Tekla Developer Awards 2019: Precast concrete part plugins
Dev team at GA Smart-Building.
We launched a development program at the beginning of 2018 for two purposes:
- Replace old custom components with plugins
- Add some new features helping design and production of precast concrete parts
Those plugins are for the design office and the site manager office
Problem that app solves
We externalized design calculations so we were not limited by Tekla Structures performance for something we could do with our own programs.
- We drastically reduced the amount of ghost objects, existing in custom components
- We reduced time consumed by modellers for repetitive tasks, such as exporting schedules and reports
- We were able to produce and maintain plugins with the minimum help of the design and production team, as they require less pure Tekla skills to operate
- GA could use Tekla for new fields, such as security, shoring, phasing of the stages of the worksite
- We measured a 30% time saving when creating new elements with plugins compared to custom components
- We measured a 50% time saving when modifying existing parts
- We could implement more structural checks, and valuable design guidances within plugins, useful for modellers
- We could use plugins to easily extract specific design reports
See screenshots of beam, column and shoring sequence here.
About the development project
As time goes, the tertiary building market evolves and require designers and builders to invent bigger and more complex buildings. The average GA precast office building went from 2000-5000m² to 10000-15000m² in only a few years.
Therefore, we needed to integrate bigger models, with plenty of complex parts and many designers and modellers working together. We quickly encountered several limitations with the use of custom components and build-in Tekla features for the detailing work of concrete formwork and reinforcing steel, as well as some issues with exporting data shaped as drawings and lists to site managers and factories.
Here are the main reasons why:
- Junior BIM modellers had trouble using custom components for large-scale models, as they sometimes require more skill to be used properly and are not very user friendly
- The GA’s Tekla support team had more and more case of bugs because of components not used properly, or in a way that was not anticipated when they were created few years ago
- Even modern computers could not keep up with big and not optimized models, as custom components require to be used exclusively inside each Tekla project and not by a third party
- Updates and modifications made on parts with custom components take particularly a long time
- Exporting drawings and schedules takes a huge amount of time as calculations are made inside Tekla
- Custom components need to be thoughtfully tested at every new version of Tekla before being used by a production team - It is not possible to carry out advanced automatic structural tests within custom components
- It is necessary to make models more consistent and reliable as there are less and less time dedicated for human error checking and less and less highly specialized people available for this task in detailing offices and factories.
Facing those problems, we were advised by Tekla to look at Tekla Open API. We launched a development program at the beginning of 2018.
Here is an interesting example of plugins used today, compared to how things worked before. More than a way to increase Tekla designer productivity, it also serve as a way to unite people with different jobs and specialities around the BIM Model, and getting rid of time-consuming 2D extractions. With this particular example, we went from six custom components and one job on Autocad to zero task on Autocad and four plugins for a better, quicker and more reliable result.
He were compare the old method and the way we draw 3D objects today:
Precast concrete part plugins at Tekla Warehouse
About the company - GA Smart-Building
Smart building specialist GA is a property development and construction firm that provides intelligent, design-conscious and connected solutions.
For the past 6 years, Tekla Structures has been used in GA as a data production and management system for building off-site structures. GA have been developing custom components for specifics and complex precast parts. These objects are linked to the ERP system, which provide data to concrete factories and return more info from them directly into the Tekla Model.
Using Tekla structures, all the substantial data is synthesised within the project. Then it is used as entries for supply orders and schedules.