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Tekla News for Building & Construction, Autumn 2014

Posted on October 2, 2014 - Ewen Dobbie

We are a company who likes development. We are happy to participate in our customers’ development projects – Arup’s Project OVE is one breathtaking example – and work hard to improve our solutions and services. Currently we are taking a leap forward regarding our portfolio as CSC, a company with long history in structural engineering software, is combining its operations with Tekla.

Tekla Structures 20.1 is out now

The new Tekla Structures 20.1 has arrived with several good improvements and naturally also bug fixes. Improved features include templates and reporting and many others, offering something for the majority of users.

One example of the improvements is the possibility to copy a full Assembly or Cast Unit content at time, meaning that those who work with steel or precast concrete need much fever mouse clicks for copying than before. Additionally, we have developed Numbering: With the new log file entries the numbering functionality is now more transparent than before, you can set the welds so that they affect the Assembly Numbering, and also the pop-mark numbering has been improved. Interoperability with Autocad and Trimble SketchUp has been further improved as now Autocad 2014 users can export directly to the Tekla Structures version 20.1, and Trimble SketchUp 2014 users can both import and export their files directly to the Tekla software.

The dedicated webinar “Latest tools and tips for steel detailers and fabricators” showcases the steel-related improvements of Tekla Structures 20.1 and is available as recording. Customers in maintenance can download the new version at the Extranet.

Read more about the improvements in the Release notes.

Trimble acquires Gehry Technologies

Gehry Technologies, the software and consulting services business that has been instrumental in delivering Frank Gehry's visionary architecture while keeping cost and schedule, is now part of Trimble like Tekla. The acquisition is a component of the strategic alliance of Trimble and Gehry, aiming at transforming the construction industry by further connecting the office to on-site construction technologies.

Gehry Technologies grew out of the pioneering efforts of Frank Gehry and his team to adapt methods derived from the aerospace and automotive industries to complex projects of architecture, engineering and construction. By working in a shared 3D digital environment and collaborating across disciplines in order to bring fabrication expertise into the design process, Gehry Partners achieved unprecedented projects while realizing tight control of budgets, schedules and quality. Gehry Technologies was established in 2002 to advance and share the development of these methods.

The Trimble and Gehry alliance combines deep Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry experience with advanced construction technology empowering designers to build groundbreaking projects on time, under budget and without change orders with efficient collaboration.

Behind the scenes of Tekla Forum

Tekla Forums, the venue for networking, peer support, sharing experiences and some off-topic discussions, have been serving Tekla Structures users on Maintenance for quite a many years. Juan Rodriguez (some of you may recognize his avatar here), the Application Manager of Tekla’s Steel segment, tells what happens behind the scenes.

“We want Tekla Forums to be a genuine community, not just a question-answer board where Tekla experts answer the questions of the users. People have different reasons for participating to the discussions. Some want to get visibility for their work, especially with events such as Open API competition. Naturally, questions are asked and often answered by fellow Forum members before a Tekla admin has even seen the discussion. The Forums definitely have some really clever, advanced members.

In the early days some customers were a bit cautious about receiving support via the Forums, but in the end everyone has been rather happy. It works very well: People get their answers fast, and some active members visit almost daily.

In the Forums you can talk directly to the Tekla headquarters staff. The members get a glimpse fo what we are do here, and to my experience they like talking to the developers who work with the deep core of Tekla Structures. The discussion can be just as technical as the participants want and everybody shares the same lingo. In some Forums the atmosphere is more serious and in others more relaxed, but it is always easy to talk to people. We are more chatty than stiff.“

Project OVE: Body Information Modeling

Project OVE, a 170-meter-tall virtual replication of the human anatomy, started as an internal project by Arup aiming at capturing best BIM practices. OVE has a full steel skeleton, heart and brain, and he breathes, sweats and gets hungry. OVE’s hypothetical home town is Las Vegas and as a structure, he is a mixture of a commercial and a residential building. OVE is the embodiment of implementing BIM to construction projects with elaborate geometries, unorthodox design challenges and unique aesthetics.

