Tekla Tips and Tricks

Tip No. 1 – Reports Side Pane

The reports side pane allows much more functionality than conventional Tekla Reports, allowing multiple reports to be created at once. You can create groups and re-organise the tree view of the list, group various reports up and save the groupings so you can use again and on other projects.

You can add titles, post or prefix, append the date to the file name, also with buttons to overwrite the file, display or show in external viewer, it also has the option for the default folder. You can search in the reports box for a report you need and you can right click hide unwanted reports from the list or delete, and even right click and open that report up in the Editor right away.

The tool is available from Tekla warehouse for versions 2016 onwards.

Tekla Warehouse – Reports Side Pane

Video – Tekla Structures  – Extensions

Watkins Steel’s winning trifecta

Projects with restraints on access, time, and other factors that dictate what, how and when a team can do its work are nothing unusual.

However, for the team from Watkins Steel, a contract to supply and install structural steel and gantry framing in a warehouse for a major beverage supplier in Queensland came with perhaps more than its fair share of limitations.

How they got around them to deliver the project on time and to budget is a testament to the technology the company uses – and the people who use it.

It’s not overstating things to say Watkins is an early and keen adopter of technology in its field. This outlook has been integral to Watkins ongoing relationship with BuildingPoint Australia, who has supplied much of the technology, plus training and support, used by Watkins in this project, among others.

The project, completed between August and November 2017, came with many challenges.

The team were working in a complex existing environment. The warehouse’s existing services, racks and staircases all had to be considered and drawn to in the planning stage.

As well the project included hanging new structural steel from the existing structural steel, which brings its own challenges.

The project included new gantry and stairs that had to link to the existing gantry and stairs. This meant it was critical the new structures were perfect in all dimensions so they would join to the existing structures.

The team also faced a limited and strict timeframe – there would be no time for errors and to rework to fix them plus at the time of installation they would be working around other trades on the site.

And, unsurprisingly, a considerable amount of site measurement was required to create the modelling.

Watkins Steel’s solutions to these challenges and limitations began with a Faro 3D laser scanner to measure the site, capturing the full internal environment of the warehouse.

The scans were then used to digitally create a 3D point cloud model with the exact measurements of the site using Trimble RealWorks.

And the onsite scanning took just half a day.

Watch this short Video of the HoloLens in action on site.

Using the 3D modelling with Microsoft HoloLens (augmented reality) with Trimble SketchUp Viewer, the Watkins Steel team presented the model to the principle contractor and their client, which gave them a greater understanding of the new design works … proving the old adage ‘seeing is believing’.

This allowed not only the client and contractor but the Watkins teams to readily visualise the end product even before fabrication had started.

“Using the Microsoft HoloLens with SketchUp Viewer allowed us to not only to visualise the project before we even started but gave us a competitive edge when it came down to meeting the client,” Watkins Steel project manager Ben Yu said.

“The HoloLens gives us the ability to have a virtual meeting with the client remotely – improving collaboration immensely. They don’t even have to be on site to see what it looks like.

“The principle contractor and their client were able to see their vision ‘come to life’ from the early stages of the project right through to installation.

“There are so many possibilities for mixed reality in our industry – design & modelling, quality assurance, even fabrication, which we have experimented with using the HoloLens.”

Using this technology meant a virtual

walkthrough could be completed for quality assurance purposes. This was especially important to check the drains and slab were positioned correctly.

Additionally, riggers used the 3D modelling to review the design before erection, helping them visiualise what needed to go where.

Next, the in-house drafting team used Tekla Structures 3D Modeling Software to detail the structural steelwork needed for the project.

Once these drawings were done, the completed Tekla models were imported into the 3D point cloud to check for any clashes and verify that the steelwork was in the right position.

The construction drawings and model were then taken to the in-house production team to handle the processing and fabrication of the steelworks.

Watkins Steel tech-forward approach extends to the actual fabrication with the use of Voortman Advanced Automated Robotics, specifically the Voortman V808 Coping Machine, V630 Drilling Machine, and VB1050 Band Saw.

The Microsoft HoloLens with SketchUp Viewer was also used at this stage to quality check the fabricators assemblies in the workshop.

During the installation stage, Trimble Robotic Total Station (RTS) was used to ensure pinpoint alignment of the pieces, even down to directing, via laser, where holes needed to be drilled. The RTS utilised data created during the virtual creation stages of the project.

Around 30 tonnes of steel was required for the project.

Despite the restrictions and parameters, Watkins Steel not only delivered the structures on time but no reworking was required. Thanks to the detailed modelling and the use of that modelling right through the project’s life, the structures literally fit like a glove.

As you’d imagine, the client was more than happy with the result.


Tekla and Zeman bring efficiency to Australian Steel Fabricator

Today, managing director Ron Barrington states that the company is driven by a commitment to deliver exactly what the client has ordered.

“Our clients can hand us a job and not worry about it, because they know we’ll look after it,” Barrington promises. In the competitive steel fabrication market this promise
might just be what it takes to make the difference.

Cullen Steel has been a Tekla user for more than a decade. The company originally chose Tekla products because it appreciated the high level of automation. Benefits that lead to increased productivity continue to be the most important advantage for Cullen Steel.

Australia imports a fair amount of steel from abroad, a lot of it comes from low labour cost countries. To compete in the tough market Cullen Steel relies on quality information, automation and delivering exactly what the client has ordered. “We are driven, first and last, by productivity gains. The thing we achieve is smarter, faster, high quality, error-free, and on time fabrication,” states Barrington.

