Integration of Industry Foundation Classes and Ontology: Data, Applications, Modes, Challenges, and Opportunities

Jing Jia, Hongxin Ma, Zijing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs), as the most recognized data schema for Building Information Modeling (BIM), are increasingly combined with ontology to facilitate data interoperability across the whole lifecycle in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Facility Management (AEC/FM). This paper conducts a bibliometric analysis of 122 papers from the perspective of data, model, and application to summarize the modes of IFC and ontology integration (IFCOI). This paper first analyzes the data and models of the integration from IFC data formats and ontology development models to the IfcOWL data model. Next, the application status is summed up from objective and phase dimensions, and four frequent applications with maturity are identified. Based on the aforementioned multi-dimensional analysis, three integration modes are summarized, taking into account various data interoperability requirements. Accordingly, ontology behaves as the representation of domain knowledge, an enrichment tool for IFC model semantics, and a linkage between IFC data and other heterogeneous data. Finally, this paper points out the challenges and opportunities for IFCOI in the data, domain ontology, and integration process and proposes a building lifecycle management model based on IFCOI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number911
Number of pages32
Issue number4
Early online date27 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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  • IFC
  • interoperability
  • knowledge representation
  • lifecycle management
  • ontology
  • semantic enrichment


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