Company Spotlight: Tekla UK

Credit: Tekla
Credit: Tekla

Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognised names. The UK division of software behemoth Tekla are the latest business to share their story with us.

To many in the industry Tekla is seen as the 3D modelling solution of steel fabricators but, as the team in Morley are keen to demonstrate, it offers a much broader solution than just that.

Yes, the software has grown out of a steel detailing tool, but Tekla now offers model based software for all aspects of the AEC market. The ability of Tekla’s software to create highly complex ‘as-will-be-built’ models for the structural elements of a building that can be shared throughout the design team is highly valued by structural designers and detailers globally.

Duncan Reed, Digital Construction Process Manager at Tekla explains: “Undeniably, advances in communication technologies have made collaboration between people and companies working on the same project first of all possible and secondly necessary. The model-based approach readily supports this source of improved productivity through the natural ability to create new models from the combined information of multiple data sources. Therefore, sharing a model or the exchange of changes to a model are all built-in services in model-based systems and are a fundamental element of BIM working.”


Tekla has two important pieces of BIM software – Tekla Structures and Tekla Structural Designer – and over 15 different product options within these pieces of software to serve the needs of even the most demanding construction professional – whatever their discipline.


So let’s start with Tekla Structures – not one piece of software but nine configurations to serve the needs of all sectors:

1. Full Detailing – create an intelligent multi material constructible 3D model that enables effective collaboration with all disciplines in the construction process
2. Steel Detailing – the go to steel detail 3D model package that manages revision tracking and project control, generates drawings and reports, and integrates with CNC machines
3. Precast Concrete Detailing – from concept to manufacturing this configuration provides accurate models, precise quantity take-offs, detailed planning information and integration with production automation systems
4. Cast in Place model, plan and pour all aspects of concrete design and installation; from preconstruction planning to splitting and sequencing pours through to managing pours on site. Create fully detailed and clash checked rebar design, drawing and schedules.
5. Engineering – multi material design in a pure modelling environment that is compatible with analysis software packages such as Tekla Structural Designer
6. Construction modelling – a practical multi-material modelling solution
7. Primary – full modelling capabilities for structures with up to 2500 steel parts or 5000 reinforcement pieces
8. Project Viewer – a cost effective model management and coordination tool for all disciplines; resolves conflicts and plan projects before construction begins
9. Draughter – a bespoke tool for working with 2D outputs form 3D models

Tekla works with all materials and the most complex of structures and because of this, Tekla Structures has been used to model stadiums, offshore structures, plants and factories, residential buildings, bridges and skyscrapers.

Reed continues: “As Tekla has an open approach to BIM, you can run other providers’ solutions and fabrication machinery and still interface with Tekla Structures. Our software provides full capabilities from the start and also benefits from having an Open API that can allow the development of highly customisable user specific applications and interfaces.”


Trimble Navigation acquired Tekla in 2011 and CSC in November 2013. These two companies have now merged to create the Structures division of Trimble Buildings. This move has brought the benefits of the CSC suite of structural analysis tools to the Tekla brand.

So after 18 months of development work, Tekla announced the launch of Tekla Structural Designer in March this year– a comprehensive analysis tool bringing the combined benefits of the suite of Fastrak, Orion and Solve into one comprehensive design and analysis package.

Duncan explains: “From scheme design all the way through to detailed design, one single model covers all structural analysis and design requirements, encompassing both gravity and lateral systems. The beauty of this is that there is no need for multiple design models.

“The Tekla solution is fully automated with unique features for optimised concrete and steel building solution. Designers can compare alternative schemes, manage changes easily and collaborate seamlessly across BIM platforms. As all the structural analysis and design functions are combined into one single solution, there are no additional modules or software packages to purchase, integrate, maintain or learn.”

As you would expect Tekla Structural Designer links seamlessly with Tekla Structures, emphasising Tekla’s open approach to BIM. “We want to see our customers well-informed, and able to realise the design intent successfully. Construction project parties should be able to work together smoothly regardless of the tools they use. At the end of the day, open BIM is about workflow-level compatibility – not just compatibility between two software packages,” comments Duncan.

Currently, using IFC (Industry Foundation Class) file format offers the most viable option for everyday open BIM. Through IFC, Tekla links with AEC, MEP and increasingly with plant design software.

Tekla 3


In addition to these BIM products, Tekla also has Tedds. Often described by customers as the ‘go to’ product for structural engineering calculations, the Tedds’ library of calculations automates these processes and eliminates the need for hand calculations or cumbersome spreadsheets.


Tekla BIMsight is a free software product that offers a powerful way to access data, collaborate on projects, clash detect models and sequence a scheme amongst many other functions. A place that many people might start their BIM journey.


If that wasn’t enough then Tekla can also offer mobile solutions in the form of Tekla Field 3D, a 3D tool for utilising any size of models on Apple devices, allowing stakeholders without desktop software to combine and view 3D models.


“As Tekla has been at the forefront of the digital revolution for almost 50 years, we realise BIM will be part of the AEC landscape for at least the next 50 and beyond, so it is important that today’s graduates understand the technology and are comfortable using it, to ensure they continue to remain engaged with the industry and able to create a sustainable career,” comments Duncan Reed.

“Tekla isn’t just looking to the future for the needs of the industry, but also to support the learning of the next generation of construction professionals. Hence the development of Tekla Campus, which is a free learning edition of Tekla Structures supported by an online forum and training designed specifically for Engineers and Contractors.

“The world of BIM can still be a confusing if not frightening place and Tekla understand that we have a wider role to educate the industry. We are active supporters of ICE, IStructE, BCSA, British Precast, STA, Construct and other industry bodies, playing a key role in the education of the industry as a whole on the benefits of BIM, both at an individual and business level.”

So there we are. Tekla doesn’t just offer a tried and tested steel detailing solution but can offer a comprehensive package of software solutions to address the needs of the UK Government 2016 BIM mandate, the 2025 Construction Strategy and the Roadmap to Level 3 and beyond.

For more information on Tekla, visit their official website. You can also follow Duncan Reed on Twitter here.