The project started with laser scanning a human model to create a point cloud and converting it to primary parametric inputs. This was followed by the structural analysis phase and creating a Building Information Model.

Arup wanted to keep the geometry as true to human anatomy as practically possible while using BIM software and processes that can be reused in real life projects. As a result, OVE is equipped with MEP systems representing the respiratory and circulatory systems, while the architectural and accurate structural outputs give OVE his dashing looks. A key challenge in creating a static building resembling a human was to establish a balance, which real humans commonly maintain through movement.

Learn more: Watch the webinar "ARUP: Better Buildings with Heart and Soul" or read the reference case "Project OVE: Arup’s 170-meter-tall BIM man".

Tekla User Assistance: updated and available 24/7

Customers with Maintenance contracts enjoy support from Tekla helpdesks, but contacting them is not the only way to receive assistance when using Tekla software: Tekla User Assistance (known as TUA) offers online support 24/7, and it is continually evolving.

“We have been working hard to increase the knowledge base in TUA. In addition to user documentation, product bulletins and videos there are over 1,200 articles covering frequently asked questions, with 300 new cases added in the last twelve months,” says Chris George, Tekla’s Business Services Director.

Tekla has invested in improving the performance of the service, and enhancing the search facility to allow users to find relevant information faster.

“Our studies show that our technical support staff has previously given a detailed answer in at least half of all support calls,” Chris George says.

So if you need help out of office hours or maybe just prefer consulting the online service quickly and conveniently take a look in TUA. The service also includes local content, for example environment-specific articles that have been created by Tekla’s local offices or resellers.

Navigate to Tekla User Assistance.

Pinnacle saves time by linking Tekla Structures and Fastrak

Covering the whole spectrum of structural and civil design, Pinnacle Consulting Engineers has gained a reputation for challenging ideas and construction methodologies. They are a well respected structural designer in the retail and commercial arena. Pinnacle recently designed the new Tesco supermarket in Yate, a 1800 ton steel structure accommodating over 10,000 square meters (110,000 square feet) of retail space. However, the BIM workflow was not entirely smooth.

For Pinnacle, Fastrak is an integral tool for delivering cost effective designs quickly and easily, but they were frustrated with technicians having to re-enter the same information the engineers were creating in Fastrak to structural software. Pinnacle’s solution was to team up with the software providers to develop a link between Fastrak and Tekla Structures, enabling sharing and synchronizing models. This meant the initial physical model could be started in either software – following the spirit of BIM, being able to share data intelligently throughout the process.

Read more: The case study.

Better concrete estimation with Form Face Creator

Automated, accurate and adaptable to changes. The new Form Face Creator tool for concrete construction enhances Tekla Structures’ material quantity take-off (QTO) solution. The tool analyzes and reports on representational formwork that it applies logically to the correct concrete surfaces. Insight and control allow contractors to reduce risk when procuring and deploying formwork, and with Form Face Creator they can more rapidly generate accurate QTOs for concrete, rebar, embeds and now formwork. As it enables quick, correct formwork area calculations, the new tool automates tedious, traditionally manual tasks.

See the Form Face Creator on video or download from the Extranet. Tekla User Assistance offers instructions.

Wednesday webinars

At Tekla we not only want to take care of our customers’ software but also keep their skill sets up-to-date. This webinar shows the latest tools that have been developed since Tekla Structures 20.0 including highlights of version 20.1.

Connecting constructable as-built 3D model to fabrication technology, for example welding robots, can offer significant benefits to steel fabricators. Integrating Tekla to Pemamek lets building information seamlessly flow from design office to welding production equipment on the shop floor, allowing the highest level of automation currently possible.

Dowco Group - Ewen Dobbie

President, CEO of Dowco Group of Companies