From Revit to Tekla Structural Designer

This article explains how to send a Revit model to Tekla Structural Designer, using BIM Expert.


This BIM workflow is only for bar elements! Plate elements are currently not supported.

1. Preparation in Revit

The transfer is based on the analytical model. So in Revit you need to create an analytical model first. The quality and coherence (connection between elements) of the analytical model will determine the quality of the structural calculations. It is therefore essential to build a good analysis model in Revit.

You can either use the Analytical Automation command or manually create analytical elements.

Learn here how to make a good analysis model in Revit.

2. Send model from Revit to Tekla Structural Designer

2.1 From Revit to BIM Expert

There are 2 ways to send models from Revit to BIM Expert:

  1. Starting in Revit: in the BIM Expert tab page, select ‘Export’.
  2. Starting in BIM Expert: click ‘Model > Import’ and select the Revit plugin. In case you have multiple Revit models open, BIM Expert will ask to select your model to be transferred.

No matter the way you have chosen, BIM Expert will now take over.

2.1.1 Settings

You can have all (or a selection of) analytical elements exported. All elements is the most likely option.

Next, the Revit sections and materials must be mapped with BIM Expert’s section and material database. 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.

2.1.2 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 (Concrete grade C25 instead of Concrete grade C25/30). 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.

If you cannot find a suited counterpart in the BIM Expert database, the material can be added as new.

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.

The model is now in BIM Expert.

2.2 From BIM Expert to Tekla Structural Designer

In the Model tab, select ‘Export’. Next, choose the destination, namely “CXL’. Click  to continue.

Next, you will be prompted to save the file

2.2.1 Material & section mapping

Most common materials and sections are mapped according to the TSD neutral file mapping conventions. If there is no match found, a default section and material will be applied. You can specify these defaults in ‘File > Settings > CXL’

3. Final steps in Tekla Structural Designer

  1. On the BIM Integration tab, click Structural BIM Import.

    The BIM Integration wizard opens.

  2. Use the […] button to browse and select the appropriate CXL file.

    The remainder of the fields are populated with the settings read directly from the file.

  3. Click Next to continue.

    The Import Options page shows the settings related to the file, it will indicate if this is a first time import or an update, and allows the user to choose Metric or Imperial for the units, a design code and the default level type. The level type can later be adjusted in the construction levels dialog if required.

  4. Click Next to continue.

    The Relocate Import Model page allows for models to be moved to around the datum position in Tekla Structural Designer from a real world co-ordinate. The extent of the model can be seen from the information displayed on the right hand side of the dialog.

  5. Click Next to continue.

    The Integration Filter will be displayed. The five options shown here allow you to verify if grids, levels etc. are to be imported. Please note that the settings held in the Delete Existing… and four Update… columns should not be used when performing a First Time Import and are only used when synchronizing changes into an existing Tekla Structural Designer model.

  6. Click Next to continue.

    Mapping of materials to recognised grades will be shown now. Here you can view the different materials recognised in the incoming CXL file and the options to alter materials with a more preferred grade.

  7. Click Next to continue (if available).

    Following on from Material mapping, the dialog for Decking mapping will be shown (if applicable). Again this allows users to view the decking types being imported and have the option of overwriting the details if required.

  8. Click Finish

    After the file has completed processing, the model will be displayed within the Structural 3D view and you can then proceed with validation of the structure before applying any analytical information.


4. Get started with BIM Expert

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