Analysing through Revit Structure

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When Revit Structure first came out in the mid-2000s it was pitched as a design and documentation tool. But, even at this early stage of its development, Autodesk recognised the importance of linking to structural analysis software.

Autodesk supports linking through the open Revit API, which enables third-party structural analysis software developers to create workflows both to and from Revit. The process relies on Revit’s analytical model, which is automatically created alongside the physical model.

Once the analytical model has been brought across the analysis application can be used to perform all types of structural analysis including non linear, dynamic and seismic. Most analysis applications also perform code checks and any changes to member sizes can then be fed back in to Revit Structure so the whole design stays in sync. It can be a highly iterative process so the workflow is incredibly important.

Autodesk makes the Revit software development kit (SDK) freely available so the onus is on the third party developer to produce the link, which is enabled in Revit with a plug-in. Some developers invest more on this than others so the quality of the links can vary.

Compatibility with the latest version of Revit Structure can also be an issue as it can take six months or more for third party developers to get their products in sync. Members of the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) fare much better here as they get early access to new releases.

Autodesk 360 Structural analysis

Autodesk is looking to the cloud to help engineers get feedback on early designs through the use of structural analysis.

Autodesk 360 Structural analysis is a cloud-based service powered by the engine from Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional. It allows engineers to stay entirely within the Revit environment, sending static analysis jobs to the cloud and viewing the results in Revit Structure.

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As Autodesk 360 Structural analysis is essentially a solver, the workflow relies on the analytical model produced in Revit being 100% correct. It is common for structural engineers to tweak Revit’s analytical model once inside their preferred analysis application. However, new tools in Revit Structure give users more control over its creation and manipulation.

Autodesk does not expect people to do a final design with this tool, so links with third party products are still very important, but it does give the engineer the ability to make rational decisions based on analysis, without leaving the Revit model. Think of it more as a conceptual design-based solution to help give engineers early feedback.

structuralanalysis.360.autodesk.com

All about the data

While all analysis applications handle things pretty well from a geometrical perspective, there can be quite a lot of variation when it comes to engineering data. According to Gary Wyatt, Autodesk’s senior industry manager, structural engineering, this can manifest itself in a couple of ways.

The first is the amount of data that is sent from one product to the other. “A lot of [analysis] products now allow you to generate things like loads in Revit, allow you to generate things like end releases or different types of support conditions, send those into Revit and then round trip them back again,” says Mr Wyatt. “And in that round tripping back, preserving all of the data that you created in the first place.”

The second is the fidelity of the information that you can send back and forth. This includes some of the things that Revit is not really interested in, as Mr Wyatt explains. “In an analysis product there are things like member numbers and node numbers. There are things like criteria related to how the design codes will treat a member. What design parameters does it put on it in terms of the code of practice that it’s using? How are the members restrained?

“Really those are code-based things that Revit doesn’t care anything about. But a lot of the better integrations actually transport those things to and fro. So if you take something from an analysis product, you do some code design, you send that into Revit, those things are in Revit such that if you go back to your analysis product again you don’t have to recreate them. They still exist.”

The workflow

To manage the flow of data between the two applications some developers use a file-based approach, whereby the user presses a button in Revit and it creates a file that can be opened in the analysis product. The same process applies when data comes back again. However, according to Mr Wyatt, this approach can be a little ‘anti BIM’ as when you start doing file transfers you can have issues with version control.

To help streamline this workflow some products also offer a dynamic integration where the analysis product can be launched from Revit and the model built automatically without having to open a file.

Once the analysis is done, the data needs to be brought back into Revit. “Typically it will update the model and, depending on what type of integration you have and what product, it’ll do things like track changes for you,” says Mr Wyatt. “It’ll say, do you realise you changed ‘this’ and you can see what you changed in the last iteration from one model to the next.”

Revit Structure also has a ‘visualisation framework’, which allows users to view analysis results inside Revit itself. This could be things like moments, forces or displacement diagrams and can help engineers quantify sizes of structural components.

Taking this idea a step further Autodesk introduced a code-checking framework in Revit Structure 2014, which allows third party developers (and Autodesk) to develop code checks based on the analysis results that go back into Revit.

The idea is the Revit model can be automatically populated with extra data surrounding things like the position of rebar or steel and connection sizes. It is still very early days for this but some third party developers already have links in development.

