Release notes: Tekla Structural Designer 2021 SP1

Tekla Structural Designer
Tekla Structural Designer

Release notes: Tekla Structural Designer 2021 SP1

This release will upgrade your Tekla Structural Designer installation to version number and should be installed to ensure optimum function of the program. It includes a number of enhancements and issue resolutions as detailed below.

If you are upgrading from a version earlier than the immediately prior release 2021 (version released March 2021), you can find details of requirements, enhancements and fixes for all previous releases in Tekla User Assistance (TUA) and Tekla Downloads via the links below:

Licensing & Installation


  • No new license is required for this version.

  • Client License Service Version - the Tekla Structural License Service V3.3.1.0 update should be installed with this release on clients*. This update of the license service is released to coincide with the release of Tekla Structural Designer 2021 SP1 because if this is installed but the License Service V3.3.1.0 update is not installed, then you may experience a blank sign-in window when attempting to sign-in to your Trimble Identity account from Tekla Structural Designer.
    • *This update does NOT need to be installed on Sentinel RMS license servers.

  • License Server Version - for Sentinel RMS Server licensing, the latest version of the Tekla Structural License Service (v3.3.0) (incorporating Sentinel RMS 9.7) must be installed on your license server to be compatible with this release. Licensing will not function correctly if this is not the case. For more on this requirement please see the TUA article Tekla Analysis & Design 2021 Releases & Sentinel RMS Server Licensing - the License Server must be updated.


  • This service pack requires Tekla Structural Designer 2021 first release (version to be installed and will update your current version.

  • Integration:
    • Tekla Structures - if you wish to integrate with Tekla Structures you should install both this release and Tekla Structures 2021 for optimum performance.

      • Note that there have been significant improvements to integration - especially for rebar - in the 2021 release of Tekla Structures. For more information about this please see the Tekla Structures Help Topic Tekla Structural Designer Import and Export.

    • Tekla Tedds - to use Design using Tekla Tedds, for optimum performance you should install Tekla Tedds 2021. This can be obtained from Tekla Downloads.

    • Tekla Portal Frame and Connection Designer 21 - if you wish to integrate this release with Tekla Portal Frame Designer/ Tekla Connection Designer - or use these products on their own - you should install Service Pack 1 for Tekla Portal Frame Designer 21/ Tekla Connection Designer 21. For more information about this release see their Release notes. The installation for this can be obtained from Tekla Downloads.

    • Autodesk Revit© - the Tekla Structural Designer Integrator for Autodesk Revit© 2021 (version 7.0) was released on 1st July 2020 and updated to version 7.01 in September 2020. The installation and update are available in Tekla Downloads. If you are using Autodesk Revit© 2021, you can install this to perform BIM integration with Tekla Structural Designer.
      • All fixes and enhancements included in the 2021 release and update were also included in updates for the Integrators specific to the other currently supported Revit© versions (2018, 2019, 2020). For more information see the Tekla Structural Designer Integrator September 2020 updates. If you are performing BIM integration with any of these Revit© versions, we recommend you update to the latest version of the associated Integrator.

  • Previous Versions and file compatibility - files from all previous versions can be opened in this release, however note that, once saved, they cannot then be opened in a previous release. If you wish to retain this option we therefore recommend using the File > Save As… option to save a copy of the file in the previous release and retain the original.

General & Modeling

  • A number of additional fixes which are not detailed explicitly here are also made to improve general performance and stability.

  • Embodied Carbon: - a number of further enhancements are made to the Embodied Carbon calculation features as detailed below.

    • New Embodied Carbon eLearning course - to learn more about this novel and powerful feature we highly recommend you view the new eLearning for it here; Embodied carbon assessment in Tekla Structural Designer (eLearning).

