Export to and import from FBEAM

Tekla Structural Designer
Tekla Structural Designer

Export to and import from FBEAM

To export to and import from FBEAM, see the following instructions.

Tip: Create substructures for your FABSEC® beams to make it easier to review and manage the FBEAM workflow.


FBEAM is software from Fabsec for the design of composite and non-composite plain and cellular beams.

The workflow for taking FABSEC® beams from a Tekla Structural Designer model and designing then within FBEAM is as follows:

  • Select the FABSEC® beams in your Tekla Structural Designer model and click FBEAM Export.

    This generates an XML file containing all the required properties required for each member.

  • You can then launch FBEAM and open the project you wish to import the beams into.
  • You then click the import button which starts FBEAM's import work flow. This will allow you to load the previously created XML file and select a subset or all of the beams in the file to import.

    Once the process is complete FBEAM will have created all of the members and their associated properties.

  • You can then design the FABSEC® beams and specify fire protection coatings.
  • Once complete, click the export button in FBEAM.

    This generates another XML file that can be imported back into Tekla Structural Designer.

  • In Tekla Structural Designer, (with the model that was used to export the beams open), click the FBEAM Import to start the import workflow. This will then update each of the previously exported FABSEC® beams with the properties contained within the FBEAM generated XML file.

The above workflow can be summarized as follows:


This following limitations apply to the import/export of FABSEC® beams:

  1. Consider the case where multiple combinations are exported and a loadcase of a particular load type e.g Dead appears in one combination but not all. In FBEAM the analysis will include all loadcases of the same type in each combination. This can overestimate the load significantly.
  2. When Wind loadcases are exported to the 'Additional Load Set' for a particular beam, Tekla Structural Designer searches for the Wind loadcase that has the largest positive end force and exports that value to the 'Additional Load Set' and gives it a 'Type', 'Wind' in FBEAM. Similarly for the maximum negative value in Tekla Structural Designer to the 'Type', 'Wind Up' in FBEAM. This loadcase will be used in the design of that beam for all positive wind combinations and all negative wind combinations respectively. Whether a wind combination is considered negative is determined from the start and end values of the distributed (Wind) load applied to that beam (or point loads). If both are negative then the wind combination is negative (uplift).
  3. The special loadcase in Tekla Structural Designer 'Self weight - excluding slabs' (i.e. beam self weight) is assumed always to be included in design combinations. Consequently, the setting in FBEAM, 'Include the beam self weight' is always switched on.
  4. In any combination if any load type e.g. Dead or Imposed appears more than once with different load factors, only one value of load factor is exported. This situation is unusual but might occur for imposed loads for example when different psi factors might apply.
  5. Any load types or direction not supported by FBEAM are not passed through. This includes minor axis loading, axial loading, trapezoidal loads and torsion.
  6. Imposed loads are typically entered into the 'protected' Construction Stage load combination in Tekla Structural Designer to represent live loads during construction e.g. due to 'heaping'. These are exported to FBEAM as Load Type 'CL'. They are given a load factor that will be the maximum from all imposed loadcases included in the Construction Stage combination although typically only one is included and with a load factor of 1.5.
  7. Beam self weight loads are typically entered into the 'protected' Construction Stage load combination in Tekla Structural Designer. Normally these would be represented by the Load Type ' D' in FBEAM. However, in order to avoid taking into account all of the dead loads, including those at composite stage, the Construction Stage load combination in FBEAM is populated with the beam self weight as a 'cladding' load, 'C'.
  8. The Slab Wet loads exported from Tekla Structural Designer should set the 'Construction Stage Floor type' in FBEAM to 'CL' - typically this will ensure that a load factor of 1.5 is used in the design combination for Construction Stage. For EC this is correct but for BS it should be set to 'D'. This setting is not accessible to the export from Tekla Structural Designer and so must be changed manually if BS 5950 design is to be used.
  9. For composite beams when the wet weight of the concrete is included in the Construction Stage combination in Tekla Structural Designer, the results in FBEAM will only be correct in the following circumstances:
    1. Automatic Loading is checked on in the loadcase dialogue when Slab Dry is selected as the load Type,
    2. Automatic Loading is checked on in the loadcase dialogue when Slab Wet is selected as the load Type,
    3. At least on combination includes the Slab Dry loadcase,
    4. The Construction Stage combination includes the Slab Wet loadcase.
  10. Beams can be rotated in Tekla Structural Designer but in FBEAM are always assumed to have their web vertical i.e. unrotated. Consequently any beam rotation is not passed through from Tekla Structural Designer to FBEAM and any loads in the global axis system that are applied to a rotated beam are passed through to FBEAM as if they are applied through the vertical web of the beam.
  11. When several beams on the same floor are exported from Tekla Structural Designer there can be several instance of 'Floor' in FBEAM. Each of these could be assigned a different size of 'Mesh'. However, only one of these will be imported into Tekla Structural Designer. It is recommended that either only one value of mesh is set for these beams or that any required changes to the slab mesh are made in Tekla Structural Designer and not FBEAM.
  12. In composite design, transverse reinforcement whether in the slab or as part of the beam data is exported and imported as an area only. In Tekla Structural Designer the area is derived from the bar size and spacing (or mesh size). In the case of bars, the export transfers the area and in FBEAM the default bar size will be shown with the exported area. For import the area in FBEAM is processed by Tekla Structural Designer to find a bar size and spacing that has an area greater than (or equal to) the area held in FBEAM. Furthermore when 'loose bars' are used in the slab (unusual) these are added to any from the beam data and transferred as one value to FBEAM. Clearly on import these cannot be separated. This approach has an impact on round tripping that the user must be aware of and make appropriate adjustments post import or export.
  13. Partial length shear connector layout with empty segments cannot be created in Tekla Structural Designer. If cases like these are detected when importing from FBEAM the partial shear connector layout will be extended for the full length of the beam in Tekla Structural Designer.
  14. Web opening stiffeners applied only to one side of a beam are always set to the right hand side when importing into FBEAM. When importing from FBEAM to Tekla Structural Designer, the existing stiffeners in Tekla Structural Designer keep their side regardless of how they were modeled in FBEAM.

