Exchanging Structural Data

In order for you to see structural data on an imported structural member in AECOsim Building Designer, it is necessary for the other party to export the structural model from their product using either CIS/2 or SDNF file formats. The resulting .stp or .dat file may then be imported into Structural Building Designer where you will only need to map the Families and Parts and possibly include a section mapping file if the imported section sizes are different from those that are included in the structural dataset.

While the SDNF format is fairly straightforward, there are three types of CIS/2 models: Design, Analysis and Manufacturing. However, Structural Building Designer will only import and export the Design Model and the Manufacturing
Models. So, it is important that they are exporting one of these two types of CIS/2 files.  If you do import a CIS/2 or SDNF file into Structural Building Designer, each imported member should include all the relevant structural data. If you want to share this file with a MicroStation user and still have all the structural data available, you could publish it as an I-model. It will retain all of the structural data and can be opened in any other Bentley product where you can view this structural data on any member by opening the Item Browser from the File pull down menu.

A newer type of direct exchange file format between structural products is ISM, or Integraged Structural Model, which is also utilized in AECOsim Building Designer. This method is used to create a structural model by importing structural members from an ISM repository. The imported repository (*.ism.dgn) is scanned for structural member definitions. Changes are reviewed with the Update Design Results dialog box before being added into the Structural Building Designer session.  Look for more applications to include ISM as a structural exchange format in the near future.

IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) files will not include structural data on any converted structural members. This file format will only show the structural graphics and Family and Part information on the members and will not include any section sizes. IFC is more commonly used for Architectural files, but can also be used to import the graphical members of a structural model, but without any structural data.  Note that you can add DataGroup based structural properties to the imported elements if desired.


  • Why do Start and end point coordinates show 14 digits behind the comma? No matter if that is inches or metric, it would be about 10-4 smaller than a typical atomic diameter.

    Why do I comment that?

    Because we are having issues when exporting to IFC. Other programs often run into troubles, especially when objects don't meet.