    • [TSD-9226 and 9227] - Review View - the legend colors for the Embodied Carbon Review View > Show/Alter state > “Utilization and embodied carbon” attribute have been adjusted and enhanced to more clearly display the distribution of embodied carbon in the model. As shown in the picture below, the colors now graduate from red (highest embodied carbon) to green (lowest), and include more gradations.

      • In addition, the information text at top left of the Review View window now includes the Overall Embodied Carbon value (for both Carbon Factors and Utilization and embodied carbon options), the number of selected entities in the current view, their amount of Embodied carbon and the % of the total.

      • Note the following:

        • The legend colors are controlled by new settings in Home > Settings > Scene > Colors > “Gradient Legend” as shown in the picture below.

        • When the displayed content requires fewer values the red and green extremes remain.
  • [TSD-9213] - Embodied Carbon Factors Dialog - the count of entities to which a particular carbon factor is assigned given in the Embodied Carbon factors dialog is corrected to be consistent with that given in the Review View Legend for the Carbon Factors attribute, as shown in the picture below. Previously, the value in the Embodied Carbon factors dialog also counted the steel member connection allowance and so was commonly considerably larger.
  • [TSD-4951] - User Defined Attributes (UDA’s) - UDA’s have multiple uses - see for example the Help Topic Create and manage user-defined attributes. In this release, UDA’s assigned to members can be automatically copied to duplicate floors, facilitating their application especially in larger models.

    • This feature is enabled via a new checkbox for each UDA titled “Linked” in the User Defined Attributes Settings (both Global and Model) as shown in the picture below (default setting is disabled). Simply check it on to enable the automatic copying to duplicate levels of specific UDA’s.
  • Grid Lines:

    • [TSD-9328] - Grid Lines in 3D Views - Architectural grids have been made visible in all 3D Review Views, and are now excluded from selection and ghosting by default, which helps navigate the model when using the Review views. Please note the following:

      • This change means that if you wish to select and/ or edit the grid lines using the 3D structure view, you must now enable Scene Content > “Grid & Construction Lines” and “Show grids in 3D view” for a Level in the Structure Tree to make the grid lines selectable.

      • The functionality in 2D views is unchanged.

    • [TSD-4926] - Renumbering - the automated renumbering of Gridlines has been enhanced with additional controls. To use Renumber, select ‘Renumber’ from the right-click context menu for the “Architectural Grid” group of the Structure tree. At this point a new configuration dialog “Renumber Grid” opens, allowing you to specify how the renumbering will work. This has options of:

      • Detect Name type from direction (default ON) - when enabled there are two naming options for Vertical and Horizontal direction lines. When off there is only one

      • Direction - allows you to select the direction you want the renumbering to work in.

      • Line name type - Alphanumeric or Numeric - and Start value
  • [TSD-4944] - Grid Line Creation - when adding grid lines, two new options “Next Vertical Grid Name” and “Next Horizontal Grid Name” have been added to the Properties in the ‘Grid Line Naming’ group. These allow you to specify grid line name and type prior to its creation.
  • Member Properties:

    • [TSD-9129] - Columns & Walls - the options ‘Assume extra floors supported’ and ‘Count floor as being supported’ present in the property grid and/or member properties dialog box of column/wall are no longer listed for the USA and Australia Head Codes as they are not relevant to these. These options do not play any role in the calculations of Live/ imposed load reduction where this is based on the tributary area method.

    • [TSD-8326] - Braces - in previous releases it was possible to enter invalid values for the properties Tension > Net area > Percentage value and Tension > Net area > Effective net area. This is now prevented in this release - a validation message giving the acceptable range of input is now displayed when an invalid value is entered.

      • Existing files - when opened in this release these values are checked and when invalid input exists a Validation Error is issued in the Status tree listing affected braces.


  • [TSD-9235] - BIM Integration - Embodied Carbon - the Embodied carbon results can now be exported to external BIM applications as follows:

    • Tekla Structures or Revit - the Embodied carbon results are now automatically included in the Structural BIM Export CXL file which is produced by the Tekla Structures/ Revit Export options on the BIM Integration tab of the ribbon - they can then be displayed in Tekla Structures/ Revit as attributes as illustrated below.
    • IFC - the values are also included in the IFC export.

