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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Tekla Structural Designer Combines Analysis and Design

April 1st, 2015 by Susan Smith

Stuart Broome, Business Manager, Engineering North America at Tekla, a Trimble company, spoke with AECCafe about the recent addition to the Tekla portfolio, Tekla Structural Designer, a dedicated analysis and design software for structural engineers working on commercial building projects.

Tekla Structural Designer complements Tekla Structures, bringing 3D modeling directly to engineers to combine analysis and design into a single, seamless process. Tekla Structural Designer’s loading and analysis functionality, fully automated design, high-quality documentation and Building Information Modeling (BIM) collaboration with either Tekla Structures or Revit allow engineers to more effectively analyze and design buildings.

Broome said that it became clear ten years ago when they began to work on the product, that the industry needed an automated building and design tool that worked in tandem with BIM platforms, that work in different ways than design tools.

CSC from Leeds, UK was the precursor to Tekla Structural Designer. “When we started to scope out the third generation product, while we wanted to keep the material specific to automation, we wanted something that was capable of designing steel and concrete together,” said Broome. “Those were the design specs of the software. The decision was made before launch to relaunch it as a Tekla product and also we changed the licensing. We were going to sell them separately. Some people may still want just concrete or steel but they have them both in Structural Designer.”

Other structural design and analysis software may be good for bridges, towers, etc. but Structural Designer is designed for optimizing steel and concrete design in specialty buildings, according to Broome. Alternative design schemes can be compared quickly and changes made easily. It can be used in conjunction with BIM, either Tekla Structures or Revit. The fully automated nature of the product may allow engineering firms to bid more projects.

Broome said that 90% of the engineers in the AEC market are using Revit, and this is driven by architects. “What structural engineers say is that BIM is creating more work because they still have to do a lot of 2D work. Our message is, maybe so, yet if you can harness BIM information and use it to generate the analysis design model but also maintain a genuine link with that analysis throughout development of final design, then you can use the information for your own information and in Revit to be more productive. While most analysis and design tools do have a link to Revit it’s usually one way, dumping information, rather than an intelligent two way synchronization which is what we can provide.”

Often customers are using multiple tools for different parts of the concrete and steel process. “Just by the very nature of having a multiple set of tools for delivering one building, it’s very difficult to integrate all that information into to one model, whether Tekla Structures or Revit,” said Broome.

Tekla Structural Designer provides one model and one module, and adds tools to communicate better with BIM.

“The architects start with Revit,” said Broome. “Then the design goes to the structural engineer. At some point, Revit stops being useful of all detail, and needs some kind of concrete or steel detailing tool. Tekla Structural Designer links in and out of the linear BIM process. The Tekla Structural Designer model will probably never leave the structural engineer’s office.”

From company materials, the following is a list of features:

Improving Productivity — By enabling structural engineers to create a single analysis and design model, Tekla Structural Designer eliminates the need for post-processing analysis results. Fully automated loading and design includes wind loading and finite element analysis for faster design times while product documentation is automatically produced, allowing engineers to make informed decisions at every stage of a project.

Bidding Projects to Win — Structural engineers can quickly create and compare multiple design options for determining the most competitive scheme to successfully bid more projects.

Streamlining Change Management — With Tekla Structural Designer, changes can be easily managed, reducing response time at any stage of a project. The changes can be applied across the entire model to instantly assess impact and automatically get a re-design in seconds. Calculation reports that automatically update eliminate the need to generate new reports manually when changes occur.

Enhancing BIM Collaboration and Integration — was in mind when Tekla Structural Designer was developed. Structural engineers can synchronize models repeatedly with Tekla Structures and other tools without compromising vital design data. Tekla Structural Designer’s auditing tools let engineers see what has been added, changed or deleted during integration, reducing the risk of errors and maximizing collaboration with other project team members, including technicians, fabricators and architects. Internal communication within the structural design office between structural engineers and technicians is more fluent and accurate.

Cost Savings and Convenience — With all structural analysis and design functions combined into a single solution, Tekla Structural Designer eliminates the needs for additional modules or software packages to buy, maintain, learn or integrate with.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, collaboration, construction, integrated project delivery, project management, Tekla, Trimble

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