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Integrated 3D Modeling Tools Improve Engineering Workflows

Integrated 3D modeling software enables structural engineers to work smarter. Find out how taking advantage of building information modeling (BIM), enables you to create constructible BIM models, generate design documentation, and keep all your contractors and project teams on the same page. 

Multi-Material Modeling Features 

Most projects involve a range of building materials, and constructible BIM modeling allows you to create fully detailed models representing multiple materials. These can include steel, concrete, cold-formed framing, lumber, masonry, and most other standard building materials. 

Trimble’s suite of Tekla products gained their reputation as steel-modeling applications, but today they offer tools for modeling most other common construction materials. With Tekla, you can produce design drawings displaying all required materials from a single model as well as reports like material take-offs (MTOs) and reinforcement bar schedules.

Tekla Structures is known as a conceptual structure modeling tool. Beyond that, Tekla’s components for modeling connections can also incorporate bolted or welded connections.  

As you can use various views in Tekla Structures, you can model both in 2D or 3D view depending on your preference. Users can also represent miscellaneous steel assemblies such as stairways and handrails. As always, you can produce drawings and reports directly from these models. 

Tekla comes with a library of steel & concrete connections. Most common sheer, load, or bracing connections already have a modeling tool within the application.  

You attach these components to existing model objects, like beams, columns, or braces. Tekla can then automatically set up the connection’s geometry based on the characteristics of the connecting objects. It will also update those connections if you decide to change those beams or columns. 

A growing number of engineering companies now use Tekla to model concrete foundations, superstructures, walls, panels, or bridges. Engineers often need to specify reinforcing design intent, but with Tekla Structures, they can easily model detailed reinforcing shapes and placement. 

As with steel models, Tekla automatically generates reports directly from the model. These can include rebar schedules and bending diagrams among other documentation. 

Tekla supports several rebar modeling techniques. These can include working with rebar groups, components, or rebar sets for intelligent layering and more complex bar shapes. 

As with steel connections, most typical rebar shapes are already included in Tekla’s library. In most cases, you won’t need to model various bar groups or bar sets. As with the steel connections, Tekla automatically updates rebar sizing if you decide to change your concrete parameters. 

Tekla also includes modeling tools for cold-formed framing panels. You can click and drag using a direct modification interface to define and adjust panel dimensions. You can also add window and door openings and adjust the required studs and tracks.  


Tekla communicates with a wide range of 3D software applications, including Revit. You can import IFC files or Revit models for reference using RVT files. Tekla tracks and colour codes IFC file versions or updates, showing component property changes.

Tekla can also export data into Revit. You can export IFC files or produce native Revit models as a one-way export. 

You can also export your Tekla BIM model as wireframe drawings into analysis and design (A&D) modeling tools. This includes Tekla Structural Designer, RISA, Bentley, ISM, RAM SAP2000, ETABS, and others. 

These links are two-way workflows that update both models in real-time This enables you to import member size changes, envelopes, and reactions so that drawings always reflect design changes. 

You can also exchange data between Tekla and Grasshopper/Rhino using Rhino’s Tekla live link. This enables you to import complex structural shapes created in Rhino, like bridges, into Tekla models. The link can update the Tekla model in real-time as you edit Grasshopper scripts. 

Coordination and Collaboration Tools 

Tekla has the functionality to use import laser scan data. You can use point cloud to compare the as-built against your design model.  

Using Tekla’s 3D model instead of exchanging large volumes of 2D shop drawings enhances model review processes. The result is a more thorough evaluation.  You can also share your Tekla model with other project stakeholders, contractors, and project teams in external offices.  

Whether your structure includes steel, concrete cold-formed framing, lumber, or masonry, Tekla lets you create multi-material models in 3D. Tekla can also seamlessly exchange data with a wide range of modeling tools, supporting collaboration between project teams. 

Why not contact BuildingPoint Canada to discuss how you and your team can use Trimble’s Tekla software to plan your next major construction project? 



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