According to Mr Wyatt, the code-checking framework has been implemented in a very similar way to the analysis links. “We’re keeping this open kind of API approach and creating these SDKs to allow simulation not just to be something that stops and nothing happens with it anymore, but to send that data back in a meaningful way which can then drive the further design and construction process,” he says.

“We’re trying to regard analysis as something that helps our customers deliver on an end-to-end process from design to construction. Analysis is a key point of that, but it’s not a point that’s isolated on its own. It’s part of that process,” he adds.

Revit Structure’s ‘visualisation framework’ allows users to view analysis results inside Revit itself

Conclusion

With its roots in documentation Revit Structure may have originally found favour with CAD technicians, but interest from engineers is starting to grow.

This is not only down to the links with analysis software improving but workflows between architects, engineers, contractors and owners becoming more important for Revit and BIM in general.

Linking Revit Structure to analysis can help engineers think about the specifics of the design much earlier on, enabling them to try out different options long before things get too expensive to fix.

With this often iterative process, keeping the analytical model consistent in Revit is more important than ever and engineers need to think about workflow as much as they do about the capabilities of their chosen analysis software.

autodesk.com/revit

We ask eight structural analysis software developers to give the low down on how their various tools integrate with Autodesk Revit Structure

Autodesk responds on Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Pro

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

Robot Structural Analysis Professional is used by design professionals in multiple industries including buildings, plant, civil engineering structures.

It is capable of analysing multiple materials including steel, concrete and timber and also supports in excess of 50 design codes from across the world. Robot is capable of many analysis types including non linear, dynamic and seismic.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

Thanks to API-based interoperability the link transfers not only the data but also meta-data that captures the logic and intentions between those two products. Being able to maintain this logic allows for multiple design iterations between Revit and Robot, whilst maintaining the integrity of the model, in line with the BIM paradigm.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

There is a lot of data linked between both Robot and Revit. At a basic level that includes settings like levels and grids. Practically all types of structural elements and their attributes are transferred, such as release conditions, offsets, rigid links, loads and load combinations.

In addition, the results of analysis from Robot, such as reactions, internal forces and displacements are also transferred back to Revit so that engineers and designers can visualize results and potentially use the code checking framework in Revit to drive detailing and code compliance.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

Yes, there are some reference data that are stored on both sides (Revit and Robot) in order to preserve exclusive information kept in both programs to support truly bi-directional nature of the link – this includes node and member numbers, member names that the user has defined, groups and also code check parameters.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

Up front the user may decide which portions of models can be transferred or get updated. A detailed report is presented as well as graphical selection to better handle and authorise changes.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

In line with Autodesk’s philosophy to have an open partner arrangement, we have opened the code checking framework in Revit to allow 3rd parties to deliver local country specific Code checking capabilities for Revit, thereby driving BIM to detailing workflows.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Autodesk has a very open partner policy and makes the API for analysis integration open to any 3rd party analysis vendor that wishes to develop a link. We have built very strong partner relations with many analysis vendors that add great value to our mutual customers. Autodesk also supports many interoperability initiatives and we have been long-term developers and drivers around IFC.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

“Structural Analysis and Code Checking Toolkit for Revit” apps from Autodesk Exchange App website

Bentley responds on RAM Structural System

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

The RAM Structural System is special purpose software for the structural analysis and design of building structures using steel, concrete, steel joists, and castellated and cellular beams.

The software automates the process of calculating tributary loads; live load reduction; gravity member selection; frame analysis; drift control; frame member and joint code checking; special seismic provisions member and joint checking and foundation design.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

RAM Structural System and Revit are both compatible with Integrated Structural Modelling (ISM). A model can be exchanged in either direction utilising a repository of the structural information.

Changes to the repository or to any of the linked models can be synchronised at any time. During synchronisation, the user can approve or reject changes dynamically. The commands for creating and updating the model data are embedded in Revit and in the various programs that are ISM-enabled.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

ISM supports grids, levels, members, slabs, point loads, line loads, area loads, support conditions, end releases and more. When using ISM to exchange data with RAM Structural System, loads are not included, however. For details see our compatibility matrix.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

The ISM repository contains much more information than is used in Revit. This allows interoperability with other analysis, detailing and BIM programs without losing important information on the model members and entities. This data is maintained even when it is shared with applications that don’t utilise all of the data.

