BIM properties – Attributes



The goal of this article is to introduce the BIM properties functionality. It is useful when a user knows the theoretical background of IFC attributes and can imagine how to work with them.


The important goal of the Building information modelling (BIM) is to manage and distribute huge amount of data about a model across different kinds of software. One way how to give different additional information about an entity in the IFC file format is to attach “PropertySet”. The following paragraphs introduce “Common Property Sets” for 1D and 2D members in SCIA Engineer.

Common Property Set

“Common Property Set” means a set of properties for particular entities which are defined in the IFC2x3 specification. The name of the set is given as Pset_*Common where * is the entity for which the set is defined, e.g. Pset_BeamCommon for beams. The list of properties and type of values for each set is explicitly defined (see specification

“Common Property Set” in SCIA Engineer 2012 is available for all 1D members exported as IfcBeam, IfcMember or IfcColumn, for all 2D members exported as IfcWallStandardCase or IfcSlab and for all general volumes exported as IfcWall. If the BIM properties functionality is ON in SCIA Engineer, each of these entities have a new group of BIM properties – Attributes in its properties.

How to use these properties

The main principle of these additional properties is simple. An architect sends different pieces of information to a structural engineer directly in the same file as the data with the structure geometry. Architects usually model the whole building with both load bearing and non load bearing elements. This function can be defined by the “LoadBearing” attribute. After the import of the IFC file the structural engineer can select all elements with the same values of this attribute and move them to the CAD layer or remove them from the project. As a result, only elements necessary for the design and analysis remain in the project.

Another example can be e.g. the “FireRating” attribute. The architect defines fire safety classification for certain elements which helps the structural engineer to define the appropriate fire resistance properties in SCIA Engineer.

When the structural engineer can find this additional information directly in the project, it is much faster than receiving the information through other files.


The importance of BIM properties is in the data exchange between architectural and structural applications, time savings and sharing of as complete information about the model as possible.

Marie Heřmanová