This article walks through the steps of installing Blender, BlenderBIM, and the cove.tool add-on for first-time Python and BIM users. If you have Python installed prior to Blender and have no issues installing the add-on, then skip to the export tutorial.
Blender and the BlenderBIM Add-on is free software that uses OpenBIM with Python to make BIM (Building Information Modeling) accessible to the wider industry. Because of its dependence on Python (Programming Language) and IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) packages, successfully installing the open-source platform might require multiple steps and older release versions to work.
Before we begin
Make sure to have the following software downloaded:
First, check what version of Python you have installed on your local machine
For Windows, use the PC’s built-in PowerShell utility to check the version number. To start, open your “Start” menu and search for “Windows PowerShell” (without quotes). Then click the utility in the search results. When PowerShell opens, type the following command and press Enter:
PowerShell will display the version of Python installed on your PC. Example:
If you do not have python installed, as shown below, download and install the latest version of Python here: https://www.python.org/downloads/windows/
When installing Python, make sure to enable "environment variables." This allows python to launch and be found with the previous steps.
On your Mac, you’ll use the pre-installed Terminal app to view your Python version. Launch Terminal by first opening Spotlight (using the Command+Space shortcut) and then searching for and clicking on “Terminal.”
On the Terminal window, type the following command and press Enter:
Your current Python version will be displayed. If you don't have mac, install the latest version from https://www.python.org/downloads/macos/.
To check the installed Python version on Linux, open a Terminal window (you can often use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T), type the following command, and press Enter:
The terminal will output your current Python version. If you don't have python installed, you will need to purchase and install ActivePython from here.
We sometimes see issues with recent versions of Blender (v3.1.1 and after) throwing errors when linked with the latest version of python (v3.10.0 and after). Example error message:
AttributeError: partially initialized module 'blenderbim' has no attribute 'core' (most likely due to a circular import)
If you have this error message appear when attempting to install BlenderBIM, try uninstalling your current version of Blender, and installing an earlier release, Blender 3.1.0, from here.
An older version of BlenderBIM v3.10.0 will also need to be installed from this link, to ensure compatibility with the older Blender and newer Python.
Rather than relinking through Blender's interface (like in this tutorial), try replacing your new download with the existing file included in the Blender v3.1.0 folder. Windows users can find the file path with the text below:
C:\Program Files\Blender Foundation\Blender 3.1\3.1\scripts\addons
Last, if you see one more error related to "IfcOpenShel" like below:
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'ifcopenshell.api'
Download a new IfcOpenShell 0.7.0 version that matches your Python version. IfcOpenShell is a prerequisite to BlenderBIM, so an IfcOpenShell folder will be included in the installation folder from Blender. However, depending on your download version it may not be compatible with your current version of Python. So replace the folder with a new download from the link above. This should allow BlenderBIM to launch successfully.
If you have additional errors, contact the Blender support team.
Find more BlenderBIM installation troubleshooting here: https://community.osarch.org/discussion/56/blenderbim-installation-problem