One of the essential features of the Revit ISM plugin is to filter out the data that is not pertinent to ISM and leave it unchanged in Revit. That way a member size can be updated without deleting custom annotation, for example.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

ISM provides a utility called the Structural Synchronizer to aid in the control of changes. Objects and elements that are added, deleted, or modified are colour coded, and various filters are provided so that the user can easily approve or reject individual changes or categories of changes.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

Yes, Importing rebar into Revit is part of our future plans.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Yes, all of the above and more. In addition to the link with Revit, ISM provides interoperability with Tekla and with the Bentley suite of structural products including AECOsim Building Designer, STAAD, ProStructures, etc.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

The ISM Revit Plugin is available from the Bentley SELECTserver.

Bentley responds on STAAD.Pro

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

STAAD.Pro is an extremely flexible, general-purpose structural analysis and design application. It is used throughout the world on projects of almost any scale and features an open data format.

The software incorporates standard databases of hot and cold rolled steel, timber and aluminium shapes, and has tools to create other material types. Basic steel concrete materials are included but other isotropic or orthotropic materials can be defined.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

STAAD.Pro and Revit are both compatible with Integrated Structural Modelling (ISM). A model can be exchanged in either direction using a repository of the structural information.

Changes to the repository or to any of the linked models can be synchronised at any time. During synchronisation, the user can approve or reject changes dynamically. The commands for creating and updating the model data are embedded in Revit and in the various programs that are ISM-enabled. Subtle differences in the modelling arrangements of the analytical model of STAAD.Pro and the alignments in physical models can be accommodated in this system.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

ISM supports grids, levels, members, slabs, point loads, line loads, area loads, support conditions, end releases, and more. However, when using ISM to exchange data with STAAD.Pro, loads, grids, and level are not included. For details see our compatibility matrix.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

The ISM repository contains much more information than is used in Revit. This allows interoperability with other analysis, detailing, and BIM programs without losing important information about the model members and entities. This data is maintained even when it is shared with applications that don’t utilise all of it.

One of the essential functions of the Revit ISM plug-in is to filter out the data that is not pertinent to ISM and leave it unchanged in Revit. This enables a member size to be updated without deleting custom annotation, for example.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

ISM provides a utility called the Structural Synchronizer to aid in the control of changes. Objects and elements that are added, deleted, or modified are colour coded, and various filters are provided so that the user can easily approve or reject individual changes or categories of changes.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

Yes, importing rebar into Revit is part of Bentley’s future plans.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Yes, all of the above and more. In addition to the link with Revit, ISM provides interoperability with Tekla and with Bentley structural products.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

The ISM Revit Plugin is available from the Bentley SELECTserver. For a Revit 2014 version of the plugin contact Seth.Guthrie@bentley.com

CSC responds on Fastrak and Orion

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

Using Fastrak and Orion, structural engineers can model, load, analyse and design steel and concrete buildings efficiently. Engineers can construct a single model of the entire structure, which encompasses code-compliant gravity and lateral design in strict accordance with BS, EC & US design codes.

As they create intelligent design objects, such as beams and slabs with defined physical position, the software automatically generates a sophisticated underlying analytical model; all within the engineer’s control. Model data from Fastrak and Orion can be used to produce a wide range of drawings and documents, and can be synchronised within the BIM environment.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

Fastrak and Orion are BIM solutions in their own right, enabling engineers to achieve code-compliant designs. Fastrak and Orion models comprise physical objects and therefore communicate both physical and wire frame data to and from Revit, eliminating the issues that occur when attempting to communicate pure wire frame models from structural analysis software.

CSC’s Integrator, a free plugin using a unique file format, enables full or part models from Fastrak and Orion to be fully synchronised with Revit. Integrator provides a practical solution for controlling the integration process, allowing the inclusion or exclusion of different member groups and geometry settings. It also reports the status of synchronised members as new, modified or deleted, using colour coding, enabling true round-tripping and management control.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

As both Fastrak and Orion comprise physical design data, the integration process with Revit is different to the workflow for wire frame models. Integrator allows the integration of full or part models, grids, levels, beams, columns, slabs and walls together with essential information such as end releases, beam reaction, web openings and shear studs. Integrator also provides mapping of family types, an area often overlooked in the integration process.

