Use models from Archicad for model coordination

Use models from Archicad for model coordination

Archicad contains two kinds of origins which are important for model coordination.
  1. Project Origin, which represents the project's base point around which the model should be setup.
  2. Survey Point, which represents a known topographical point in the physical world. Since Archicad 25, the Survey Point is native to the software and always present.
The Archicad Survey Point creates a data driven approach that allows for the translation of coordinates between Archicad and other BIM tools like BIMcollab. The Survey Point provides a real-world context for the Archicad model. It represents a known topographical point in the physical world.
When getting started with a new BIM project using Archicad, take these recommendations into account:
  1. Agree in advance with the various parties of a project on the position and orientation of the origin for model coordination.
  2. It is advisable to immediately correctly position the Survey Point when starting a new project, especially if the model will be used for issue management.
    If issues are created and the position and/or orientation of the Survey Point is changed later, all camera positions of the issue viewpoints in the 3D model will no longer be correct.
  3. Test the model alignment of the different models in the project early on, as it is easier to make adjustment to the coordination at an early stage. As a best practice we recommend to place a coordination object, like a 1 m3 cube, at an agreed point, and make sure the cubes for all models align.
For a more in-depth explanation of the Survey Point in Archicad, please visit the  Graphisoft Helpcenter.

Exporting an IFC model from Archicad

When exporting the Archicad model to IFC, match the IFC model position with the 'Survey Point and Project Origin'. This way, the Survey Point will be used as IFC Global Origin in the exported IFC file, even if it is not visible. The Project Origin will be matched to the Site Location, or local placement of the model.
When no Survey Point is present (Archicad 24 or earlier), the Archicad Project Origin will be used as the origin of the IFC file.

When coordinating the Archicad model with other IFC models using this translator setting, for example from Revit, the origins will correspond as follows:

IFC Global Origin
Survey Point
Survey Point
IFC Site Location
Project Origin
Internal Origin

Note that the Project Base Point in Revit can be moved independently to the Internal Origin. We strongly recommend that the Project Base Point in Revit is not moved independently to the Internal Origin when coordinating with BIMcollab between multiple BIM tools.

Importing an IFC model into Archicad

The first thing to be aware of when importing an IFC file into Archicad, is that  only one Survey Point  at the same time is stored in an Archicad file.  The Survey Point already present in the Archicad file is not changed when importing an IFC file, and will remain active.
Note that in Archicad 24 or older multiple Survey Point objects would have been created when importing an IFC with a Survey Point.
When later exporting the Archicad file to IFC again, the Survey Point values of the Archicad file will be used. This can result in two IFC files with different origins!

The IFC Global Origin from an imported IFC file will be handled differently depending on the way the file is imported.  The topics below describe these different ways of importing.


When merging the IFC file into the Archicad file, the IFC Global Origin will be matched to the Archicad Project origin by default. However, it is possible to choose if the origin is matched to the Archicad Survey Point or the Project Origin during the import. 

The way the IFC model is placed when opening the file directly, or placing it as a hotlink, depends on the IFC import settings "Match Archicad Project Origin with":
  1. IFC Site Location (recommended): The IFC Site Location of the IFC file will be placed at Archicad's Project Origin. This means the model will be imported at its physical modelled location (close to Project Origin). When opening an IFC file, the Archicad Survey Point will be placed on the location of the IFC Global Origin of the IFC file. When importing an IFC file as a hotlink, the Survey Point present in the Archicad file will remain in the same location.
  2. IFC Global Origin: The IFC Global Origin of the IFC file will be placed at Archicad's Project Origin

Creating and zooming to issues with the BCF Manager in Archicad

When an issue is created in Archicad, the Survey Point present in the file will ALWAYS be used as the reference point for the camera location of the issue viewpoint. 
Because of this, it is important to make sure the location of the  IFC Global Origin of the IFC files that are being used for project coordination, and the location of the Survey Point present in Archicad match.
If they do not match, the camera might be placed differently when zooming to an issue in other software, like BIMcollab ZOOM.


An IFC file is exported from Archicad. The IFC Global Origin is in a different location than the IFC Site Location.
The file is opened in BIMcollab ZOOM, and a viewpoint is created. The viewpoint camera is positioned in relation to the IFC Global Origin.


If the Survey Point in Archicad remains at the same location in regards to the IFC Global Origin, the viewpoint can be recreated correctly in Archicad.


If the Survey Point is moved in the Archicad file, the Camera viewpoint will move along with it when recreating the issue viewpoint in Archicad.


The same counts the other way around. If an issue is created in the BCF manager from Archicad, the viewpoint can only be recreated on the correct location in other software if the IFC Global Origin is in the same location as the Survey Point at the moment of issue creation.

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