    • Trimble Connect - uploading an IFC of the model to Trimble Connect will allow these values to be seen in the Properties when viewing the IFC model in Trimble Connect as illustrated below.
    • In all cases, the values are exported for members, walls, slabs and foundations. One value per object is exported - the total resulting embodied carbon of all constituent materials of the object.

  • [TSD-9219] - Grasshopper Live Link - Embodied Carbon - Embodied Carbon results and Rebar Mass per Volume can now be returned to Grasshopper using the Concrete Material Quantities and Steel Material Quantities components. These components operate with filters as previously, and new output parameters give the total Embodied Carbon Mass of objects included in the filter, or the overall Rebar Mass per Volume.

    • As well as reporting these values, this allows the user to optimize the Structural Designer model for these parameters using the optimization tools in Grasshopper.

For more about the Grasshopper Link see the TUA article Grasshopper - Tekla Structural Designer Live Link (GH-TSD). The link can be downloaded from the Tekla Warehouse here.



Other Loading Enhancements and Fixes

  • [TSD-9144] - Equivalent Horizontal Forces (EHF) - Eurocode - it is now possible to override the calculated value of ɸ in the Model Settings > EHF dialog by selecting the new “Override” option as shown in the picture below. This enhancement is applicable to the Eurocode Head Code (all countries and NAs).

    • When the option is enabled you can enter you own values for ɸx and/ or ɸy and these are used in place of calculated values in the calculation of EHFs

    • In addition, In Model Settings the formerly titled “EHF” heading has been renamed to “EHF (Global Imperfections)” for clarity.
  • [TSD-9284] - Notional Loads/ Horizontal Forces (NL/ NHF) - for Head Codes other than the Eurocode, a new “NL/NHF(Global Imperfections)'' Setting is now included in Model Settings, as shown in the picture below (illustrates this for the USA Head Code). This includes override options for NL/ NHF parameters for each building direction - typically the proportion of gravity loads used to calculate the NL/ NHF’s.
  • [TSD-6477] - Diaphragm Loads - Creation - application of Diaphragm loads is now enabled in a 3D View. To facilitate this and their general application, the following new option and enhancements are added:

    • When in a 3D View, a new option “Select Diaphragm Level” is listed in the Properties window. Load application then operates as follows:

      • When enabled - application points will be displayed in all the diaphragm levels as you move the cursor over available points in the model. You then specify the load location in two steps: 1) first click an application point at any level - this ‘locks’ the application point and displays the available points at each diaphragm level intersected by a vertical line at the point - then 2) click the point on the level you wish the load to be applied - it is then created.

      • When disabled - the load is applied with a single click on the desired application point.

        • When clicking on a point that is not in a diaphragm level - for example a point along a grid line in the base level - the load is created at a position projected vertically to the nearest diaphragm level.

    • Snapping to members, grid and construction lines:

      • The application point can now also snap to points along a member when you move the cursor over one, in a similar manner to the application of member loads. Just as with applying member loads, the available snap points are; end, mid, 1/3 and 1/4 points. You can also apply the load at any point along the member - either by simply clicking as you move the cursor along it, or press F2 on your keyboard to enter the exact distance along the member. This behavior applies to both 3D and 2D views.

      • The application point can also snap to points along grid and construction lines in just the same manner as for members - again in both 3D and 2D views.

  • [TSD-9160] - Model Settings - Live Load Reductions - USA Head Code - an issue is fixed in this release in which edits to the Live Load Reduction % limit values in Model Settings > Live Load Reductions were potentially not stored correctly when the model was saved. This specifically affected the following % limit values; "Roof live Beams", "Live walls supporting 1 floor", "Roof live Columns" and "Live walls supporting 2 or more floors" limits.

