The Main BIM File Formats And Useful Ways To Use Them

BIM file plays a big role in today's construction. Let's dig into the main types of BIM file formats and learn how people use them in many ways. This short introduction will show you these formats. It will also explain how they help people work together better, make things more organized, and bring new ideas to architecture and building projects.



Discover the Intriguing Universe of BIM File Formats and Excel in their Practical Use

What is a BIM file?

A BIM file holds information about a building. BIM uses different kinds of files. You can use different things like IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and Revit, which is a famous program by Autodesk, for your project. If your project uses different tools and software, you can also try other formats.



Read more: 

How Can Revit BIM Services Make The Building Process Effectively?

AutoCAD vs Revit: Which is Better for Your Construction Project?

Proprietary File Formats 

When it comes to file types, some formats only work with certain programs and require special permission to open. However, this can be an issue because team members may use different software. Now, we'll explore three of these unique formats: RVT, NWD, and DWG. The information below will help us understand more.


Autodesk made RVT, a unique file for Revit. But, you can only open it with Autodesk's Revit software, so it's tricky if you don't have that software. Besides RVT, there are other formats in Revit, like RFA and RTE, each has its own job in the design process.




Autodesk made Navisworks. It uses NWD files, which are only for Navisworks. You can just use Navisworks Freedom or Navisworks Manage software to open NWD files. Navisworks also has some other file types like NWC and NWF, and they each do different things in Navisworks.




Autodesk's DWG format is liked a lot for CAD programs. Although it was first made for AutoCAD, you can use DWG files in different CAD software like Graphisoft ArchiCAD and Bentley MicroStation. Some folks might believe DWG files are only for flat drawings, but they can also hold three-dimensional objects. DXF, which means Drawing Interchange Format, is similar to DWG, but the files can be a little larger. Many platforms using BIM software can work with DXF files, and they arrange them in layers.

Non - Proprietary File Formats 

Everyone can use file formats that are non-proprietary. No one company owns them. This is great because you can use them with many different computer programs without any problems. These formats are often linked to open-source projects. This allows folks from different places to work together to improve things. Now, we'll find out about 2 open formats: IFC and COBie.


People who work with Building Information Modeling (BIM) mainly use a special software called Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). This software is important for easily exchanging information in the construction field. Various software programs, such as Revit, Navisworks, Edificius, Allplan, and BricsCAD, can open IFC files. But you can't make changes to IFC files directly; they're only for viewing. BuildingSMART makes sure IFC is good to use.

Besides the regular IFC format, there are two more file types that are important:

  • ifcXML: This format represents an XML file derived from an existing IFC data file, providing an alternative representation for the data contained within it.
  • IfcZIP: This way of doing things squishes IFC or ifcXML files to make them smaller and easier to save and send. 

    By doing this with different types of files, the BIM industry becomes more flexible in handling data and makes it easier to share data using IFC.




COBie is a way to share info about stuff in a building, like what equipment it has and how to take care of it. It's not just pictures, but also facts. People who take care of the building use COBie to move info and papers made when the building was planned and built. They can put this info in tables or computer files.

The key difference between COBie and the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) format lies in their purpose. COBie is about making data easy for professionals to read and understand, like a simple report. On the other hand, IFC helps different software tools understand and use BIM data well. Software like Revit and ArchiCAD can change BIM models into COBie format, which is widely used. This change makes it easier for facility managers to use the data efficiently and share important asset information.




In short, it's important to understand different types of BIM file formats for working together and sharing information in construction and design projects. With more than 20 years of experience in BIM/CIM Modeling services, Harmony AT has been a trusted leader in the Vietnam. We know how to handle different BIM file formats well. When you work with us, you can trust their experienced professionals to use the right formats, make your work more efficient, and reduce problems with compatibility. Choosing Harmony AT for your BIM file needs will help your projects go more smoothly and allow for accurate teamwork in construction. Above all, if you have any wonders, please contact us here for specific and timely answers.

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