As Revit is not a code-compliant design model, design data such as wind loading, eccentricities, effective lengths and imposed load reductions are not stored in Revit but fully retained within Fastrak/Orion.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

When synchronising models between Revit and Fastrak/Orion, all object data is retained; this is vital as any data associated with code-compliant design, which Revit doesn’t handle, remains intact within Fastrak/Orion.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

Integrator uses unique IDs to track changes and ensure the model is not compromised in any way. New, modified or deleted members can easily be identified and reported by colour coding in either Revit or in Fastrak/Orion.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

As an Autodesk Industry Partner, and one of only two structural software vendors working with Autodesk at this level, we are jointly developing ways in which we can improve the Structural BIM workflow. A significant proportion of project data can already be integrated with Revit using Integrator, however, CSC will continue to search for ways to improve the process.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Fastrak and Orion models synchronise with Autodesk Revit, Tekla Structures and SDS2Connect, however, data can be extracted in a variety of other industry standard formats and CSC is continually reviewing this in line with market requirements.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

www.cscworld.com/Integrator

MIDAS IT responds on midas Gen

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

midas Gen is structural analysis and design BIM software for Buildings and General Structures. It handles multi-materials within a structural model, including reinforced concrete, steel, timber, masonry, aluminium, cables, etc. It has no limitations in the types of structures.

In addition to the capabilities of conventional structural software, midas Gen provides the facilities to simulate construction stages in a time domain, sequential post-tensioning, soil-structure interaction, inelastic materials and nonlinear dynamic analysis, which may include dampers and base isolators. Structural steel size optimisation is also provided. Comprehensive design is included for reinforced concrete and steel members.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

midas Gen seamlessly imports a Revit Structure analytical model through clicking the ‘Export to midas Gen’ button within Revit Structure whose file is subsequently opened in midas Gen.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

Complete geometry is exchanged in a bidirectional link between Revit Structure and midas Gen including all slab and wall openings in addition to sections and material properties. Support conditions, end releases, storey levels, point/line/area loadings are exchanged including load combinations. The user may additionally define non-standard loadings and boundary conditions in midas Gen for structural analysis.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

If the changes pertain only to the member sizes in a model in the process of bidirectional operations, all the loads and boundary conditions and analysis/design controls in midas Gen can be reused for subsequent analysis from the second round trip by maintaining such data within midas Gen.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

Any changes in geometry, sections and material properties are alerted for the user to accept or reject the changes. Simple tracking of the changes can be done inside Revit Structure. The changes tracked can be selectively chosen for acceptance and rejection.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

Midas retains its own code checking framework, which is linked to a Midas sub-module for generating drawings. The Midas detailing tool ‘DShop’ produces design drawings and rebar layouts in the AutoCAD DWG format.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

midas Gen is also capable of bidirectional associativity with Tekla Structures.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

The Revit Link is provided to anyone who requests through the Midas e-support line.

Oasys responds on Oasys GSA

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

GSA is a general-purpose finite element analysis program that supports all structural types, whether in steel, concrete, timber, or other engineering materials.

It is both powerful and flexible, especially for nonlinear, vibration, and soil-structure interaction analyses, which necessitates use by a knowledgeable engineer.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

Oasys GSA includes a free plug-in to Revit, allowing the user to import and export GSA models, including round-tripping.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

The GSA plug-in supports grids, levels, members, and slabs.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

GSA information like section description, section name, element/member ID is stored in Revit shared parameter. GSA entity (grid, levels ,members and sections) hold information of related Revit entity unique ID.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

The plug-in maps the Revit and GSA elements and so can recognize changes. These changes are shown to the user for approval before updating.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

N/A

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

GSA includes a number of neutral file formats to allow linking to other programs.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

The Revit link is included with the GSA download, which is available at oasys-software.com/products/engineering/gsa-suite.html

S-FRAME responds on S-FRAME Analysis

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

S-FRAME Analysis is the powerful 3D structural analysis solver that comprises the core program in S-FRAME Structural Office, a complete analysis, design and detailing solution.

Characterised by best-in-class FEM and FEA, rich integration with steel and concrete design tools, powerful BIM and CAD links, and the ability to support any material type, S-FRAME is widely adopted in a variety of industries, both commercial and industrial.