Export to FBEAM

Before exporting your FABSEC® beams, you should ensure the analysis has been performed.
  1. On the BIM Integration tab, click FBEAM Export.

    The FBEAM Export dialog box opens. Any FABSEC® beams in the model are listed in the dialog.

  2. Select the beams that you want to transfer to FBEAM, and click Next.
  3. Select the combinations you want the beams designed for, and click Next.
  4. Select the location to save to, name the file, and click Next.

    The export status of the selected beams is displayed.

  5. Click Finish.
You can now go in to FBEAM and import the file that you have just created into an existing or new project, so that the beams can be designed.

Import from FBEAM

Note: In order to import FABSEC® beams, you must have previously created them in your Tekla Structural Designer model, and have exported them to FBEAM. When you do this, each beam is given a unique identifier. After the beams have been designed in FBEAM you must then choose the Tekla Structural Designer XML option to export them to a file. This enables Tekla Structural Designer to know to which beam in your model the imported details apply.
  1. On the BIM Integration tab, click FBEAM Import.

    The FBEAM Import dialog box opens. Any FABSEC® beams in the model are listed in the dialog.

  2. Select the file that you want to import.
  3. Click Next

    A list of the FABSEC® beams in the file is displayed from which you can choose the beams to be imported.

  4. Select the beams that you want to import.

    You can only select beams to import that correspond to existing beams in the Tekla Structural Designer model.

  5. Click Next

    The import status of the selected beams is displayed. If any errors have occurred, hovering the cursor over the error displays the reason in a tooltip.

  6. Click Finish.

    Provided that Tekla Structural Designer recognizes the beams, the details in the file are imported to the associated beam properties, (including in particular the beam UDA properties) in your model.

Review the imported beams

When FABSEC® beams are imported, User Defined Attributes are added to the beam properties to record import status and fire design details. These can be reviewed graphically.

To review the FABSEC® beam UDAs graphically:
  1. If necessary, change the view regime to a Review View.
  2. On the Review tab, click UDA.
  3. In the Properties window, with [M]ode set as Review, change the Attribute to Import Status.

    Each FABSEC® beam is color-coded to represent the import status that applies.

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