How to export to IFC 4.3

Export To IFC 4.3 from Trimble Quadri

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard plays a crucial role in today’s construction industry, enabling interoperability between different software and systems, contributing to more efficient project management, and increasing collaboration between teams.

One of the latest developments in the field of IFC standards is version 4.3. I have already written several articles on this topic, which you can find here:

In this article, we will take a closer look at how Trimble implements this standard in the Trimble Quadri software.

Trimble Quadri

Trimble Quadri is a tool used in the construction industry for efficient management of infrastructure projects. To start, I would like to outline a few fundamental principles of how this software operates.

  1. Integration and Data Unification: Trimble Quadri enables the integration of various types of data, including geospatial, geotechnical, and project data. The system is based on an object-oriented model, meaning that all data transferred to Quadri are converted and presented as objects. This unifies the data in Quadri, ensuring consistent use throughout the design and construction process. I have written more on this topic here: [LINK].

  2. Integration with Other Tools: The program is integrated with other tools used in the construction industry through application programming interfaces (APIs), such as BIM design software like SketchUp, Quantm, Revit, Civil 3D, OpenRoads, Tekla, TBC, Rhino+Grasshopper. This means that project data can be transferred directly to Quadri without the need for file-based workflows. I have written about this here: [LINK].

  3. Building Information Modeling (BIM): The software allows for the creation of Building Information Models based on existing objects, which is crucial in the process of modernizing and expanding existing infrastructure. It also includes tools for creating terrain surfaces.

  4. Enriching BIM Models with Information: With the tools available in Quadri, it is possible to enrich BIM models by adding a significant amount of information.

  5. Team Collaboration: By leveraging the cloud, Trimble Quadri greatly facilitates collaboration among different teams involved in a construction project, providing access to real-time data and models.

  6. Quality Control and Progress Monitoring: The software enables progress monitoring, quality control, and real-time issue identification. It allows for data to be displayed in various contexts, views, sections, and tables.

  7. Data Export: Quadri software has the capability to export data to various formats, including DWG, DGM, LandXML, FBX, as well as IFC formats such as IFC 2×3, IFC 4, and IFC 4.3. This means that users can easily adapt their data to different tools and applications, which is essential in the process of exchanging information between different platforms and industry specialists.

In the article, I would like to focus on the process of exporting data to the IFC 4.3 format, which represents an undeniable breakthrough in the industry. The implementation of the IFC 4.3 standard is a long-awaited update that allows for the detailed inclusion of data related to infrastructure objects.

Below, I will outline how the export process works in the Trimble Quadri application.

Export Process from Trimble Quadri

The process of exporting data from Trimble Quadri to the IFC 4.3 format can be divided into four main stages:
  1. Selection of Data to Export: At the outset, the user must decide which project data they want to export from Quadri. This may include 2D and 3D objects, geospatial data (terrain), alignments, etc.

  2. Choice of IFC Format: Next, the user needs to select the appropriate format, in this case, IFC, as the target export format. The choice of the IFC 4.3 standard is significant because it provides support for infrastructure data. Additionally, during configuration, we can specify the insertion point of the model.

  3. Spatial Structure Configuration: The added value of IFC 4.3 lies in the ability to define the spatial data structure for infrastructure models. The selection and potential editing of the configuration file allow for customizing the structure of exported data to the specific needs of the project.

  4. Conversion Rule Selection: In the final stage of the process, the user selects a conversion file, which enables the transformation of data from Quadri to the IFC 4.3 format. This is a crucial step as it allows for precise determination of how data and information will be saved in the exported file.

Exporting a Road Model to IFC 4.3

To export data from Quadri, you should select the “Export to File” task in the OUTPUT tab.

1. Selecting data for export

After selecting the “Export to File” task, the following interface will appear. In Quadri, objects are referred to as “Features.” To choose specific objects for export, you should click the “Select Features” button.
After selecting “Select Features,” the following dialog box will appear:

Objects can be selected in three different ways:

  • Objects Included in Tasks: Object selection can be based on project tasks. This means that the user can specify which objects related to specific tasks should be exported.

  • Objects in the Project: Another option is to select objects based on their presence in the entire project. The user can highlight specific objects that are relevant to the project, regardless of tasks.

  • Based on Location: The third method is to select objects based on their location. This allows for the selection of objects within specific areas of the project, which can be particularly useful in infrastructure projects.
In this case, I want to export the road model, terrain, and alignment. Therefore, I am selecting all the objects included in the tasks. The total number of objects I want to export is 90, of which 88 are road model elements. These objects include various components such as corridor surfaces (TrafficLane, RoadShoulder), drainage elements (DitchSlopeSurface, DitchBottomSurface), embankments (EmbankmentSlope), construction layers (StructureLayer), earthworks (FillLayer, Cut, SubgradeSurface, LowestConstructionWorkSurface), and boundary lines that can be exported as stakeout lines.

2. Choosing the IFC Format

The next step is to select the format to which we want to export our objects. In our case, we choose the IFC format from the available list.
Next, we proceed to the next dialog, which is accessible by clicking the “Settings” button.
In this dialog, we have the opportunity to perform several actions. First and foremost, we can select the version of the IFC standard. I am interested in version 4.3. Additionally, we can add project information such as the project author, software used, and other relevant details. There is also the option to assign coordinate points at which the model should be displayed and to customize units of measurement to our needs.

We can define the insertion point of the model as follows:

3. Spatial Structure Configuration

After selecting the 4.3 format in this dialog, we can take another important step in the IFC export process, which is choosing the configuration file that configures the spatial structure in IFC.
By clicking the button with the “folder” icon, we open an XML file that looks as follows:
The file contains a definition that allows for the mapping of IFC objects (with geometry) to the IFC spatial structure. The file enables the specification of the spatial structure for the road, railway, and drainage industries. The highlighted section in red contains the definition related to the road model. In yellow, I have highlighted spatial objects. The above notation represents the following breakdown schema:

Understanding the principles and relationships between objects is crucial for flexibly shaping the spatial breakdown structure of the project. I have included more information on this topic in this article: [LINK].

4. Selecting Conversion Rules

The final step in our process is selecting the file containing conversion rules. This XML file plays a crucial role in enabling the mapping of objects from the Quadri format to objects in the target format. The conversion file is opened in an editor and contains the necessary definitions for transforming data. It allows for precise determination of how source objects, their geometries, and attributes are to be mapped to target objects in the target data format. Each data format has a separate conversion file designated for import and export. In our case, we are selecting the conversion file for the road model, which will be used to export data to the IFC 4.3 format.
After opening the conversion file in the editor, its appearance is as follows. The editor provides the opportunity for precise mapping of source objects to target objects (1), considering geometry (2) and attributes (3). The editor offers advanced mapping tools, which may appear complex at first glance. A detailed discussion of this topic will be presented in another article.
Now, all that remains is to choose the location where we want to save our file. We can save the file directly to the local disk, Trimble Connect, or Project Wise. Finally, simply click the “Finish!” button, and the save operation will be executed.


Remember that exported files from Quadri can be customized according to your specific needs, which is a significant advantage.

I hope you enjoy the articles where we explain various processes step by step.

I would love to hear from you about what other tutorials would be useful for you in the future. Your feedback is valuable to me and will help me create content tailored to your needs.

Until next time! Marcin Pszczółka

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After reading this guide you will learn:

  • How BIM is used on the biggest projects in Norway
  • What were the challenges for the design team and how were they solved
  • What were the challenges on the construction site and what was our approach to them

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