Building & Construction News, summer 2013

In this issue of Tekla News we have a quick look at three interesting and totally different construction projects: Vienna Central Railway Station in Austria, Tabuk Cement Plant in Saudi Arabia and Panorama shopping center in Estonia. The one thing they share is the need for information flow – also between model and measuring device,  model and fabrication machine, or two software solutions. It is obvious that  open approach to BIM and collaboration is crucial for the flow.


IFC for Automated Steel Fabrication: Greetings from NASCC

American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has adopted the IFC file format at the core of its interoperability strategy. Demand for automation in steel fabrication has increased, which creates new challenges for the information quality and flow. In the past, the CNC automation was relying on DSTV format to fabricate individual steel parts. As the focus has moved to increasing the productivity in the laborious assembly phase, DSTV standard can struggle to fulfill the demands.

The latest NASCC, the steel conference, in April  examined the nuances of IFC files, dispelling some myths and perceptions along the way, and  the progress toward actual IFC exchanges in the structural steel industry. 

According to AISC, IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is an open, neutral and standardized specification for Building Information Models  which offers a promise unmatched by previous standards: a single standard to  use across various trades and professions in the industry. Until now the IFC based workflows have been more common in design, but IFC would bring the whole steel fabrication industry into the BIM workflow.

Taking action

The idea of expanding IFC use into steel fabrication to ease automation originated from Tekla. To drive the automation and new technologies in to use, Tekla, HGG and FICEP decided to put all the knowledge gained from the individual development works done to define and create a new standard for the steel fabrication industry to meet the current and future demands. HGG, specializing in 3D profiling, decided to work together with Tekla to create a direct information flow from the Tekla models to the HGG machines for 3D pipe beveling/profiling. This new flow includes more structured and richer information. FICEP utilized Tekla Open API™ to develop an application and a file format taken directly from the Tekla models. This allowed them develop processes like scribing.

As AISC revised their strategy regarding the information standards it became an obvious choice to work together on the same goal. AISC and Georgia Tech made it possible to have a neutral party (Georgia Tech) to do the official definition of the standard (Model View Definition, MVD) based on the vendors’ requirements.

Read more


Creating the First Glimpse to Vienna with Tekla Structures and Trimble Total Station

The first trains have arrived to the new Vienna Central Railway Station in the Austrian capital – under a roof build with Trimble Total Station and Tekla software. The partially transparent, architecturally stunning roof gives arriving passengers the first glimpse of Vienna.

Making the roof was quite a challenge: It includes 254,000 screws, 54,100 frames and 271,100 metal sheets but no horizontally arranged components.

The Austrian steel specialist Unger Steel Group used both Tekla Structures software and Trimble Total Station for the creation of complex, hard to assemble structure in a very advanced way to model, produce and assemble the 14 unique diamond trusses.

Modeling for production and logistics

Unger is an experienced Tekla user and utilizes the software not only for design and detailing but also for automated production in workshop. For the Vienna Central Station, the Unger team modeled and detailed the main structure and substructures like cable channels, extracted data and drawings for production and assembly, and simulated welding sequences of the complex components.

For running the assembly smoothly, the team created transport lists and surveys directly from the model because timing and having the right material at the right place were crucial. They also used the model to control production and assembly sequence.


Measuring and modeling for assembly

For assembling the 14 complex trusses, Unger used Trimble Total Station with Tekla Structures. The team had to assemble the roof components while these hung from a crane at height of 15 meters, and they needed exact position information for lifting and fitting. To avoid any inaccuracies, the team continuously measured the structure, downloaded the measurements into the Tekla model and after this planned and manufactured the connection parts.

Combining the potential of Tekla Structures and Trimble Total Station not only allowed Unger complete the job successfully. They also saved on expenses, as with Trimble Total Station, the company staff could measure the structures instead of paying to external surveyors. And as they transferred the measurements of the built structure directly to Tekla, they saved time and labor with not having to enter the measuring data manually.

See how the roof looks like and learn more


Handling a wealth of models with Tekla BIMsight


Tekla BIMsight 2nd Anniversary contest:
Winning project

This success story was entered to the Tekla BIMsight 2nd Anniversary contest for Tekla BIMsight users. Panorama City is one of the two winning projects because of the extent of Tekla BIMsight usage and the extent of the entry.


Panorama City, a shopping and entertainment center in Estonia with a total area of 93 350m2 (1 004 810 sq ft) is scheduled for opening in spring 2015,  hosting 200 shops and  sporting and other facilities. It would not be completed without Architectural Design Office Pluss, which currently works on architectural design and coordinates the work of the design consultants working on HVAC, electrical and structural design.

From the beginning, the project team has used several BIM tools including Autodesk Revit, Tekla Structures, CADS Planner and MagiCAD to name a few. The client, construction contractor and most of the designers have access to the centralized model.

Pluss wants to identify the conflicts before they reach the construction site, and also pioneer with   using the models in the longest project phase – maintenance. Tekla BIMsight has a central role in the design and construction coordination part of the project. The Project Manager, Tanel Friedenthal from Pluss explains:

- "We decided to use Tekla BIMsight as the central platform to manage the design process for three reasons: First, fast navigation when working with large models; second, cloud-based project folder support; third,  very short learning curve, which is especially important for non-professional project parties. At the moment, near the end of the design development phase, we have imported close to 800MB of subcontractor IFCs and 3D DWGs to create the centralized building information model in Tekla BIMsight."