S-FRAME is used for both basic analysis (2D, linear static) and the most advanced (moving loads, time-history, yielding materials, vibration, RSA).

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

S-FRAME dynamically integrates with Revit via an automatically installed link, accessible from the Revit Add-On menu. The Revit link wizard guides the user and provides control over which data to transfer. The Revit model opens immediately in S-FRAME or the user can save to file.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

The S-FRAME bi-directional Revit Link supports columns, beams, walls, foundations, springs, truss systems, sections, members, materials, load cases and combinations, point loads, member loads, area loads and more.

S-FRAME folders are automatically created, ensuring an organised model in both packages. For large floor systems or intricate shear wall arrangements, Revit objects can be automatically meshed into finite elements, allowing seamless transition of even the most complex models.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

The BIM link manages separate S-FRAME and Revit models, updating each as required. This means that all model data is preserved in both programs during subsequent round-tripping operations.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

In the link process, users can specify which changes to import. A change log and mapping file are automatically generated, detailing all transferred objects and highlighting any changes.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

S-FRAME’s development team is already investigating the interoperability potential between Revit and our programs that already support rebar detailing such as S-CONCRETE and S-FOUNDATION.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Links to 3rd party tools are a vital part of S-FRAME’s flexibility and global success. S-FRAME includes a similar link to Tekla Structures as well as DXF, MS-Excel and MS-Access links.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

The Revit link is built into S-FRAME R11 and automatically installed at no additional cost.

CADS responds on its link for SCIA Engineer

Question 1. How would you describe your software? What materials / structural types does it support? What are its strengths / weaknesses?

Scia Engineer is an integrated, multi-material platform for the analysis and design of all kinds of projects, civil or structural, big or small.

Scia Engineer will analyse any material and design multiple types in one model e.g. steel, concrete, timber and aluminium etc. to British or Eurocode Annexes.

It will design all types of structure, buildings, water treatment tanks, bridges, pumping stations etc. Elements such as beams, columns, bracing members, slabs and walls can be simple or complex in geometry including curved and with openings in beam webs and slabs.

Question 2. How does your software link to Revit? e.g. Does it use a plug-in? Does it use file exchange or does it have a dynamic integration where you press a button in Revit and the model appears in your software?

Scia Engineer, using CADS Revit Link, a plug-in to Revit and Scia Engineer, has a bi-directional link to Revit. It uses a user option of either file exchange or dynamic integration.

Question 3. What data do you support in your bi-directional link to Revit? e.g. grids, levels, members, slabs, loads (point, line, area and wind), load combinations, support conditions, end releases.

The link supports levels, members, slabs, loads, (point, line, area and wind) and load combinations, supportconditions and end releases.

Question 4. Does your bi-directional link support information that Revit isn’t necessarily interested in — to help maintain the richness of the analysis model on round trips. e.g. member numbers, node numbers, how members are restrained, code-based design information.

Yes, data within the analytical model, unique member names and releases, node numbers etc., are exchanged which enables the analysis model to be kept as data rich as possible during the roundtrip process.

Question 5. How do you track and handle changes made to models in Revit and your software? e.g. notification of adds, removes, and edits. How changes are accepted / rejected.

There is an option within the Revit Link to view changes as highlighted items. Users can also send their own selected items from Revit to Scia Engineer thereby having control over what is updated by design changes in Scia Engineer. In both these cases there is a log file listing all the changes.

A new release is due whereby these tools will be enhanced to allow the user to manage the changes more proactively.

Question 6. Looking to the future are you planning to make use of Revit’s new code checking framework? E.g. to populate Revit with rebar, steels sizes and connection sizes.

Yes, we are planning to review the new code check framework.

Question 7. Do you provide links to other structural BIM applications? E.g. Tekla Structures, Bentley AECOsim.

Yes, Scia Engineer is a fully Open BIM certified using the vendor neutral IFC exchange format. This makes it possible to link to all other 140 or so IFC supporting solutions such as Archicad, Vectorworks, Bentley etc, as well as a proprietary link to Tekla.

Question 8. Where can you download your Revit link from?

Contact CADS (cads.co.uk)

Round trip analysis: some other options

Other options include CADS Floors Designer, Dlubal RFEM/RSTAB, SOFiSTiK, SPACE GASS, RISA-3D, PROKON Structural Analysis and Design, and ETABS / SAP2000

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