    • For existing models it is recommended that these limit values are reviewed and corrected if necessary then, when saved in this release, they will be stored correctly.

  • [TSD-9239] - Ancillaries & Equipment - Operating & Testing Content Load Case type - for both Pipework Ancillaries (Line & Area) & Equipment load entities, the loadcase Type (either Dead or Live/ Imposed) for the automatically created Operating & Testing Content Load cases is specified in Model Settings > General (default Dead). This setting dictates the combination factor assigned to these loadcases so, if it is changed, existing combinations must be updated. To cater for this circumstance, a warning is added in this release to this effect when such a change is made as shown in the picture below.



General Design Enhancements and Fixes

  • [TSD-9039] - Steel Column Base Plates - Review Data - a Design Summary table has been added for Steel Column Base Plates. To view this summary, activate the Review View > Tabular Data Window, select the “Design Summary” option then enable the new “Base Plates'' Characteristic button as shown in the picture below. This enhancement applies to both the USA and Eurocode Head Codes. In common with other design summaries you can do all of the following:

    • Export the Table directly to Excel via the Excel Export button,

    • Click the “Results...” button at the end of a row to open the design details dialog.

    • Double-click a row to locate that particular base plate in the 3D Structure view.
  • [TSD-8591] - Seismic Story Drift - it is now possible to override the previously hardcoded Allowable Story Drift Factor for the Seismic Drift check. New settings for this are added to the Seismic Wizard on the Localization page, as illustrated in the pictures below for the USA and Eurocode Head Codes. This enhancement applies to all Head Codes which feature Seismic Analysis.

    • To enter your own override value, select the Structure Type option, enable the override checkbox then enter your desired factor value - this will then be used to calculate the allowable story drift. As shown below, the Structure type options where listed depend on the model Head Code.

  • [TSD-8799] - Steel Design - Auto-design Constraints - it is now possible to set the Size constraints “Min depth” and “Min width” as low as zero. Previously the lowest limit allowed was 50mm / 2inch which could cause problems with assigning acceptable sections during design in some circumstances.

    • The default Min depth and Min width values remain unchanged.

Eurocode Design Enhancements and Fixes

  • [TSD-8542] - Steel Beam Design - Web Openings - for two circumstances when closely spaced web openings are such that the Web Posts check is beyond scope, the following explanatory messages are now issued where previously there was none (other than the Beyond Scope status):

    • Circular openings too closely spaced - “Closely spaced circular openings - spacing, s_{o} is less than 0.4 \times sum of the radii”

    • Adjacent circular and rectangular openings too closely spaced - “Closely spaced openings - One opening is rectangular, one is circular and the spacing, s_{o} is less than 0.5 \times (rectangular opening depth + circular opening diameter)”

Reports and Drawings

  • Report Styles

    • [TSD-7879] - Ancillary and Equipment Loads - a new report style ‘Industrial Structure Loading’ has been added to report the details of the following loading elements (which are typically - though not exclusively - used for Industrial structures); Line Ancillaries, Area Ancillaries & Equipment.

      • The new report consists of tables for each of these load entities, listing their principal properties and values; Name, Type, Location, Area, Loadcase Title and Applied load.

      • Note that existing models will not include the new default style, however you can easily create it as shown in the picture below by 1) Adding a new style (naming it as you like) then 2) dragging the new “Industrial Structure Loading” Chapter into this.
    • [TSD-8901] - the default "Building Analysis checks" report style is renamed to"Building Analysis & Drift Checks". In addition the "Wind drift" option is added to this style, together with the "Loadcase summary" and "Sway / Drift" options as appropriate to the Head Code.

      • Note that existing models will not include these amendments, however you can easily adjust the existing "Building Analysis checks" style to make these same changes should you wish to.


The number in brackets before an item denotes an internal reference number. This can be quoted to your local Support Department should further information on an item be required.

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