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Léon van Berlo edited this page Oct 13, 2015 · 25 revisions

When you are in a hackathon, or just interested in hacking with BIM tools, open source bim tools might be right for you. On this page we'll try to explain as much as possible about our tools.

Most of our tools are listed on

Get an introduction/overview in this video:

If you can't find your answers, feel free to search the forum:
There won't be many answers in a weekend, but maybe your question is already answered before...

We develop using Eclipse. Most of the tools work best in eclipse. Read the wiki page from BIMserver how to setup your workspace: Read it till the end please... on the end of the page is also valuable information.

Introduction presentations

See the recorded presentations during the AEC Hackathon 1.1 (March 2014) here:


Database for IFC data. Our most known product. Well documented on and

What you should know about BIMserver when you start hacking:

Official documentation on

Tip: The easiest way to create something cool is to write an 'internal service' plugin in BIMserver. Internal services can be configured to be 'triggered' every time a new revision is checked into bimserver. They are just java code so very flexible. There are some examples under 'Tools' in our codebase. Related info about internal and remote services is available in our video about the 'Federated BIM' concept: This concept is now called 'BIM Bots'.

BIM Surfer

WebGL viewer in javascript, based on SceneJS.
Used to be a single application, but is rewritten several times to act as a module in your own application. The API is not very well documented yet and there is only one example so far. However, if you understand javascript you can probably understand the interface. The BCF forum and also use BIM Surfer, so you can use their implementation as a cheat sheet:

  • When you run bimserver and this tool on localhost, beware of the security issues when trying to connect.

Documentation is very poor in the readme on:


IfcOpenShell uses Open CASCADE (the Open CASCADE Community Edition) internally to convert the implicit geometry in IFC files into explicit geometry that any software CAD or modelling package can understand. It is probably the best render engine out there at the moment. You can use it stand alone, or as plugin in BIMserver to render triangles (that are stored in the BIMserver database). Have a look at the python stuff as well. This is very popular. The sourcecode from IfcOpenShell is also on github:
Find the .jar plugin for BIMserver on Put the jar file in the 'plugins' directory of your BIMserver system (you might want to restart BIMserver just to be sure).

Documentation is on and

BCF forum

BCF Forum is a wordpress plugin written in PHP. Find the source on and the releases on When you install wordpress you can use this plugin to turn your installation into a BCF server. Based on the BCF 2.0 standard.
BCF topics will be stored in the wordpress database. Under wp-admin you can configure the 'extensions.xsd' options. Viewing op topics and uploading zip files are supported, but complex operations are not yet implemented.
Find the documentation on

The forum has a html/javascript application build in that connects to a BIMserver and the BCF data. You have to configure the link to your BIMserver to get it working.

GUI for BIMserver (actually for BIMSie compliant services).
Created in html5 and javascript but also available as .jar plugin to use as plugin in BIMserver. When you run bimserver and this tool on localhost, beware of the security issues when trying to connect. When you want to use it as a plugin for BIMserver, download the .jar file from and put the jar file in the bimserver 'plugins' folder (you might want to restart BIMserver just to be sure). There is almost no documentation, just this comment about installation:

COBie plugins

Plugin for BIMserver to import/export from and to COBie. Very well documented on and the eBook


See for all other projects. Some are experimental, some are deprecated. Feel free to swing them back alive again...

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