“Up until about 12 months ago we had a total throughput of around 4-5,000 tons per year. We are currently hitting a lot closer to 8-10,000 tons per year. This has generally been as a result of a fair bit of investment in automation.”

Their latest addition was a Zeman SBA (Steel Beam Assembler) which has brought Cullen Steel another step closer to far greater efficiency.

Read the complete story now.    

Building mimics ships’ curves with concrete planks

The office building at the Navy Yard’s Corporate Center in Philadelphia, is intrepid in address and in nature. Located at 1200 Intrepid Avenue, the master-planned development within the Navy Yard is constructed entirely of flat concrete planks.

This is easy for the three sides of the structure that are conventional flat walls. Not so much for the east façade, which is designed to resemble the curve of the ships docked in the nearby Navy Yard. This side has a variety of radii, ranging from 97.5 meters (320 feet) at the ground floor, to just over 2.7 kilometres (8 900 feet) at the parapet of the roof. Each concrete plank is set at an angle so the composition gradually becomes a curving wall with mesmerising optical effects.

The flowing and curved shape of the Intrepid building required significant cantilevering and structural load analysis, with the curving façade tilting outwards as much as 23.56 degrees. Not to mention the safety backup connections that were required to prevent a progressive collapse, if one connection should fail.

A daunting task for any precast concrete company. But possibly less so for High Concrete Group, an avid adopter of 3D modelling, who have been using constructible models to LOD 400 (Level of Development).

“We couldn’t have done the Intrepid project in 2D,” said Dave Bosh, Design Team Leader, High Concrete Group. “Tekla Structures made a significant impact on our success by allowing us to collaborate, save time, reduce costs and work efficiently with all of the project stakeholders.”

High Concrete Group were easily able to collaborate with other parties, provide more accurate bill of materials, and cut erection time by almost 40 per cent. See how in the case study on the Tekla website.

Custom Stair Treads for the stair tools in Tekla

Did you know that you can model custom stair tread that can be used inside the stair tools in Tekla Structures?

This allows you to create a simple, fixed, custom step that you can use inside the stair tools which will calculate their locations, spacings and quantities without having to enter parametrics.

Dave Hiddemen, Applications Specialists for Steel Segment at Trimble steps us how to do this in the video below.

Easily model Moddex handrail in Tekla Structures

Did you know that Moddex has launched the first range of Tekla tools to help users easily model large runs of handrail for their Tuffrail system?

Fast and easy to use Tekla handrail components insert with two clicks from end to end. They will auto bolt to all beams, output all the correct part codes. They also have all desired options for

  • end loops
  • corner posts
  • end posts
  • offset posts
  • floor or side mounted
  • sloped stair rails
  • kick plate
  • one, two or three rails
  • base fixing types
  • spacings

and more.

They will also be included in the default handrail drawing template and come with their own Tekla Excel report which will output all the correct handrail codes based on what options were selected for the post types.

The Moddex Tuffrail System for Handrail Tools is available as a free download for Tekla users from the Tekla Warehouse.

How to use BIM to its full potential

Most structural steel companies aren’t using BIM to its full potential. Are you one of them?

3D models were first used to make drawing production easier, but these days, information rich models are the key to better productivity throughout intelligent steel fabrication. However, many of the benefits of building information modelling remain untapped Using the entire model opens up a world of possibilities, beginning with design.

Tekla have provided a free eBook to help you optimise your workflow, get more out of BIM, and make your projects as profitable as they should be.

Download the eBook.

Quickly view specific information in Tekla Structures

Did you know that the Custom Inquiry Tool is new and improved in version 2017? It allows you to view specific information based on your current workflow and speed up your workflow. Check out specific data like Assembly Position, Part Position, Weigh, Phase, etc. that you want to see quickly without having to do multiple clicks or scrolls.

In the four minute video below Lee Snyder, product manager for the steel segment at Trimble, gives us an overview of the Custom Inquiry Tool.

Tekla BIM Award 2017 Winners

The winners of the Tekla BIM Awards for 2017 have been announced.

Overcoming challenges seemed to be a common theme in this year’s entries and winners.

While converting an existing warehouse to host a food processing and packaging plant CSD Group started with a 3D scan. The scan showed that cambers were not added during the construction of the original building, causing some rafters to sag over 110mm in the middle, and bow in the horizontal axis but up to 35mm.


The striking Adelaide Medical and Nursing School building contains just under 100 tonne of steel and quite a few challenges during erection for SA Structural. The feature stair structure and edgescape glazing frames had to be transported and erected on to the steel structure with the glazing already installed. A modified trailer was manufactured to transport the steel glazed frames. Coordinating steelwork with other contractors was all completed by model BIM reviews and was carried out successfully.

During the detailing of a multi-storey office and retail building in Napier, Detail Connect received major design changes – namely the upper level carpark becoming offices.



Other entries include Kawarau Falls Bridge from Draft It (below left). The bridge is a modern two-lane bridge on SH6, over the Kawarau River at Frankton, New Zealand. The project contains 780 tonne of Weathering Steel.

A hobby project is to build a 1/8th scale working live steam model of a South African Railways 23 class 4-8-2 locomotive from Structural Detailing Solutions (below centre).

And a creative disc and arbour from Watkins Steel (below right).

Thanks to everyone who voted to decide the People’s Choice winner.
Congratulations to the winners of the BIM Awards for 2017! Your models will now be entered into the 2018 Tekla Global BIM Awards.

Well done to all entries – we had many outstanding models this year.

See them here.