Tekla Structural Designer Simplifies Workflows and Lives Up to Interoperability Promise

“We can design steel and concrete in one software program and don’t have to create multiple models, jump between software programs or design and analyze by hand,” said O’Kane. “Consolidating all of those things, along with the fact that Tekla Structural Designer truly integrates with our BIM software has been incredibly valuable and saved us a great deal of time. – Adam O’Kane, Structural Engineer and Priniciple of Leigh & O’Kane

Collaborate and Save Time with Seamless BIM Integration 

For most engineers, working with a number of different analysis and design tools for a single project is the standard, but is proving more and more difficult. An engineer may use as many as five analysis and design tools on a single project. One tool is used to create a model for steel frame design, another for concrete slab design and the list goes on. After the various models are created, they are usually combined into a new BIM model, from scratch – wasting time and increasing the potential for errors.

Adding to the problem has been the lack of interoperability between software programs, many of which claim to easily integrate with others but in reality, fall short.  This inability to easily move a model from analysis and design tools to a BIM software program and share it with other stakeholders throughout the design process, often diminishes the benefits of using a 3D model in the first place.

Tekla Structural Designer was developed specifically to help design engineers maximize collaboration with other project parties, including technicians, fabricators and architects. Its unique functionality allows engineers to integrate the physical design model seamlessly with Tekla Structures and other leading BIM software, and to round-trip without compromising vital design data.

Structural Engineer and Principal, Adam O’Kane of Leigh & O’Kane evaluated every analysis and design software on the market, looking for one that could provide the interoperability his firm needed.

“We went through every player in the software industry in search of the one that would integrate well with our BIM software,” said O’Kane. “Tekla Structural Designer is the best on the market.”

Work in One Product, One Interface, One Model

Unlike traditional analysis software, Tekla Structural Designer can be used to create physical, information-rich models that contain all the intelligence needed to fully automate design and manage project changes for faster, more accurate design.

From scheme to detailed design, one single model can contain all structural analysis and design requirements. Working in Tekla Structural Designer, engineers don’t have to waste time switching between multiple software packages.

“We can design steel and concrete in one software program and don’t have to create multiple models, jump between software programs or design and analyze by hand,” said O’Kane. “Consolidating all of those things, along with the fact that Tekla Structural Designer truly integrates with our BIM software has been incredibly valuable and saved us a great deal of time,” said O’Kane.

Working in one program has changed the workflow for Leigh & O’Kane engineers.

“I like that everything is all in one piece and I don’t need to buy a version to design floor framing and another to do lateral analysis. I also don’t have to bounce back and forth between software programs to get a complete building design,” said O’Kane. “Before, we had to mark things, such as beam reactions or sizes, up on our plans by hand. Now, those automatically come through on the Tekla Structural Designer model. That automatic transfer of information saves us a tremendous amount of time and reduces errors.”

O’Kane found that in addition to the efficiency gains of working in one model, the features and capabilities of Tekla Structural Designer made model creation much easier.  

“The way we are able to create a new model in Tekla Structural Designer is far superior to anything else on the market. I’ve used other software programs where it was so cumbersome that I would use BIM software to create the model, send it to the analysis and design software and then send it back to the BIM software,” said O’Kane. “I no longer have to endure that complex process because I actually enjoy building models from scratch in Tekla Structural Designer.”

O’Kane also found it was easy to get up and running.

“When I start a project, I want to quickly and intuitively model. Most other analysis and design software programs on the market fall short and are not intuitive in the least. You have to use the software for many years before you become proficient,” said O’Kane. “This is where Tekla Structural Designer shines. There is no learning curve.” 

Easily Manage Changes

Effective change management is critical for staying on task and budget, especially on complex projects. For Leigh & O’Kane, the ability to quickly make changes to only one model yielded significant time savings.

“Our first project with Tekla Structural Designer was an irregularly shaped building and required highly complex framing. We were able to model around those irregularities and manage changes without error, which in a complex structure like this, could have had a dramatic ripple effect if a mistake was made modeling across different tools or making changes by hand,” said O’Kane.

Changes in Tekla Structural Designer can be easily managed for reduced response time at any stage of a project, and applied across the entire model to instantly assess impact and automatically get a re-design in seconds.

Ensure High Quality Deliverables

Tekla Structural Designer includes all the critical information needed to fully automate design to an engineer’s chosen building code so less time is spent processing analysis data.

Because Tekla Structural Designer is full automated, engineers can easily create and compare a range of design schemes and determine the most cost effective material or solution for projects. This allows Leigh & O’Kane to bid projects more effectively.

“It’s really easy to do a quick comparison of materials for a structure and present that back to the architect, along with the pros and cons of each,” said O’Kane. “With Tekla Structural Designer, we can create one model in steel and one in concrete to see which is more economical. It’s extremely valuable to do this on the front end of a job, with little effort and without having to spend a lot of time creating the models. It’s definitely a competitive advantage that the architects and owners appreciate.”

Adam O'Kane

We can design steel and concrete in one software program and don’t have to create multiple models, jump between software programs or design and analyze by hand,” said O’Kane. “Consolidating all of those things, along with the fact that Tekla Structural Designer truly integrates with our BIM software has been incredibly valuable and saved use a great deal of time.
Adam O'Kane
Structural Engineer and Principal
Leigh & O'Kane