CIS/2 and IFC - Product Data Standards for Structural Steel

SteelVis (CIS/2 to VRML and IFC Translator, aka CIS/2 Viewer)

SteelVis translates CIS/2 files into VRML files (3D model for viewing) or IFC files. VRML files are viewed with VRML plugins or other software. SteelVis also includes the CIS/2 File Analyzer that generates spreadsheets from CIS/2 files.

The IFC files can be imported into many IFC viewers and BIM programs and directly to SketchUp with the IFC2SKP plugin.

The VRML models can also be displayed with X3DOM which does not require any plugin to view the 3D model.

Georgia Tech had a research project to develop an IFC to CIS/2 translator. There is no VRML to CIS/2 or IFC converter.

SteelVis was first developed in 2000 as a command-line program running on a Silicon Graphics workstation. In 2001 it was ported to run as a web service. The Windows version was released in 2003. SteelVis is no longer being developed as of 2012.

Papers and Presentations

CIS/2 Logo The CIMSteel Integration Standards (CIS/2) is the product model and data exchange file format for structural steel project information. CIS/2 is intended to create a seamless and integrated flow of information among all parties of the steel supply chain involved in the construction of steel framed structures. CIMsteel stands for the Computer Integrated Manufacturing of Constructional Steelwork.

CIS/2 has been implemented as a file import or export capability by many steel design, analysis, engineering, fabrication, and construction software packages. A CIS/2 file exported by an analysis or design program could be imported into a detailing program to detail the connections. CIS/2 itself is not a software package that you buy. The user will see it as a file format, just like DXF is a file format, that is imported or exported in a steel related CAD software.

The CIS/2 standard covers everything from nuts and bolts to materials and loads to frames and assemblies. Structures can be represented as analysis, design, or manufacturing (detailed) models. There is a logical relationship between the different types of models. For example, a beam in an analysis model that has to be subdivided for analysis is logically only one beam in the detailed model.

The use of CIS/2 and the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is an important part of improving the delivery of structural steel projects in the steel supply chain. It can eliminate the redundant and error-prone reentry of information. Interoperability between different CAD software packages using CIS/2 and IFC is also a key driver of Building Information Modeling (BIM).

CIS/2 was not developed by NIST or AISC, rather, NIST served on the AISC's EDI Review Team that chose CIS/2 as the standard for structural steel project information. CIS/2 was developed by Andrew Crowley and Alastair Watson at the Steel Construction Institute (UK). NIST has helped software vendors implement the standard and helped steel designers, detailers, and fabricators use the standard. SteelVis was developed by NIST. Georgia Tech has also been instrumental in the development and implementation of CIS/2.

CIS/2 Resources Documentation
Articles Research

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)

Link to buildingSMART The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are the product data model developed by buildingSMART to facilitate interoperability in the building industry. A CIS/2 to IFC translator (SteelVis) has been developed. This allows CIS/2 information to be imported into BIM applications that support IFC. In the BIM software the steel structure can be used to do model coordination and clash detection with other parts of the structure such as mechanical systems, ductwork, and concrete structures.

IFC Resources

NIST Resources

VRML Models generated by SteelVis from CIS/2 Files

Link to Web3D Consortium Use the VRML plugin detector to check if your web browser is properly configured to be able to view the VRML example files below. To generate your own VRML models, use SteelVis with the following sample CIS/2 files (zip). The sample CIS/2 files used to generate the VRML models below do not necessarily reflect the current CIS/2 export capabilities of the software packages represented nor are there associated VRML models for all software packages that have implemented CIS/2. NIST Disclaimer
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Autodesk Revit

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by Revit Structure from Autodesk. Revit also supports IFC. Navisworks, AutoCAD Structural Detailing, Advance Steel, and Robot Structural Analysis also support CIS/2 and/or IFC.

i_STR_DET.wrl, Summary report2428
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Bentley RAM Steel, STAAD.Pro, and Structural Modeler

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by RAM Steel, STAAD.Pro (CIS/2 Export in STAAD), and Structural Modeler (Viewing CIS/2 Files) from Bentley. SteelVis is integrated into ConstructSim to import CIS/2 files. ProSteel also supports CIS/2. Structural Modeler also supports IFC.

RAM4.wrl, Summary report2846
Bentley1.wrl, Summary report, SketchUp model. The SketchUp models were created by translating the CIS/2 file to IFC with SteelVis. Then the IFC file was imported to Sketchup with the IFC2SKP plugin. 664
ramcis2.wrl, SketchUp model 123

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Computers & Structures ETABS and SAP2000

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by SAP2000 and ETABS from Computers & Structures. ETABS and SAP2000 also support IFC.

DAM.wrl (Denver Art Museum), Summary report, Google Earth model. The Google Earth models were created by translating the CIS/2 to IFC with SteelVis. Then the IFC file was imported to the FZK Viewer from which a Google Earth model was exported. The CIS/2 steel models are not accurately aligned with the corresponding Google Earth models. 2503
Stadium.wrl, Summary report, Google Earth model (Find the hidden AISC connection sculpture in Chicago). 1391

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Design Data SDS/2

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by SDS/2 steel detailing software from Design Data. SDS/2 also supports IFC.

VRMLPartsOther features
AISC_Sculpture_J.wrl, Summary report 115 For more information about the AISC Steel Sculpture, go to AISC, search Google. Sculpture printed in 3D
TrainingStructure.wrl, Summary report 1742 This is a structure that is used to train ironworkers and crane operators (pdf), Photograph during construction, Bird's eye view
ctiw.wrl 20981 Bolts (48808), welds, sequences

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Intergraph Smart 3D, FrameWorks Plus, and GT STRUDL

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by Smart 3D, FrameWorks Plus, and GT STRUDL from Intergraph. CADWorx Steel also supports CIS/2.

SmartPlant3D.wrl, Summary report170
hanger.wrl, Summary report1816

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The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by RISA-3D from RISA Technologies. (CIS/2 Translator)

Industrial.wrl, Summary report2681
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Tekla Structures

The VRML models below were generated from CIS/2 files exported by Tekla Structures from Tekla. Tekla Structures also supports IFC. (CIS/2 Export)

tekstad.wrl, Summary report4656

CIS/2 import and/or export is also supported by:

Check with the software vendors for complete details.

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