From Tekla Structures to Idea StatiCa Connection

This article explains how to send a Tekla Structures model to Idea StatiCa Connection, using BIM Expert.

1. Preparation in Tekla Structures

The transfer is based on the analytical model. So in Tekla Structures, you need to create an analytical model first. The quality and coherence (connection between elements) of the analytical model is not relevant, as we recommend to choose on the physical model when going to Idea StatiCa Connection.

Existiting connection components will be recognized by BIM Expert and be sent to Idea StatiCa Connection with all connection elements. Loose connection elements will not be recognized and therefore will not be tranferred to Idea StatiCa Connection.

Creating the analytical model fast (no quality demand)

In the top ribbon, go to the tab ‘Analysis & Design’ and click the ‘A & D models’ command

Next create a New analysis model – a Analysis Model Properties window will pop-up. The analysis model content should be ‘Full model’ – unless you want to start selecting element per element.

2. Send model from Tekla Structures to Idea StatiCa Connection

2.1 From Tekla Structures to BIM Expert


In the BIM Expert menu ‘File > Settings > Tekla Structures’, opt for ‘Apply default actions in conversion’s dialogs’.

This option will reduce the number of conversion dialogs whenever possible. You only be prompted with dialogs when user input is required.

There is more than 1 way to send models from Tekla Structures to BIM Expert. You can either start from

BuildSoft menu in the top ribbon
Applications and components sidebar

Click the BIM Expert icon to launch the transfer. Next you need to select what items to include, in addition to the Analysis model:

  • Additional data: data that came from a previous transfer, but is not supported by Tekla Structures. This information is kept and can now be taken along in the current transfer (e.g. seismic information, soil layers, …)
  • Rigid links
  • Connection: full or only haunches
  • Internal forces from ‘End Conditions’.  The End Conditions tab can be found in the element’s UDA (User Defined Attributes):
Alternative method: start in BIM Expert

Alternatively, you can start in BIM Expert: click ‘Model > Import’ and select the Tekla Structures plugin. Choose the Tekla Structures version and what elements to import (see above).

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

2.1.1 Settings

If you have more than one analytical model in Tekla Structures, you need to select the analysis model that you want to transfer

Next, the Tekla Structures 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

In case you have turned off the option to reduce dialog windows, you might see a material mapping dialog for mapping unknown materials. In the ‘reduce dialog window’ case, unknown materials will be added as new.

Material mapping dialog

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

In case you have turned off the option to reduce dialog windows, you might see a section mapping dialog for mapping unknown sections. In the ‘reduce dialog window’ case, unknown sections will be added as new.

Section mapping dialog

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, …) and user defined sections are not in the database. They should always be added as new.

2.1.4 Connections and component bundles

In case you have chosen to export connections and there are connections in the model, BIM Expert will now start the connection conversion.

If you have turned off the option to reduce the dialog windows, you will get an overview of all connections components in the model and the possibility to bundle components.

Component selection and group dialog

In this window you can do 2 things:

  • Select the connections to be included in transfer, via the checkbox in the ‘Accept’ column
  • Bundle connection components into larger complex connection groups:
    1. Position this window in a corner of your screen, because once you start adding groups, the window position is locked.
    2. Click ‘Add group’ to select the components.
    3. Select the components by clicking the component arrow. All components should logically be around a single node of course.
    4. Confirm the selection with the middle mouse button.
    5. The group is now listed with the reference ids of the individual components.

If there are materials of bolt elements to be mapped, they will appear in the next pop-up window.

The model is now in BIM Expert.

2.2 From BIM Expert to Idea StatiCa Connection

In the Model tab, select ‘Export’. Next, choose the destination software, namely Idea StatiCa. Click  to continue.

2.2.1 Settings Version

Select the desired version of Idea StatiCa. Model type

Choose between model types analysis or physical:

  • The analysis model will only send independent analytical bars, as defined in the analytical model:
    • When bars are continuous in reality and grouped into a physical group, this is ignored.
    • Existing connections (e.g. from Tekla Structures, Revit or PowerConnect) are also ignored. Only the analysis members will remain. All physical elements (bolts, welds, connection plates, … ) will be ignored in the transfer.
  • The physical model will send physical elements, that is
    • Continuous bars (if properly grouped)
    • Connections including all physical elements (bolts, welds, connection plates, … ). Connections are always in the physical model defined.

If you choose physical model, it is recommended to opt for ‘Use data from analysis model’, as this will use the load and result information from the analysis model.

It is good practice to check ‘Export loads’ and Export results’ unless you want to define the loads again in Idea StatiCa Connection. Destination

Select the destination ‘Idea StatiCa Connection’.

2.2.2 Select nodes and connections

In the next window you get an overview of the model, where nodes and connections can be selected to be transferred. On the left side, ‘Connections in Idea StatiCa’ holds a list with all connections to be sent to Idea. The list is empty by default.

Depending on the choice of model (analysis or physical) and whether there are physical connections present in the model, this window can have different layouts.

Analysis modelPhysical model

You will see the analysis ‘bar’ model, with square nodes at the intersection points. If there are physical connections present in the model, you will also see the physical model and a list of recognized connections.

Click on a node in the Analysis model to select all connected bars (shown in red) and hit ‘Add selection’ to add them to the list.  Already added nodes will be displayed in blue.

If physical connections are present, you can also select these nodes from the physical model, but only the ones that are already defined in the list. When you select a node, the physical model will zoom to the selected item.


If you selected the ‘Analytical model transfer’, all physical elements (bolts, welds, connection plates, … ) will be ignored in the transfer. Only analysis bars will be sent – even for physical nodes. That means that all connection elements (e.g. bolts, welds, plates, ..) must be redefined in Idea StatiCa Connection.

You see will the physical model, with all cross-section drawn.

Add a connection by either:

  • Selecting one or more existing physical connections from the list and click ‘Add selected’
  • Selecting an existing physical connection from model, by clicking one the connection part (e.g. haunch, end plate, bolts, … ) and click ‘Add selection’. The whole connection will be highlighted in red.
  • Selecting multiple physical bars:
    • First click on an empty white space to ensure nothing is selected
    • Select physical bars (highlighted in red) and click ‘Add selection’

Hit ‘Continue’ to continue the transfer to Idea StatiCa.

2.2.3 Saving the model

Choose a folder to save the conversion files (IOM etc).  We recommend to have a separate BIM Expert folder, where all your models are stored.

2.2.4 Open the model in Idea Checkbot

Idea Checkbot will launch automatically.  A ‘New’ tab, a new project is proposed and the project name and project folder are filled out accordingly. Click ‘Create project’ to start.

2.2.5 Load the nodes

Click ‘Import > Bulk’ to load all nodes. Depending on the number of nodes selected and the amount of results in model, this can take a while.

Select a connection from the list of project items and click ‘Open’ to open it in Idea StatiCa Connection.

3. Final steps in Idea StatiCa Connection

In case you have sent the analytical model, you need to add bolts and connection plates to build up your model.

In case you have sent the physical existing connections, you will see the already defined connection.  Other physical bars will need to be completed with bolts, welds, connection plates etc.

4. Get started with BIM Expert

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