With BIM at the heart of the business, Integra Consulting has been reaping the benefits of utilising both Tekla Structural Designer and Tekla Structures, enabling it to deliver work quickly and efficiently, with enhanced visualisation and data accuracy. Here, Integra Consulting’s Director, Colin Hadley, talks more about the company’s expansion into the housing market, their use of Tekla and his vision of the industry’s future.
Based in Manchester, Integra Consulting specialises in civil, structural, geotechnical and environmental engineering. No stranger to BIM, digital technology forms a big part of Integra’s everyday workflow, having been using Tekla Structures for over 5 years and Tekla Structural Designer and its predecessors for almost 30.
Speaking about the company, Colin Hadley, Director, said:
While we have experience in all areas of construction, ground beams and foundation design is a common example of the work that we do at Integra, especially for the housing market.
Housing is a really a big area of growth for us, as it is for the wider construction industry too. As well as the frequently publicised housing shortages driving developers to build faster, we’ve also more recently seen the working from home trend having an impact. With people having spent more time at home than ever before and, in many cases, having moved the office into their home, it’s encouraging people to look at their home and what they need from it differently.
Tekla Structural Designer model (left) imported into Tekla Structures (right).
Having been a Tekla user for some time, we use a combination of Tekla Structures and Tekla Structural Designer, with the two software packages working in partnership and helping us to deliver the best service to our clients. Often, we will receive the initial model from the housing developer, which we will then use to model and analyse the ground beams in Tekla Structural Designer. We will then use this data and insight to detail the rebar configurations in Tekla Structures. Given the combination of materials, concrete and steel rebar, we required a BIM software that would work well with both, which Tekla does.
Perhaps one of the main advantages of BIM for us as a business is the speed and time savings that it offers. Using intelligent structural analysis and 3D-modelling software enables us to work far quicker than if we were detailing and analysing structural elements, such as ground beams, by hand. To quantify this, it could now take us a matter of hours to analyse a housing project’s ground beams and detail the rebar required, whereas previously it would have taken the team perhaps a couple of weeks. The impact of this is huge – it enables us to offer a far greater and more efficient service to our clients.
Adding piles using the pile array tool (top left), bearing pressure contours (bottom left), and 3D view of structure with pile foundations in Tekla Structural Designer.
However, the resulting speed and efficiency is not limited only to the structural analysis and detailing stage, as Colin explained:
It’s also the reviewing process too. The level of detail contained with a BIM 3D model provides greater visualisation of the structure or component in question, making it far easier for us to visually check that everything is correct. Having a clear view of the rebar in Tekla Structures also makes it easier for us to spot potential problem areas and clashes, even without using the software’s clash checker tool.
Tekla Structures Organizer and Object Browser can be used to manage and colour rebar sequences. Object Browser is a tool in Organizer used to inquire, view, and report model information based on selected model objects.
In many ways, the Tekla software portfolio is like having a whole team of engineers on your desk and in your computer. It’s changed the way we work and also the way we recruit, with many new engineering graduates being multi-skilled, proficient in both analysis and draughting software, both Tekla Structural Designer and Tekla Structures.
Utilise Tekla Structures functionality to create automatic sequenced fabrication drawings.
Speaking about the next steps along this digitisation journey, Colin said:
CNC machinery is definitely the next step for the construction and fabricating industry. The potential is huge, with data able to be sent directly from the 3D model to the machinery, with no need for fab shop drawings. However, such automation requires accurate data, which is where the need for BIM and digital technology comes in, providing high levels of accuracy down to the last millimetre.
It’s clear that engineering consultancies, such as ourselves, need to be ready for the day that CNC machinery becomes the norm, with BIM and digital workflows fully integrated into the business. The time to adapt and digitise is now.