Trimble’s Constructible BIM Solutions Get a Boost with Tekla 2021
Rita Stange posted on April 07, 2021 |
Tekla Structures subscription model is simplified.
Trimble's new Tekla 2021 Scaffolding Tools help customers plan and detail shoring and access scaffolding systems, making the detailing work more automated, accurate and efficient. (Picture courtesy of Trimble.)
Trimble's new Tekla 2021 Scaffolding Tools help customers plan and detail shoring and access scaffolding systems, making the detailing work more automated, accurate and efficient. (Picture courtesy of Trimble.)

This March Trimble announced the latest versions of its Tekla software solutions for what the company calls “constructible” BIM (Building Information Modeling), structural engineering and steel fabrication management. The offerings include Tekla Structures 2021, Tekla Structural Designer 2021, Tekla Tedds 2021 and Tekla PowerFab 2021. 

Mark Allphin, segment manager - Steel, North America. (Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.)
Mark Allphin, segment manager - Steel, North America. (Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.)

We talked to Mark Allphin, segment manager, Steel, North America, Trimble Solutions USA, Inc., based in Tekla headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.

 “What is this ‘constructible BIM’ you speak of?” we asked.

“Constructible BIM is the cornerstone of what we believe makes us unique,” said Allphin. “It’s the core of everything we do.… Constructible BIM gives users the ability to model full on construction models focusing on every detail right down to the washers,” he explained.

One of the most significant upgrades in the 2021 solutions release was with Tekla Structures 2021, which introduced three new subscription options. Trimble’s press release stated that the new model aims to reduce up-front investment and provide flexibility to balance license needs with annual subscriptions of the software solutions. The new subscription includes licenses for Tekla Structures and Trimble Connect Business, as well as access to a wide range of services, including Tekla’s online licensing tool.

The options are uniquely named and include the following:

  • Carbonfor viewing models and collaborating with project stakeholders. The Carbon option enables users to plan, track and manage design, detailing, production and erection activities. Users can also open all types of Tekla Structures models and drawings as well as generate reports when needed. In addition, they can track and follow the progress of a project, add information to the model, define erection sequences, control approvals, and view production status and schedules.
  • Graphitefor creating constructible, intelligent BIM and structural documentation. The Graphite option enables users to create, manage and share multi-material 3D models for design purposes. They can also create general arrangement information such as drawings, schedules, reports and 3D models. Additionally, users can use Tekla Structures Graphite to create site layout drawings of reinforcement and pass the information on to bar bending machines for off-site rebar work.
  • Diamondfor design, detailing and fabrication. With the Diamond option, users can create, manage and share multi-material, fully detailed 3D models. Tekla Structures Diamond can be used throughout a project, from conceptual planning to creating all the required fabrication information.

The full functionality of Tekla Structures is available in Tekla Structures Diamond. Graphite and Carbon are subsets of Diamond.

To simplify things, Allphin said the company has now condensed the subscription model from 11 options to three with this new release.

Customers can choose from an annual release that automatically renews or other long- and short-term options.

Aside from a subscription model makeover, which we’ll look at more closely later in this article, the 2021 release focuses on enhanced collaboration and workflows, according to Allphin.

For starters, Trimble has improved integration within the Trimble family, including between Tekla Structures and Tekla Structural Designer. Tekla Structures also has improved integration with the Trimble Connect collaboration platform and enhancements to Tekla Model Sharing. 

Tekla Structures also includes interoperability improvements for the IFC (International Foundation Class) format. In addition, Tekla PowerFab 2021 has extended integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) company Viewpoint’s ViewpointOne’s connected construction management suite, which enables users to share purchasing and inventory data from Tekla PowerFab in Viewpoint for North American users.

In terms of workflow and productivity enhancements—areas always big on users’ lists—Tekla Structures includes simplified change management with enhanced clash detection, and cloning tools, in-product guidance and localization for better usability—along with faster, more accurate modeling with drawing and object handling improvements—and new extensions for various modeling tasks like modeling scaffolding.

“We’ve really stepped up our game,” Allphin said of this latest release. Other highlights he pointed out are the new scaffolding and crane tools in Tekla Structures. “It’s not tough to model concrete,” Allphin noted, “but when you add rebar… scaffolding is a place where we excel.”

