Import a project from a TEL file

Tekla Structural Designer
Tekla Structural Designer

Import a project from a TEL file

Before importing a project from a TEL file, you are advised to be aware of the restrictions. Then, you can proceed to follow the detailed instructions to perform the import.


When importing TEL files, note the following points:

Round tripping

Does not exist in TEL file imports.

This means that the import data is used to create new objects in the model, not to update existing ones. All existing objects and data are maintained.

Data that is imported
  • Project summary (new models only)

    • Project name, engineer, etc.

  • Support conditions

    • Any associated UCS

    • Spring supports, including linear and non-linear


    In S-Frame, for non-linear spring the default is F_max = 0. This does not mean that the spring has zero capacity, but F_max is simply ignored.

    This is not the case in Tekla Structural Designer. In Tekla Structural Designer, F_max =0 means the spring has zero capacity. Hence for models with compression-only springs imported from S-Frame, all nonlinear spring supports with F_max = 0 will need editing, or analysis will fail.

  • 1D elements

    • Imported as analysis elements. However, contiguous elements are not merged into members (straight or curved).

    • Replicated by additional relatively stiff 1D elements.


      Automatic supports are not created, for example, under columns.

  • Panels - area load only

    • Created as roof or wall panels without openings

  • Panels - shell: tri, quad, or mixed

    • Created as meshed concrete walls (vertical planes only) or 2-way spanning slab items

    • Material properties are mapped manually during the import.

    • Thickness

  • Panels - rigid or independent diaphragm

    • Created as 1-way spanning slab items.

    • Material properties are mapped manually during the import.

    • Thickness

  • Panels - holes

    • Created as slab or wall openings.


      The holes must be rectangular for walls and rectangular or circular for slabs. Otherwise, Tekla Structural Designer will generate a warning.

  • Loadcases (linear only)

  • Nodal loads

  • Settlement loads

  • 1D element loads, including uniform temperature loads

  • Area panel loads, not including uniform temperature loads

  • Combinations

  • Units: the Tekla Structural Designer model units are not changed to match the TEL file units. However, values are converted to the Tekla Structural Designer model units.

  • There is no special handling for 2D files. 2D files are imported in the same plane as they are defined in S-Frame (the X-Y plane), and default constraints are not imported.

  • Default constraints are not imported, and no warning is generated. Default constraints are supports applied to all nodes without exception internally during analysis. Default constraints are not displayed in the S-Frame interface. For models marked as 2D, default constraints restrict displacement to the X-Y plane and are as follows: Fz, My and Mz fixed. Default constraints may be manually applied in 3D models, and the S-Frame model can be examined to confirm their nature. The import does not replicate default constraints. To ensure equivalence, default constraints must be applied manually to all nodes, either in the S-Frame model prior to import, or in Tekla Structural Designer subsequently.

  • The import does not create any physical members. S-Frame physical members are treated like any other 1D element and imported as a single analysis element. In particular, Tekla Structural Designer does not merge contiguous elements into members (straight or curved) or identify columns, beams, and so on. No warnings are generated.

    In addition, for S-Frame physical models please note the following:
    • Intermediate nodes that do not form the ends of other elements are not imported. If such nodes have supports applied, the model will not be equivalent and should be adjusted to ensure equivalence.

    • If physical members have tapered sections, the sections should be sub-divided in S-Frame before importing to Tekla Structural Designer to produce an equivalent model.

    • Alternatively, the S-Frame model can be converted to an analytical model in S-Frame prior to import, using the S-Frame command for this.

  • Staged construction data is not imported, and no warning is generated. Typically, the entire model is imported, representing the last stage in which the model is complete. Otherwise, turn the Staged Construction setting in S-Frame off prior to import. This will remove all stages but the last one, and issue a warning to this effect. The model is then non-staged, and so should be valid for import.

  • Although the following can be modeled as single objects in Tekla Structural Designer, no attempt is made to import them as single objects from collections of S-Frame objects:

    • Mid-pier walls

    • Trusses

    • Portal frames

  • Inactive elements are imported as inactive analysis elements of the beam type.


    Inactive elements are quite likely to originate from tension-only cross bracing in Fastrak Building Designer models. In this situation, we recommend that you click the warning to identify the relevant part of the model, delete both "braces", and create new braces using the specific X-brace pair.

  • Wall and strip integration lines are not imported. A warning is issued to this effect.

  • Tapered sections: a 1D element is imported. However, no tapered section dimension data is imported. A warning is issued to this effect.

  • Prestress data for 1D & 2D elements is not imported.

  • Percentage fixity data for 1D elements is not imported.

  • Non-linear spring data by graph: 1D elements and supports are imported, but the spring stiffnesses are set to 0. A warning is issued to this effect.

  • Non-structural alignment and offsets (cardinal point data) are ignored, and warnings are issued if they are non-zero.

  • Panels: general diaphragms, mat foundations, membranes and plates are excluded, and a warning is issued.

  • Diaphragm panel node exclusions are ignored.

  • 2D elements are excluded, and a warning is issued.

  • Meshing properties for panels are excluded without warning.

  • Shear Walls: only quadrilaterals can be created.

  • Diaphragm constraints are excluded, and a warning is issued to this effect. Any diaphragm constraints must be replicated in Tekla Structural Designer to ensure equivalence.

  • Slaved nodes are excluded, and a warning is issued.

  • Lumped mass is excluded.

  • Groups are excluded.

  • Notional load factors: NHF and EHF are added to combinations, with the sign indicating positive or negative for each direction. However, the actual value is ignored. The standard notional load calculation method and default strength factor are used.

  • Non-zero gravitational factors for Global X & Y are excluded, and a warning is issued.

  • Thermal gradient loads for 1D and 2D elements are excluded.

  • Moving loads are excluded.

  • Time history loads are excluded.

  • 2D elements are excluded, and a warning is issued.

  • RSA data is excluded.


The model is imported. If there are any associated warning messages, these can be reviewed from the BIM branch of the Status tree in the Project Workspace.

  1. On the BIM Integration tab, click 'TEL' File Import.

    The 'TEL' File Import button is not active unless you have a Tekla Structural Designer document open.

    The BIM Integration wizard opens.

  2. Click ... to browse the .TEL file, and click Next.
  3. If necessary, adjust the location and rotation of the import model, and click Next.
  4. Select an appropriate material type and grade for each material using the lists.
  5. Click Finish.
The model is now imported. Any associated warning messaged can be reviewed in the BIM sub-branch of the Status tree.
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