Practice.
  • Status: FINAL

Supplementary Docs

  • Taxonomy Spreadsheet
  • Properties Spreadsheet
  • Implementation Files


buildingSMART International Standards Library

Requirement Analysis Report


This section details the scope of the proposed extension work that will be conducted over the next stages of the project. The scope considers the asset management requirements, information structures requirements and spatial requirements of ports & waterways complexes. In addition, it details the scope decisions on maritime complex types, facility types, expected new products and physical entities. Lastly it details the generic process and highlighted exchange scenarios.

Conceptual Model Report


The scope of the IPW conceptual model is based on the findings and decisions conveyed in the IFC for Ports & Waterways: Requirements Analysis report. The scope is broken down into the following topics:

  • Ports & waterways complex types
  • Ports & waterways facilities
  • Ports & waterways products & physical entities
  • Common Schema elements

Taxonomy Model Report


The IFC for Ports & Waterways Taxonomy framework and dataset was initiated following the completion of the IFC Ports & Waterways Requirements Analysis with the aim to draw on expert knowledge from the BuildingSMART international community and leading organizations in maritime Engineering and operation to develop a first draft taxonomy framework and classified dataset for ports & waterways. The taxonomy dataset is a hybrid classification and conceptual model of the wider ports & waterways domain to provide classification of relevant elements within our working domain and serve as the Platform Independent Model (PIM) from which the Platform Specific Model (PSM) IFC extension was developed and loosely mapped.

The methodology for the IPW project’s taxonomy development consisted of a simple background review, information capture, development & expert review workflow. Prior to the dataset development a taxonomy framework was defined part of a set of principles which define a group  of interlinked aspects given to a domain dataset or Platform Independent Model (PIM). The IPW dataset was structured to adhere to the ISO12006: framework for information classification and is made up of 7 type hierarchies organised in to a loose meronomy. All developments were validated and reviewed through expert consultations and buildingSMART summit sessions.

The taxonomy dataset was developed based on organisational and national classification systems and breakdown structures and is represented as a set of tables within this document. An accompanying excel file is available to provide a computer interpretable listing of the concepts and relationships. The dataset will be used to develop the ports and waterways extension of the IFC.

Implementation Report


The primary goal of WP5 – Software Deployment and Validation was to provide initial validation and testing of the developed IFC extension for ports & waterways through the development of prototype tools and exploration of novel use cases of information exchange that are unique to the ports & waterways domain and test a new aspect of the IFC extension. This report reviews scenarios that constitute an analysis of new features of the Ports & waterways IFC extension, and an initial validation of the standard applied in the context of the design, construction, operation & maintenance of ports & waterways.

To review and validate the potential of the extension the team resolved to explore targeted scenarios relevant to each team members business activities. This resulted in authoring of 1 tool and 4 use case scenarios for the evolution of data through IFC. The subsequent following scenarios were then selected and lead by the relevant project team members:
1. Revit IFC4.3 Exporter & Master Planning Exchange – Cardiff University
2. Capacity Analysis & Logistics – AEC3 UK
3. Berthing Design & Analysis – Royal HaskoningDHV
4. Asset Management & Maintenance Strategy – German Federal Waterways Admin. (WSV)
5. Design Process & Management: Ship lock – China Comms. Construction Company (CCCC)

All-in-all, the implementation scenarios explored during the IFC for Ports & Waterways, provided positive indicators to the direction and content of the IFC for Ports & Waterways extension of the processes and best practices it is trying to encourage. The demonstration of the potential of new use cases such as berthing analysis & capacity analysis are seen by the team as key to motivating industry and project stakeholders to actively employ the use of the IFC standard and build their evolving processes around the neutral open exchange standard rather than proprietary and software specific schemas. The scenarios where able to demonstrate the use on non-graphical data in analysis and design process activities over the more contemporary focus on visual geometry. This is important for the transition in the use of IFC from buildings to infrastructure projects that are made up of mostly non-graphical data.

Alongside the developments in the use of IFC within analysis workflows, the team were able to implement features relating to asset management activities developed by the project and highlight the potential of IFC as exchange medium during the operational phase of an asset, extending the possible uses of the standard. Additionally, the team were able to demonstrate the coverage of the
ports and waterways extension and abilities to federate design models during the entire design process, further highlighting the possibilities of IFC as an exchange medium within actors as well as between actors on a project.

We thank the members of the IFC for Ports & Waterways for providing the knowledge to develop the extension and the domain expertise to implement the scenarios reviewed within this report and welcomes the continued work on approval of the standard to full ISO status. Further work is still required to develop model view definitions to enable the full potential of IFC and areas of scope related to the maritime & environmental domains that are yet to be explored.

Project Group

  • Binesmael Mohamed
  • Bower Thomas
  • Bradley Alex
  • Greatrix Mark
  • Jiang Shaohua
  • Khudhair Ali
  • Kluge Michael
  • Krijgym Fleurike
  • Li Haijiang
  • Liu Song
  • Moss Kyle
  • Nisbet Nicholas
  • Peel Daniel
  • Qin Honglei
  • Ramsay Mike
  • Ren Guoqian
  • Ren Guoqian
  • Ruby-Lewis Veronica
  • Smith Jack
  • Tian Zhong
  • Vaessen-Mol Laura
  • Wang Yi
  • Weidt Maik
  • Wen Xi
  • Wissel Julia
  • Zhu Xiaofeng



The documents reflect the current best practice and do not claim to be complete. They should not to be understood in the sense of a generally valid recommendation or guideline from a legal point of view. The documents are intended to support appointing and appointed parties in the application of the BIM method. The documents must be adapted to the specific project requirements in each case. The examples listed do not claim to be complete. Its information is based on findings from practical experience and is accordingly to be understood as best practice and not universally applicable. Since we are in a phase in which definitions are only emerging, the publisher cannot guarantee the correctness of individual contents.

  • Document Type : Standard
  • GUID : 718A9146-6BD5-4395-B40D-39B4E93B23CA
  • Identifier : IR-PH
  • Revision : V1.1.0
  • Project Status : Approved
  • Published on: Jan 26, 2023
  • Last change: Apr 12, 2024
  • Publisher: buildingSMART International
  • Author: Proctor, Jon | Binesmael Mohamed | Bower Thomas | Bradley Alex | Greatrix Mark | Jiang Shaohua | Khudhair Ali | Kluge Michael | Krijgym Fleurike | Li Haijiang | Liu Song | Moss Kyle | Nisbet Nicholas | Peel Daniel | Qin Honglei | Ramsay Mike | Ren Guoqian | Ren Guoqian | Ruby-Lewis Veronica | Smith Jack | Tian Zhong | Vaessen-Mol Laura | Wang Yi | Weidt Maik | Wen Xi | Wissel Julia | Zhu Xiaofeng

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