Pluss chose the file-sharing service  Dropbox to exchange large scale IFC files in real time which proved to be a leap forward in project collaboration. 

How to deal with all those bytes?

When the number of bytes counts, Panorama is a very large project having 800MB and a wealth models. Due to the large amount of data, Pluss had to invest in liquid-cooled 12-core PCs to maintain the architectural Revit models.

When it comes to Tekla BIMsight, performance is not an issue: , the client and the general contractor view the centralized Tekla BIMsight model on their office laptops. .
“For my 2009 laptop it takes approximately 3 minutes to open up and load 44 referenced models close to 800Mb in total. At the same time, the desktop workstation performs the same startup procedure in 1min 50s,” Tanel Friedenthal tells.

Read more about building Panorama City with Tekla BIMsight


New link between Intergraph Smart 3D and Tekla Structures

Tekla and Intergraph® have developed an enhanced structural data exchange link between SmartPlant® 3D and SmartMarine® 3D and Tekla Structures to provide better support for users’ workflows and reduce modeling time. It replaces the previous CIS/2 import/export functionality.

Thanks to the OPEN BIM approach, this Building Information Model  exchange allows better data transfer. Users can now pass additional objects with extended properties and visualize improved change management functionality.

Supportive to Tekla’s multi-material functionality, the new exchange works with structural steel and concrete objects together and supports the transfer of traffic items like stairs, handrails and ladders.

For a more in-depth information on the link, we recommend the webinar Better BIM exchange between Intergraph Smart 3D and Tekla Structures

You can find the link in the Tekla Extranet.


Polysius Vietnam found new business opportunities with Tekla

Four years ago, the engineering company Polysius Vietnam received a request from parent company ThyssenKrupp Polysius in Germany to produce 3D models for some structures. They needed new tools to fulfill the order. After evaluation, Polysius Vietnam chose Tekla Structures for its advantages, such as ability to combine both concrete and steel structures in one model and its compatibility with PDMS, a 3D software solution for plant engineering.

After starting to use Tekla software, Polysius Vietnam Ltd. has moved on to designing cement plants for the world instead of just Vietnam.

- "At first, our intention was not to use Tekla to actually design a cement plant,” says Mr. Roland Chudalla, the Deputy General Manager of Polysius Vietnam. “However, as we got used to it, we found it a more efficient way of designing. It also opened new possibilities for us, enabling us to design and build complete, complicated buildings or structures for cement factories.”

Tabuk cement company order

For  Tabuk Cement Company’s cement grinding plant in Saudi Arabia  Polysius Vietnam  designed six plant buildings. As half of the main building was underground, the team included the excavation pitto the Tekla model to achieve the excavation quantity. They also modeled the rebar, generated accurate bills of quantity from the model and sent the bills of quantities to the contractor on site to use for ordering  concrete. The team could foresee and avoid difficulties in rebar installation, spot clashes between rebar and rebar and cast-in items, and the software proved useful for controlling budget overruns from project modifications.

Even though the complicated  plant was the first project Polysius designed from scratch with Tekla, they succeeded in completing the work in just five months. Without Tekla, they would have needed 7-8 months.

-“Tekla reduces the time and manpower required to do the quantity take-off and allows us to come up with bids quickly, accurately and competitively,”  states Mr. Nguyen Dinh Quan, Head of the Engineering Department at Polysius Vietnam.  

How did Polysius cut down the amount of drawings? Read more


Tekla Central European BIM Forum: Exploring the benefits

How can companies in the building and construction industry rise to today’s challenges, improve efficiency and productivity and achieve an integrated, more sustainable construction process? These were the questions addressed at the Tekla Central European BIM Forum 2013, held on June 6-7 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Tekla Central European BIM Forum was the first large scale, international BIM Forum in Central Europe although its predecessors include successful BIM events such as the 2012 Tekla Nordic BIM Forum in Tallinn, Estonia. Speakers and participants from 13 countries took part in the two day event, including Germany, the USA and the Scandinavian countries.

The range of viewpoints and disciplines in Düsseldorf was wide with many speakers presenting their companies’ approaches to BIM. How national governments can support companies in this process was illustrated in the presentation of David Philp, Head of BIM at Mace. Being Head of BIM Implementation of the British Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, Philp told the government’s strategy to require fully collaborative 3D BIM on all its projects by 2016.

Tobias Windbrake, Visual Collaboration Consultant at SMART Technologies, presented the findings of Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) on how interactive whiteboards can bring – better understanding of clients’ needs and improving communication with partners.

BIM as a necessity

Following the reoccurring theme in presentations, keynote speaker Professor Arto Kiviniemi from University of Salford, Manchester, stressed the need for integrated project delivery and collaboration. “We can all benefit from BIM when we do it alone, but the true value of BIM is only utilized through collaborative BIM,” Kiviniemi said and highlighted the importance for companies to jump on “the train of BIM” as long as it is still moving slow enough. “I truly believe, utilizing BIM is not an option for companies but a necessity. Companies who do not adopt BIM will eventually not be able to compete and exist in the market.”

Apart from presenting trends and opportunities of BIM, the event included networking with professionals from other companies, countries and disciplines. The BIM forum aspires to foster the development of an international community with the shared goal of utilizing and promoting the possibilities of BIM. After  Düsseldorf, Tekla is already planning the next BIM Forum for Central and Northern European countries in Berlin in February 2014.
For more information on the Tekla Central European BIM Forum,  visit

Press contacts: