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Just read through BIMnova about the launch of the latest release of the IFC exchange standard. For those new to the topic, the IFC, or Industry Foundation Classes, are a standard format developed by Building Smart that can be used to exchange and share BIM data between applications developed by different software vendors without the software having to support numerous native formats . In other words, it is the common format for exchanging BIM data bwtween different applications.
The Release reads:
After over 6 years of development and over 1100 issues being resolved, on 12. March 2013 buildingSMART international has finally released the new generation of IFC schemas - IFC4. It will now be the basis of future work of establishing new open BIM enabled work flows by defining new IFC4 based model view definitions. The official IFC4 release includes both the IFC4 EXPRESS schema to support current STEP-based IFC exchanges, and the ifcXML4 XSD schema to support new simple ifcXML transactions.Detailed documentation on the new IFC4 can be found here.