This article explains how to send a ETABS model to UBSM, using BIM Expert.

1. Preparation in ETABS

An UBSM file can handle geometry, loads, mesh, analysis settings, results and connections.  So, the export can be as complete as you prefer, as long as these items are present in ETABS. If you want to send result information, make sure the results are calculated and stored.

2. Send the ETABS model to UBSM

2.1 From ETABS to BIM Expert

In the Model tab, select ‘Import’. Next, choose the source software manufacturer, namely ‘Computer and Structures, Inc’ (CSI) . Click  to continue. Choose ‘ETABS’. Alternatively, models can be sent to BIM Expert directly within ETABS (Tools > BIM Expert), but you first need to add BIM Expert as a plug-in to ETABS.
How to add BIM Expert as plugin in ETABS
  1. Tools > Add/Show plugins
  2. Click ‘Browse’ to locate the BIM Expert ETABS dll
    • Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\BuildSoft\BIM Expert\Plugins\CSI\
    • Select the dll ETABS{version}PlugInBuildSoftBIMExpert.dll, with {version} according to your current ETABS version open (e.g. ETABSv20PlugInBuildSoftBIMExpert.dll)
    • Click ‘Open’
  3. Change the Menu Text name to ‘BIM Expert’
  4. Click ‘Add’ to add the plugin’ & ‘Ok’
  5. BIM Expert is now in the Tools menu

2.2.1 Settings

Select your ETABS version, and were the model is coming from:
  • A running instance – that means, the model is currently open in ETABS
  • An existing model – click ‘Browse… ‘ to open your file browser, go to the model location and select the model (an .edb file)
License required

A valid ETABS license is required in both cases, that is importing from the running instance as well as opening an existing model.

On top of the geometry conversion, you can also consider loads and results in points, bars & plates.  Bar results are the most used and relevant ones, so only considering the bar results is enough. Plate results can be huge amount of data, that is currently not used any further. Next, the ETABS material and sections must be mapped with BIM Expert ‘s materials and section. BIM Expert will try to find as many automatic mapping matches as possible. In case all sections and materials find a match, you will not see any dialogs for mapping.

2.2.2 Material mapping

Database materials such as steel (e.g. S235, ASTM-Grades), concrete (e.g. C25/30, M50) and timber (e.g. C24, D50, GL28c) are mapped automatically. In some cases, the match is not automatically found, because the name differs (S355-link instead of S355). In that case, you can select the correct material from the database. Tip: When searching an item in the database, type the first letters of the name to find it more quickly.

2.1.3 Section mapping

Database sections (such as I, H, UB, UC, W, C, U, O, ☐ and L sections) are mapped automatically. In some cases, the match is not automatically found, because the name differs  (e.g. name is HEB300 – S235 instead of HEB300). In that case, you can select the correct cross-section from the database. Tip: When searching an item in the database, type the first letters of the name to find it more quickly. Parametric sections (e.g. rectangles, circle, trapezium, …) are not in the database. They should always be added as new.

2.1.4 Loads mapping

If you opted to consider the loads during export, the ETABS load combinations need to be categorized. Each valid ETABS combination must be categorized into Eurocode or American combinations. Use the checkbox ‘Use categories according to Limit States’ to switch between European and American combination categories.
Depending on the design code, you must map each combination with either
  • Eurocode Limit States
    • ULS – Ultimate Limit State Combinations: Fundamental (FC), Seismic (SC), Fire (FI) or Accidental (AC)
    • SLS – Serviceability Limit State Combinations: Rare (RC), Frequent (FC) or Quasi-Permanent (QP)
    • Custom
  • Armerican
    • Strength
    • Service
    • Custom
On hoovering with the mouse over the combination’s name, you can see the build up of the combination (e.g. 1.35 DL + 1.50 LL). Use SHIFT and CTRL commands as in Windows to select one or multiple items. For example, to select all, use ‘CTRL+A’ and then, select the “+” button in the corresponding column. Envelope combinations and dynamic seismic combinations are cannot be matched, as this is not supported by BIM Expert. These types of combinations are considered non-valid and will be greyed out. Static seismic combinations can be mapped. Remark: If you cancel that load mapping dialog, combinations are neglected and the conversion proceeds.

2.1.5 Reporting

In case of severe incidences, you get a report of the incidences. It usually concerns load cases or element behavior that are not supported by BIM Expert. Click ‘Continue’ to proceed anyway. The model is now in BIM Expert.

2.2 From BIM Expert to UBSM

In the Model tab, select ‘Export’. Next, choose UBSM File. UBSM is BuildSoft’s neutral file format, XML based. Click  to continue.

2.2.1 Settings

Choose the formatting style and whether the file should be opened after saving.Select the elements to be included in the conversions.  Click ‘Continue’ to finish the export.

Pick a location to save the UBSM file.

4. Get started with BIM Expert

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