The new scaffolding tools are available as an extension, which can be downloaded from the Tekla Warehouse, a service for collaboration, storing and sharing Tekla Structures content. The Tekla Warehouse is included with the subscriptions and provides centralized access to a wide range of tools and content that customers can use in their Tekla Structures models.

Trimble claims that Tekla Structures is the only software that covers the entire cast-in-place construction project. The new Scaffolding Tools extension can be particularly beneficial for shoring the slab formwork but the benefits go beyond the scaffolding detailing process itself, according to the company. 

For instance, by creating a 3D model, users can add the scaffolding components and easily get the right quantities. They can visualize the scaffolding and location, as well as determine the optimal construction sequence even before a project begins.

The Crane Tool, also available as an extension, supports all typical cranes, including tower, mobile and crawler cranes, and users can perform lift simulations, lift checking and erection time calculations. The Crane Tool offers engineers and erection planners a complete set of tools to help optimize the design and erection costs and make the process safer. For companies that rent out cranes, this tool will also make it easy to input capacities for equipment and enable users to share that information with their customers.

The new Crane Tool extension.

According to Tekla’s blog, there are three extensions concrete contractors should be using, including the Fit Objects, List Manager, and the Navisworks, as well as Revit Import extensions, which are available on the Tekla Warehouse for Tekla Structures. Before we look more closely at the new Tekla Structures subscription offerings, let’s get a birds-eye view of some other updates to the 2021 software solutions.

Navisworks Revit import. (Picture courtesy of Trimble.)
Navisworks Revit import. (Picture courtesy of Trimble.)

Tekla Structural Designer 2021 structural analysis and design software introduces the “design-to-detail workflow” to provide more efficient modeling of reinforced cast-in-place concrete and transferring reinforcing bars, including slabs, foundations, beams, columns and walls, to Tekla Structures. Plus, a new carbon calculator helps users understand a structure’s carbon impact during the design process and compare alternative schemes to identify the most effective, sustainable and affordable option.

Tekla Tedds 2021 structural analysis and design calculation software offers new and improved calculations, including base plate, precast hollow core slab, concrete foundation and timber racking loads, to meet multiple design codes. 

Tekla PowerFab 2021 steel fabrication management software delivers visual dashboard reporting, enhanced options for filtering and organizing data, and continued improvements for automated machine instruction on the shop floor.

More on the New Tekla Structures Subscription Offerings

The subscription comes with the following services:  

  • Customer Care Program guides new users through Tekla Structures.  
  • Customer Support Services offers support via email and phone. 
  • Tekla User Assistance (TUA) contains a wealth of product support material.  
  • Getting Started Guide helps with installation and software setup.  
  • provides access to free e-learning courses and certifications. 
  • Discussion Forum is an active online community of Trimble users.  
  • Tekla Warehouse enables users to find, install and share content globally and locally on the Tekla Structures BIM storage webpage.  
  • Tekla Downloads is a site where users can download all Tekla software.  
  • Tekla Developer Center is a one-stop hub for Tekla Software APIs.

With the Tekla Structures subscription, there are three new licensing options, including Standard, Flex and Worldwide.

The Standard license: 

  • Is for full time, daily use 
  • Must be used only in the contracting country 
  • Can be reassigned four times per calendar year 
  • Is available on one device at a time 
  • Can be assigned to third parties

The Flex license: 

  • Has Standard as its basis but allows unlimited user assignments to be added

The Worldwide license: 

  • Has Flex as its basis but can be used worldwide

Tekla Structures subscription licenses are managed online in the Tekla Online Admin Tool. With this tool, users can receive and manage Tekla Structures subscription licenses for online and offline usage. User management is also available with the same tool for both internal and external users. Hosted by Trimble, Tekla Online Admin Tool enables users to access license usage data and manage subscription renewals in one place.

To see what subscription would be best for your company, check out the plan comparison chart.

In closing, Allphin could not disclose exact pricing, but he thinks customers will be pleased with the three new options, stating that, “the price point has changed considerably… It’s more acceptable to any type of business.”

Allphin said that with the new release, Trimble is providing contractors with the ability to take on bigger jobs that normally the larger enterprises would win in construction bids. He also thinks the new release will open up more opportunities in that respect for its customers. Allphin said the feedback from customers so far has been “excellent.”

To learn more about Tekla 2021, visit

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