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3D Modeling for Conceptual Design Just Got Easier with Tekla

Tekla Structures' strength is the object-oriented model that is traditionally close to production. With the new functions, it will be easier to also work with conceptual design in Tekla, and there is no longer a need for separate 2D software. The Layout tools offer functionality particularly useful in conceptual design: the user can quickly access various geometries and predefined settings.


Conceptual design involves the parts of a building that make its foundation and provide the basis for measurement and frame solutions by prefabrication. It also includes a range of other parameters, such as load calculations, humidity, heating, cooling, waterproofing, ventilation, soundproofing, fire protection, frost resistance, and contraction, to name a few.

“Conceptual design has traditionally been done in 2D, and therefore designers have used software other than Tekla for this part of the project. However, there are many advantages to projecting conceptual design in 3D instead, the outstanding revision possibilities, for example,” says Anders Jonasson, Senior Consultant at Trimble.


Cross section of Tekla model over steel hall with slab on ground and sandwich element walls. Base insulation has been modeled with the Floor layout tool.

Better usability

According to Anders Jonasson, the fact that general constructors have not taken the step to 3D modeling during conceptual design is due to the programs having been perceived as too detailed to produce documents for the early stages when there usually is not yet a decision about the building material. However, with the features incorporated in Tekla Structures, designers can do the conceptual design with much less effort than before. There are now more predefined settings in the software, and the Layout tool has been expanded with functionality that increases its ease of use.

What are the advantages of projecting conceptual design in Tekla?

1. The revision possibilities. A model can be made much more illustrative than a 2D drawing, which is useful for the project parties who do not have the trained eye of a designer. Modeling also makes it easier to detect potential problems earlier during the project.

2. Increased automation and robotization place higher demands on a detailed model. For example, the information in the model is needed to control excavators and cranes, according to Anders Jonasson.

3. Traceability of the building components is now required by authorities. If everything is modeled as 3D objects, documentation is considerably easier.

4. A fantastic asset management tool. Documenting everything down to the object level ultimately facilitates the demolition process so that it is easy to distinguish between recyclable.

Compatibility with other software

Simplified conceptual design in Tekla Structures also makes it easier for various software to exchange information. Clients often use different software solutions, as do ground contractors, and their compatibility with design software is key. You can import DWG files from a 2D drawing into Tekla Structures and use them as a template for further modeling.

“Moving on towards a more industrialized pre-construction in workshops and factories instead of on-site, we can achieve quality assurance of exceptional level and avoid quick solutions on site. That, in turn, requires more solid pre-design and more components projected in 3D,” says Anders Jonasson.

Learn more about how constructible modeling leads to more efficient building