Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Yufeng Hu

Second Advisor

Jiansong Zhang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Osama Abudayyeh, Ph.D.


Structural analysis, architectural design, building information modeling, interoperability, industry foundation classes (IFC)

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


BIM has been playing an essential role in building construction projects in recent years. It was used to automate many tasks such as clash detection, 4D planning, and quantity takeoff, among others. However, the interoperability of BIM still lacks in many fields across the architecture, engineering, and construction domains. This research studies the interoperability between architectural design and structural analysis. The goal is to explore structural analysis of BIM models through data transfer processes between different software platforms via three types of paths: (1) Application Programming Interface (API); (2) “immediately connect,” which is the direct link between software programs from the same provider; and (3) indirect link, which is the indirect transfer of information through third-party software or methods/algorithms. This research unfolds through examining and comparing the three paths, with a special focus on the level of interoperability that can be achieved by using IFC data through the indirect link IFC are the ISO-registered, open and neutral data exchange standard for BIM. Although IFC was designed to be comprehensive in supporting all disciplines and phases of a building construction project, the author found that IFC exports from architectural design software usually lack essential information elements needed for structure analysis. Recommendations are made to help improve the IFC-based BIM interoperability between architectural design and structural analysis, which would support collaboration between architects and structural engineers with a smooth transfer of modeling information with minimum information loss thus saving time and costs.